food 01.28.09

Neighborhood Faves

In this second of a series, MUG looks at neighborhood restaurants that have reliable food, where you don't have to book four-weeks-to-the-day ahead, where they're happy to see you, and where you'll get decent value for your money.

Kuma Inn, 113 Ludlow [Delancey/Rivington] 212.353.8866
Cuisine: Thai/Filipino
Average entree: $9, tapas
Up a flight of unpromising stairs, a small room brimming with small plates of Asian-style goodies such as tofu/Thai basil/mushrooms and scallops/bacon/kalamansi orange. It's BYO, plus a corkage fee.

Broadway East, 171 E. Bway [Rutgers/Jefferson] 212.228.3100
Cuisine: American
Average entree: $24
The new chef, Gavin Mills, formerly of Mas, has shifted this once veggie-focused eatery back into meat and fish territory—though vegetarians can still eat well here. One MUG reader writes, "Beautiful design, fantastic food (localvores will love this place), great service."

'inoteca, 93 Rivington [Ludlow] 212.614.0473
Cuisine: Italian
Average entree: $12, tapas
Except for its popularity, we love everything about the Denton brothers' eatery for small plates/big flavors and interesting Italian wines. 'inoteca North due next month at 323 Third Ave. [24th] where Bar Milano was.

Little Giant, 85 Orchard [Broome] 212.226.5047
Cuisine: American
Average entree: $24
Since 2004, LG has built up a loyal following for its changing, seasonal menu of well-prepared dishes that taste as good as they sound, composed from artisanal purveyors. But that might sound a little too serious: Little Giant is also easy-going and a reliable mood-enhancer.

WEST 100s
Symposium, 544 W. 113th [Bway/Amst] 212.865.1011
Cuisine: Greek
Average entree: $12
This Columbia stalwart has been around far longer than Arianna Huffington has been a Democrat (or a Huffington, for that matter). The best Greek food in NY? Nah, but reliable food, friendly service, very modest prices.

Pisticci, 125 LaSalle [Bway/Claremont] 212.932.3500
Cuisine: Italian
Average entree: $12
We're breaking a promise to a friend not to write about Pisticci, who feels it's crowded enough as it is. No wonder she's extracted the promise: the restaurant offers simple, fresh, delicious Italian food at prices that are so low, you can order, guilt-free, on the high end of the wine list.

Noche Mexicana, 852 Amst [101st/102nd] 212.662.6900
Cuisine: Mexican
Average entree: $10
Fajitas, chalupas, burritos, guac—the usual suspects, but rendered with care at this family-run spot.

Leo's Latticini, 46-02 104th St. [46th Ave.] 718.898.6069
Cuisine: Sandwiches
Average entree: $7
We're talking lunch here, sandwiches to be exact, and fantastic sandwiches at that. You definitely want their fresh mozzarella, too. A perfect Mets meal.

Park Side, 107-01 [108th St./51st Ave.] 718.271.9274
Cuisine: Italian
Average entree: $20
An old-school, really old-school, Italian restaurant (veal Marsala—hooray!), with a cast of characters to match.

La Nueva Brisa, 37-79 103rd St. [37 Ave./39 Ave.] 718.205.4941
Cuisine: Dominican
Average entree: $6
Go for mofongo, rice and beans, and just about anything else at this simple resto, which brings a gentle Caribbean breeze to Queens.

Your faves? Let us know…

Previous Neighborhood Faves: East 40s, Chelsea, Brooklyn Heights

Questions We Can't Answer
Has Martha Stewart gone insane?
That's the question for Living staffers, who bid farewell to friends before the holidays in a round of staff cuts and who greeted the New Year with this mandate from the Let Them Be Grateful They Have a Job lifestyle guru: no personal items in office cubicles—nothing, not a photo, not a favorite pen, no nothing except a company-authorized Sharpie. Way to keep morale up, Martha!

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