food 11.3.09

Neighborhood Faves
Plus: Every Person in New York

In this 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.

Angelica Kitchen, 300 E. 12th [2nd] 212.228.2909
Cuisine: Vegan
Average entree: $12
At one time, Angelica's Berkeley mindset might have seemed outré but a lot has changed since they first opened in 1976 – especially the rest of us and our awareness of things like sustainable agriculture. No on animal products, eggs, refined sugar, and dairy, yes to lots of flavor anyway. Cash only.

John's, 302 E. 12th [2nd] 212.475.9531
Cuisine: Italian
Average entree: $16
They celebrated their centennial last year, so you know John's is doing something right. What they do is red-checkered tablecloth Italian (metaphorically, since the tablecloths are white) and they do it well. Will you remember the chicken parm or the veal scallopine? You might, though you will definitely remember their candle altarpiece.

Moustache Pitza, 265 E. 10th [1st/A] 212.228.2022
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Average entree: $11
Sacha Baron Cohen got an ex-Israeli Mossad officer and a Palestinian politican to agree that setting aside Hamas, hummus is a good thing. If there's a place for cross-cultural bonhomie, it might just be Moustache, the unpretentious East Village restaurant (with additional locations in the West Village and East Harlem) that serves a hummus that could foster an harmonic convergence. Also: falafel, grilled lamb ribs, and several delicious 'pitzas'. Cash only.

Donovan's Pub, 57-24 Roosevelt [58th] 718.429.9339
Cuisine: Irish pub
Average entree: $11
A venerable Irish bar with the requisite shepherd's pie, pint of Guinness, and fish and chips. There's also a well-loved burger – some have called it the city's best, which we think is a touch of blarney – but it is very good. Cash only.

La Flor, 53-02 Roosevelt [53rd St.] 718.426.8023
Cuisine: Mexican
Average entree: $18; tacos, quesadillas etc. average $9
Under the number 7 elevated tracks, a quintessential Queens restaurant: hard-working, modest, charming in its way. It's run by Viko Ortega, who oversees the mostly Mexican fare, though he likes to slip in the occasional French dish. Again, what could be more Queens than a fusion like that? In this borough of mashups, no one is surprised that they serve an Irish breakfast, too – or their version of one. Cash only.

SriPraPhai, 64-13 39th Ave. [Roosevelt] 718.899.9599
Cuisine: Thai
Average entree: $9
For authentic Thai food, you can't do much better than SriPraPhai. It used to be the tiniest of places and an unprepossessing one at that, but they've had some work done and now there's even a fetching outdoor garden where you can eat when the weather's fine. There's a new location in Williston Park in Nassau County, too. Cash only.

EAST 90s
Gong, 173 E. 99th [Lex/3rd] 212.360.5874
Cuisine: Thai
Average entree: $11
A rarity for this neighborhood: a Thai mom-and-pop, one that takes a special interest in herbs, even growing some of its own. No alcohol, though the dragon fruit juice will set you up nicely. Cash only.

Lex Restaurant, 1370 Lex [90th/91st] 212.860.5903
Cuisine: Italian
Average entree: $16
This is not a place getting by on its looks. Instead, generous portions of well-prepared, familiar dishes: penna with vodka? Check. Linguine with clam sauce? Check. Chicken scarpariello? Check. And about the check: for the UES, a great deal.

Table d'Hote, 44 E. 92nd [Mad/Park] 212.348.8125
Cuisine: French bistro
Average entree: $24
This tiny (make that teeny-tiny) bistro has been around for decades now, a charmer where the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. Country pâté, hanger steak, salad Niçoise – you know the drill and so do they.

Previous Neighborhood Faves
Gramercy Park, West 90s, LIC
West 40s, Ft. Greene, W. Village
West 70s, East 70s, Tribeca
Lower East Side, West 100s, Corona
East 40s, Chelsea, Brooklyn Heights

Jason Polan started Every Person in New York in March of 2008. He plans on working on the project until it is finished. Look for Every Person in New York on Tuesdays in MUG and daily at Jason's site.

times square (from 2007)

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