You judge a barber by his cut. A tailor by his fit. A personal trainer by his girlfriend.
So when it comes to dining out, we want to go where the chefs go.
Ergo: The Eat Index, a series in which we hunt down some of the city’s most well-regarded chefs and ask them where they are chowing down.
The catch: cheap eats only.
From the corner bodega to a hole-in-the-wall watering hole, here’s where seven culinary experts like to grub on their own dime.
The Wayland, Good Night Sonny, The Wild
Tacos Morelos in Alphabet City
“It’s a taco truck that sits on the corner of Avenue A and 2nd Street in the East Village. I would recommend the chorizo and
Xi’an Famous Food in East Village
“Stewed oxtail hand-ripped noodles. They’re homemade, wide, hand-ripped noodles with stewed oxtail for $11. I easily eat this once a week.”
Scarr’s Pizza in the Lower East Side
“This is my go-to
Natural Tofu House in Sunnyside, Queens
“My favorite cheap eats in the city. They make a fresh, soft tofu that's made to order that's the absolute best. My favorite thing on the menu is the Pork Jjigae, a spicy kimchi stew, complemented by the fresh tofu."
Burger & Lobster
Wing Hing Seafood in Brooklyn
“They have a really cool dim sum selection; you can literally eat till you burst for around $20, and that's two people! Also BZ Grill in Astoria because of their killer homemade Pork Gyro for like six bucks.”
Great Performances (GP), including Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center
Bonchon in Midtown
“It's all about the fried chicken. The wings are so crispy and succulent. Really hard to beat. Also for some reason, I get lost when I sit there. Not sure how to explain, it just happens in the moment of enjoying REALLY finger-licking great chicken. Their double fry is killer. I love the thought they put into how the chicken is cooked. The Korean practice is to render the skin, which makes it so thin and crispy. They don't have to add flour as is the American tradition to get that perfect crispiness. Just talking about it now, I'm planning on having it today at some point. And to think I was going to start a diet and eat veggies today. LOL.”
Pomme Frites in Greenwich Village
“It's an old favorite, and I love the fries here. Perfect crispy potato-y saltiness. And they have a ton of insane sauce options, but I usually go for the mayo.”
Village Yokocho in the East Village
“I love the pork cartilage yakitori here. It's cheap and porky and a really satisfying snack. And then if you're cool enough, you can go next door and get a drink at Angel’s Share.”
Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village
“I have to go with our oldest neighbor. They're right next to our original shack on 7th Street in the East Village, and though one of their spaces recently suffered a fire, their original storefront is going strong — in addition to newer locations in Williamsburg and the Rockaways. They make amazing arepas, fried crisp on the outside and pillowy on the inside, stuffed with
L’Amico and The Vine
Cafe Ollin in Harlem
“Great little Mexican spot with tacos priced at around $3. The