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New York City
Sous Chef at Marea
Walking down Orchard, it can be quite easy to miss the nondescript storefront that houses one of the LES' best kept secrets. I first discovered Cheeky's this past July and my obsession has grown since. The service is quick and the staff is super friendly. The fried chicken on a biscuit is by far my go-to order, paired with a chicory coffee, and for under $10 its a steal. The chicken is breaded and fried until beautifully golden, topped with a gravy that would make your grandmother green with envy, and is sat on top of a red cabbage slaw that adds just the right amount of acid that creates a perfectly balanced sandwich. If it's not going to break your bank, I highly recommend ending the meal with an order of the ben-yays. The other sandwiches offered (beef, pork, grass - vegetarian, a veggie muffalata, and sea - choice of fried shrimp, oyster, or both) are all equally delicious as the the chicken, and all are reasonably priced under $10. If you're around the LES, its a must stop experience.
One can not think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
Talk about a hidden gem! Definitely going to check this out
over 1 year ago
My friends think I'm a food snob
Yes I would concur, this was a sweet find. Thanks for sharing!
Pastry chef at Violet's Bake Shoppe
Love this spot, I stumbled upon this place myself and have been going back since. It's always a difficult choice to either go there or Pies N Thighs which just opened nearby. The storefront to Cheeky is still really easy to miss.
about 1 year ago
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Ex chef, current culinary recruiter. Angelino living in NYC. Instagram: KrisKracks
The Falafel Sandwich- The OG vegan sandwich. t was a vegan treat before veganism was a thing. Born out of necessity, much like many a delicious treat. I like to call this sandwich "accidental Vegan", which is my favorite type of Vegan food.
Mamoun's version is a great, warm, quick and CHEEP snack. Meal for you normal people :) It's chewy pita stuffed with crispy falafel with a warm steamy center, saucy tahini dressing and crispy lettuce, tomato and onion salad. I always get it the traditional way. None of this hot sauce, hummus or extra stuff business. And its only $3.50
I also always order their Knafe dessert (finely shredded filo dough with nuts and sugar syrup), although it leaves me pining for Knafe buh Jbneh (same thing with a sweet, fresh cheese filling... kinda like middle eastern cheesecake with tons more texture). If you EVER see that on any menu, order away and thank me later. Especially if its fresh out of the oven.
Any time's a good time for a margarita
I lived off Mamoun's in my NYU days the same way most college students live off Ramen
I'm hungry just thinking about it. No bueno for a Friday morning!
Chief Culinary Officer/ Chef Partner Honeybrains
Yes, the world has heard of Xian’s Famous Foods from the likes of Anthony Bourdain and other TV personalities, who have glorified this type of simple, yet complexly seasoned cuisine. The “noodle soup” can be found growing in popularity across the states. At Spicy Village, this place may seem like it’s been a staple of the neighborhood for years. However, with only around 5 years under its belt, this neighborhood eatery which specializes in Henan cuisine will easily over stimulate your palate without breaking your wallet. Coming into the winter months, let the wonderful aromatics of cumin, anise, and chiles warm you in a nice lamb/pork/beef/vegetable broth. Enjoy it with oxtail, beef brisket, lamb, or their signature spicy chicken. I almost forgot to mention their fresh handcut noodles which are amazing! Their menu isn’t very large, and they do offer rice dishes and appetizers which are definitely on par with their main staples. I could go on about my favorite dishes, but I will let everyone discover it for themselves. It is usually packed at dinner time, so my advice is to call ahead and pick up a takeout order. If dining in is more your style, trust me, it’s worth the wait.
Great post! So what's the verdict? Do you have a preference between Xian's and Spicy Village?
In my opinion, Xian's "buns" are better than Spicy Village. But Spicy Village's signature dish of their Spicy Chicken is my favorite between the two. They both differ as far as selection, however Xian has more variety and may appeal to a broader audience. I'm a little biased to Spicy Village however since I work near there. Also, as great as Xian is, I've had to pass it up several times because the wait was too long. Considering I know what I want from both restaurants, and I usually need to be in and out, Spicy Village is my go to.
Queens native, freelance writer, food obsessed
I love Xian's I can't wait to try out Spicy Village! Nice recommendation Kevin!
Born in brooklyn, sampled cuisine from all over the world
Just looked up some photos of the spicy chicken dish, looks incredible!
Ok, where to begin. I often find myself dining in the LES or East Village. When I do I always skip dessert and head to the Creperie for a frozen cheesecake with banana and Nutella crepe! The place is the size of a shoebox and is mostly recognizable by the little statue of a Chef at the front door. There is space for 6-8 people to sit inside but its well worth being crowded as it allows you to look at and listen to what other delicious treat people have chosen for themselves. There are a large variety of both sweet and savory crepes to choose from yet I always find myself ordering the same thing. Always very welcoming and delicious!
Mother first, chef second
This place is exactly what I love about the LES. Total hole-in-the-wall and totally delicious. Very nicely said!
Wow! I love the details about this I will check them out!
Executive Chef, Harvest Restaurant Group, NJ
5 years later and they are still strong! I would frequent the Creperie at least 3-4 times a week while working at Essex Restaurant down the street. Banana & Nutella were made for each other!
Pastry chef at Craft, Craftbar
They don't have a large food menu but they don't need one. The burger is so good! It comes with pickled vegetables and a fig aioli. A single patty burger is $8 and and you can add fries for $5 or 5 pc wings for $8. They serve until last call, which is usually 2 am during the week and 4 am on the weekends.
Cheap eats to fine dining and everything in between
Top 5 burger in the city, and one that I will go out of my way in the east village for!
Born in Hong Kong, Instagramaholic
That burger looks phenomenal, especially if it has fig aioli! What a flavor combination!
Current wine rep for Savio Soares Selections and bartender at Sweet Chick Ludlow. Past lives include The Modern, Craft and Raines Law Room.
That burger is truly delicious.
Chef de Cuisine at Boilermaker
Taquitos- essentially, they are rolled tacos. At Taquitoria, they are, in their own words, "San DIego Style", that is, rolled then fried crispy. It my words, they are delicious. Take your choice of meat (beef, pork, chicken) or black bean, then smother it in either a guacamole based sauce and lettuce, or a cheese sauce with jalapenos and sour cream. They are a) awesome drunken munchies; b) awesome snackies; c) a delicious light meal; but mostly D) ALL OF THE ABOVE. 5 of them for $9 is more than enough to refill me and keep my night going. Try it. Thank me later. If you don't believe me, check out the Munchies episode of Chef's Night Out with Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao, it was one of the spots they hit as they ate and drank their way around the city.
Aspiring chef, food blogger
Uh this looks AWESOME. Thanks Mike!!!
Food photographer and writer
Open until 2am it looks like. A perfect spot to eat late night if you're drinking down in the LES!
Beverage Manager at Aquavit
Delicious and ridiculously cheap, the LES location is the real deal. You can eat in or take out, but you definitely won’t go for the atmosphere. That being said, watching the staff make everything in front of you with speed and efficiency will keep you entertained as you scarf down your food. The Sesame Pancake sandwich with Peking Duck will fill you up and costs just $3, leaving you questioning whether or not to take one more to go for later. The dumplings go as high as $5 for a plate of 8, but if you want to have the simple and classic, you can eat for as little as $2.50. No matter what you get your wallet won’t hurt and you will leave both smiling and craving a short nap.
Event Coordinator, I research great places to eat for a living
This was the equivalent of mac n cheese or ramen for me during my NYU days, I ate it an unhealthy amount. But so good and so cheap!
Big Apple food blogger
I always go to Vanessa's on 14th, but not sure if they have a sesame pancake sandwich with peking duck? I'd love to try it!
Pastry Cook in search of my next big adventure.
China North has the best dumplings. For just $3 you get a dozen dumplings. They are surprisingly light and fried too perfection. A nice crisp golden brown crust on the outside, they are not too doughy, with a pork and chive filling that has a subtle taste of ginger on the inside. These dumplings do not leave you with that awful fried feeling in the pit of your stomach. You can also order the dumplings frozen, which is great for those late night munchies. Though the place it self has a bit of a Seinfeld Soup Nazi vibe, its completely worth it. A hidden gem in the LES.
This is literally the best $3 you will ever spend. I like slightly better than Vanessa's Dumplings even.
Dessert before dinner!
LOL @ the soup nazi vibe. Spot on! But the dumplings are worth it!
New Jersey Restaurant Association 2013 Restaurateur of the Year, New York native, New York University, Dartmouth College,
Arepas are like cornflour made pitas. Hard on the outside and soft on the inside. They are slit and then filled with your choice of stuffing. Anything with plantains is sure to delight, but the real favorite is Del Gato!
Writer, culinary adventurer, originally from North Carolina
I literally lived off these in my 3 years in the east village. So good!
+1 to the Del Gato, spot on with that recommendation!
Shawn Radar Burnette
Chef at Delaney Resaurant Group
I don't ask questions. No seats, you eat out of styrofoam with plastic utisils and miracles occur in this little closet sized piece of paradise. While I have never had anything that wasn't good here, the chive and pork dumplings are transcendental. (Fried or boiled? Get both) Go ahead try and spend more that $10.
Baker, Blogger, Dog-Lover
I loved your description! Have you had Vanessa's? If you have I'd love to know how you think they compare!
about 1 year ago
Shawn Radar Burnette
I have and I am spitting hairs here but there is some kind of magic at Prosperity. Brooklyn has a great deal to offer but I head in on the L when I want dumplings or I am broke.
about 1 year ago
My mouth watered thinking about the pork and chive dumplings. Great call!
I'm a sucker for good intel on Chinatown, there's so much good stuff but I never hear much other than the usual suspects like Joe's Shanghai, etc.
Co-founder of RoundTable
I love hitting the dumpling spots and loading up on frozen dumplings. I always hear Vanessa and Prosperity but always default to Vanessa's because its right by my place. Good motivation to go down to chinatown and sample what they have to offer!
I spend a disproportionate amount of my income of food
To the few people who mentioned it, I agree with Shawn that there is something a bit magical about these dumplings. I definitely prefer them over Vanessa's, and they're worth going out of your way for if you haven't tried them yet.
Isn't prosperity dumpling closed down at the moment?
If you're in the mood for Filipino food with a modern twist you should check out Maharlika in the East Village. Most of their items are under $10 and their lunch special includes three items for around $9 before tip. Pictured is the homemade corned beef hash if I remember correctly. As a side I recommend the Arroz Caldo for the cold weather, it's like a Chinese congee rice porridge but with much deeper flavor from the ginger and garlic.
If you're really brave try the balut which is a fertilized duck egg which looks like a baby chick fetus inside. I still haven't gotten the courage to try it. If you do, let me know how it is.
Foodie and proud
I will go here SPECIFICALLY to try the balut, I love trying the strange stuff :)
I hear it's delicious, I hope you will enjoy it. If Maharlika is too crowded you can also check out its sister restaurant, Jeepney. They also serve a similar menu that includes balut as well. They are located only a few blocks away.
Coffee addict and proud
Cheap and delicious ethnic food is what I'm all about. I will be stopping by here to be sure!
Line cook, just moved to NYC
This is my favorite thing I've read on here this week. Photo of this looks SO good!
DINE WITH THE INSIDERS
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