We’ve all been there: you desperately want to enjoy a night out with friends, but are having trouble justifying buying dinner over this month’s Metrocard. Next time you’re searching for a great restaurant that won’t have you whipping out the credit card you “swore you wouldn’t use this month”, try the eastern-inspired fare at one of these restaurants:
Mission Chinese Food
There aren’t many ways to go wrong at this spectacular LES establishment, except for arriving any time after 6 pm. The only downside to Mission is the two hour wait, but as a New York dining aficionado, you know your taste buds will be thoroughly rewarded. A sibling of the San Francisco flagship by Executive Chef Danny Bowein, Mission is Bowein’s take on what he calls ‘Americanized Asian food’, and the result is a masterful wonderland of innovation.
Recommended: Kung Pao Pastrami, Salt Cod Fried Rice, Tiki Spare Ribs, Crispy Pig Ears, Soft Shell Crab, Mongolian Long Beans, and the T-1000.
154 Orchard St New York, NY 10002
A recurring theme with delicious, affordable Asian restaurants is the epically long wait. At Ippudo, it’s the collective of ensemble of ambiance and food that keeps us going back. The glow of the red lights suggesting something naughty, the menagerie of noodle bowls hanging on the walls, the decorative dry noodles artfully placed under the glass bar, and oh, those pork buns. The thing that makes Ippudo really special is that it’s not just the noodles that are magnanimous, it’s everything. Recommended: Tofu Agedashi, Shishito Peppers, Pork Buns, Spare Ribs, and Miso Ramen.
65 4th Ave New York, NY 10003
Don’t think, just order. Order the lamb chops, the Peking pork, the tofu with minced pork, fried rice, and beef noodles. If you have a friend who speaks Cantonese, bring them, because English is not a priority for the staff, but excellent cooking is. For under $25, you will walk away beyond full. Go hungry, and go soon.
103 Mott St New York, NY 10013
For the happiest of hours, make sure you stop by this classic East Village establishment. As the cooler weather descends upon us and you start to crave heartier foods, make trying this spot a priority to feed your inner carnivore. Happy hour specials include $5 cuts of beef and $3 draft beers. Recommended: Harami Skirt Steak, Sukiyaki Bimbimbap, and Mushroom Medley
34 Cooper Square
We won’t sugar coat this one for you, Yakitori is not for the faint of heart, the unadventurous, or the claustrophobic. You will sit on top of at least six other humans, you will most likely point to photos on the menu to order, and you may want to use the restroom before you go. That being said, it’s some of the most delicious, no frills, cheap food in Manhattan. With pitchers of beer clocking in at $12, what’s not to love?
Recommended: Skewers, Scallion pancakes
5 St Marks Pl #8 New York, NY 10003