Metro’s picks for the city’s best new cheap bites. Affordable farm-to-table and Italian specialties. Drink like a rock star on an open-mic budget.
323 Graham Ave.
Previously Phoebe’s, East Williamsburg locals have embraced basik’s civilized bar food since it opened last December. Start with a tangle of boquerones (white anchovies) sprinkled with lemon and parsley, or the deviled duck eggs. To drink, try a Poppa’s Pride, a mix of bourbon, ginger and lemon, conceived when Arcade Fire singer Win Butler asked bartender Jay Zimmerman to “make me a drink that my grandfather would be proud of.” Butler ordered four that night.
Generous small plates $2-$6, sandwiches $4-$8
The Meatball Shop
64 Greenwich Ave.
Lower East Side
84 Stanton St.
170 Bedford Ave.
We’re not sure if the mark of a good meatball shop is its beef or its vegetarian ball, but The Meatball Shop excels at both. The premise is simple: your choice of meatball and sauce, served on a roll, over greens or “naked.” For dessert, it’s house-made ice cream sandwiched between two homemade cookies. Shops have popped up in the West Village and Lower East Side, and the new Williamsburg location includes a cozy bar.
Sliders $3, naked $7, on a hero or over salad $9, ice cream sandwiches $5
248 Mulberry St.
Can’t get a reservation at Torrisi Italian Specialties? Try the girl next door. Parm, the casual wing of the Little Italy classic offers most of Torrisi’s dishes (including the famous house-roasted turkey) as a slider, on a long roll or as a platter with baked ziti or salad. And as long as you promise to try the roasted brussels sprouts, you can order the B&G poppers: deep-fried pickled peppers stuffed with rice and provolone.
Breads and vegetable sides $5 each, rolls $8, heroes $11, platters $15
61 Bergen St.
Cobble Hill’s 61 Local brings it all back home by serving only locally crafted food, beer and wine at reasonable prices. “By working directly with producers we are able to get the best possible prices for the highest quality products,” says general manager Chris Munsey. Share a plate of cured meats or try the Vermont Smokehouse Toast: smoked ricotta on focaccia topped with maple syrup.
Small plates $1-$7, sharing plates $12-$14, sandwiches and toasts $6-$8