Korean tacos are a must-try at Ducks. (Willie Davis)
In a neighborhood synonymous with some of New York’s favorite lunching options — like that little burger stand in Madison Square Park — we’ve gone underground, looked south of the border and, yes, even chased a truck to compile this list of lunches less ordinary, all for $10 or less.
Unless you happen to catch a glimpse of SPiN New York via the picture window inside the 6 train’s 23rd Street station, you might never notice this sprawling, retro-styled, subterranean ping-pong hall and its resident eatery, Ducks.
Gotta have it: An order of the Korean tacos ($9) — braised short ribs, housemade oyster kimchi, fresh garnishes — or one of the may inspired sandwiches — Harry’s corned beef ($9) with “our secret corned beef recipe, spicy brown mustard, rye bread” are sure to please, whether or not you’ve worked up a post-ping pong appetite.
48 E. 23rd St., btwn Park and Madison avenues, 212-982-8802
ON THE MOVE
A line of regulars queue up for lunch at the Bistro Truck come snow or shine. In case you were wondering… yes, it’s worth it. The secret to this mobile vendor’s success is its menu of Moroccan and Mediterranean-inspired dishes at bargain-basement prices.
Gotta have it: The most expensive items — a Merguez sausage sandwich, a steak sandwich and a Marrakech lamb entrée that will haunt your dreams — are all just $7.
The Bistro Truck regularly parks on Fifth Avenue near 17th Street. Check its Twitter feed (@bistrotruck) for exact location.
SOUTH OF THE BORDER
On the West Coast, every neighborhood has a local spot that serves quick and easy Mexican fare tempered with a bit of crunchy-granola consciousness — e.g. grilled veggies, lard-free black beans. Thankfully, New York has Uncle Moe’s Burritos where, aside from choosing between a taco order ($3.65 ea., and up) or a fatty burrito ($6.75-$8.45), your most critical choice is what filling suits your fancy.
Gotta have it: Burrito and taco filling options run the gamut from nopales (grilled cactus) to turkey mole to housemade chorizo.
14 W. 19th St., btwn Fifth and Sixth avenues, 212-727-9400
WHITE GLOVE TREATMENT
Lunchtime bargains are plentiful along the Little India stretch of Lexington Avenue, but even here you’ll be hard-pressed to find a full-service, three-course meal for less than $10. Bhatti Indian Grill is the exception to the rule.
Gotta have it: A pair of appetizers, a deftly-spiced curry of the day, served with bread, a grilled vegetable side and dessert are just $9.95. Knock $2 off if you opt for the vegetarian version.
100 Lexington Ave., btwn 27th and 28th streets, 212-683-4228
It’s easy to walk right past the cheerful storefront of 22 Happy Cups — it’s small, unassuming and, at quick glance, seems like just another fro-yo shop.
Dig deeper into the menu though and you’ll discover a handful lunch-worthy options including savory crepes and a short list of Korean specialties.
Gotta have it: Because no one can live on fro-yo alone, try Bulgoki beef over rice ($7.95) or bi bim bop, a vegetarian rice dish ($7.95).
688 Avenue of the Americas, btwn 21st and 22nd streets, 212-929-2313