The annual Cheap Eats issue arrives this week and represents, as usual, a massive compendium of low-end gastronomic wisdom. The Underground Gourmet round up some of the city’s very best cheap eats in the main section, but Adam Platt also weighs in on what passes for cheap in the city’s high-end places, some top chefs give their own picks, and three of the city’s greenmarket specialists vie to outdo each other not just in locavorism but also in “cheapavorism.” Add to that laser-focused profiles on burgers, barbecue, and Korean fried chicken, and you have a Cheap Eats supplement to put all others to shame.
• The first thing you think when you look at The Cheap List is, Man! How could so many good cheap restaurants have opened up in the last year? But they have.
• Adam Platt doesn’t often have to eat out on his own dime, but when he does, he wants value for his money. Hence these picks.
• Joël Robuchon’s favorite cheap eat is the pastrami sandwich at the Carnegie Deli. We like all the chefs’ picks, but there is something about that one that just moves us.
•: As has often been remarked, eating locally can be a prohibitively expensive proposition. These three great greenmarket chefs made it their business to do it on the cheap.
• The Robs love them some burgers, and this was a great year for the most iconic of all American sandwiches. But who got top honors? Prune’s mammoth meat tower? Borough Food & Drink’s ultrajuicy behemoth? Resto’s pork-powered product? Read and see.
• And what of barbecue? Pulled-pork sandwiches may be replacing pastrami in New York food culture.
• Rounding out the issue is one of the least expected but most welcome innovations of recent years: Korean fried chicken. Rob and Robin pick seven of the best.
• And, just for good measure, there are two helpful Short Lists: one about two very talented Japanese chefs, and one about the state of gastropubs.