Best of Cheap Eats at the Times

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This week at the Gray Lady, Sifton & Co. weigh in with all of their year-end roundups. We were especially curious about the "& Co." part of the equation, because we've been finding the last year of "Dining Briefs" and "$25 & Under" columns especially eclectic and, at times, downright educational. (Korean-Uzbek food? Check. Escargot panini? Check.)

Oliver Strand, Ligaya Mishan, Dave Cook, Betsy Andrews, and editor Pete Wells chose fifteen restaurants to highlight: eight in Manhattan, one in Queens, five in Brooklyn, none in the Bronx, and props to the team one in Staten Island. The list leans somewhat toward fried chicken and Mexican, but there's also Indian and Taiwanese, Thai and Italian.

An e-mail to Pete Wells inquiring about their process reveals that, sadly, there is no master map of the five boroughs on a wall, no color-coded pushpins, as we had so hoped. (Hey, it's hard getting a good mix of boroughs and cuisines!) Wells also reminded us that the Times has been covering non-European restaurants since the days of editor Craig Claiborne, way back in the fifties, and that Eric Asimov "took readers all over the globe" when he helmed the "$25 and Under" column. Noted, Mr. Wells. We'll consider it over some funchoza in Brighton Beach.

Inexpensive Restaurants That Stood Out in 2010 [NYT]