We scoured the city in search of the most affordable (as in rock-bottom) iconic foodstuffs, then we ran them by our chief restaurant critic, who rated everything on a ten-point scale. The result: We sort of got what we paid for.
Moishes Bake Shop, 115 Second Ave., nr. 7th St.; 212-505-8555
It tastes like crankcase oil, but it has caffeine in it; it will work.
Pizza Slice, $.75
2 Bros. Pizza, 1015 Sixth Ave., nr. 38th St.; 212-575-1216
It looks like a New York slice; it has nice cheese on it; it has the big crusty part that we likebut it has no sauce.
Eliana Jaramillos Food Cart, 43rd St. nr. Sixth Ave.; no phone
Its got good density, and its nice and salty, and it will nourish you when you are on your way to the ballpark or whatever. I dont like gourmet pretzels, so I think its good.
Hot Dog, $.99
Street cart at Broadway nr. Astor Pl.; no phone
There is a reason that the New York hot dog is the most durable street food in town, and that is because they all taste the same.
New York Muffins, 287 Bedford Ave., nr. N. 6th St., Williamsburg; 718-218-9080
This is a first-rate non-bagel. It is heavy, and it looks like a bagel, but it doesnt really taste like a bagel.
Pops Burgers, 475 Seventh Ave., nr. 34th St.; no phone
Its vaguely edible, except that it has this faint back taste of dog meat, which I find unappealing.
Steak Dinner, $4.30
(Bistek with Rice) Fiesta Grill, 69-12 Roosevelt Ave., Woodside 718-205-4010
Its so leathery, you need a bowie knife to cut it. I dont know what part of the cow it came from, but it tastes like it has been cooked for about seven days. The rice is good, though.
A Dozen Doughnuts, $6
Mikes Donuts, 6822 Fifth Ave., nr. 69th St., Bay Ridge 718-745-6980
If you are hung-over in the morning, and you need to get to work, with a cup of coffee they will do fine.
Chicken and Rice, Small Combo, $3.50
La Baguette Café street cart, 40th St. nr. Broadway; no phone
The chicken has been cooked so hard that you cant really taste what it is, but it has some nice spice, and the rice is relatively fresh. This is my favorite, I guess, in the whole bunch.
Compiled by Katie Van Syckle
This story appeared in the July 16, 2012 issue of New York Magazine.