A Guide to Essex Street’s Cheap-Eats Row

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From pickles to pupusas. Photo: The Ellaphant in the Room/Jason Lee

Best known culinarily as Guss’s longtime home, the Lower East Side’s Essex Street has recently become snack-food central — especially on weekends, when Hester Street Fair occupies Seward Park. A guide to the new restaurant row.

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Photo: The Ellaphant in the Room

Cabalito
13 Essex St.; no phone

Salvadoran masa cakes called pupusas, stuffed with things like the Central American flowerbud named loroco and the mix of mozzarella, refried beans, and chicharrones called revueltas.

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Photo: The Ellaphant in the Room

LES Kitchen
15 Essex St.; 646-952-2313

From the owner of Chinatown’s popular Breakroom, a burger joint serving La Frieda patties, fried-chicken sandwiches, and cheese fries with roast pork, shaved rib eye, and bacon.

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Photo: The Ellaphant in the Room

Taco Recipes
23 Essex St.; 212-353-1886

Chinese-run Tex-Mex takeout in the grand tradition of seminal cheap-eats favorite Fresco Tortilla Grill. Order a Monterey Jack quesadilla for old times’ sake.

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Photo: The Ellaphant in the Room

Sam’s Spring Roll
23 Essex St.; 212-777-7211

Fusion spring rolls featuring Indian-spiced mashed potatoes, cumin chicken, and bulgogi beef. And don’t miss the minced-pork-and-Cheddar grilled cheese, a.k.a. Pig Pen.

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Photo: The Ellaphant in the Room

LES Crêpes & Taqueria
25A Essex St.; 646-964-5000

A sidewalk shack housing one cook and two cuisines: Will it be a carnitas taco or a Black Forest crêpe?

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Photo: The Ellaphant in the Room

Homemade Dumpling
27A Essex St.; 212-529-2700

This dumpling shack has been frying up gingery pork dumplings for years. Three dollars a dozen.

*This article appears in the July 11, 2016 issue of New York Magazine.

A Guide to Essex Street’s Cheap-Eats Row