Bottom Feeder Reviews RGA Gyro Cart Shuvam Deli Sharan Deli Gray's Papaya Rong Bao 38 St Restaurant $0.99 Pizza Lucky 301 Chicken House Bakery Fresco Fresco Trio

Bottom Feeder Reviews

You spent Five Dollars on lunch?

Amy's Bread


East side of 9th avenue between 46th & 47th

Amy's Bread is pricier and tonier than most places reviewed here. But it does carry some real bargains: A variety of giant bread sticks (for want of a better term) with various things baked into them: rosemary, prociutto, cheeses, etc. They aren't very large, but are tasty, oily, and amazingly filling (one is plenty--two is overkill). At $1 to $1.50, they are one of the cheapest lunches around.

The shop looks funky, but then there's Amy's Website.
You will have to take my word that cheap decent food can be had at a place with a Sitemap
I hardly believe it myself.

Piece of Chicken


South side of 45th just in from 9th avenue

Gimmicky pricing here--most everything is $1;
Chicken $1. Quite good.
Fish--more than $1. Also good.
Soup $1. Fish soup. Very good.
Side dishes. Potatoes. $1. Very disappointing. Omit in future.
There are southernish side dishes that I do not eat, but (see below) many like them.

This place is quite popular and has been extensively reviewed

There is usually a line, but it's pretty quick.

Big Apple

MOVED TO BETWEEN 39th&40th, Still pretty good

West Side of 9th between 41st & 42nd Street.

There is a delicatessen counter just inside the door. It's very cheap. The usual sliced meat sandwiches. Potato salads (there are several kinds) are also quite good. There is usually an enormous 'special' hero at $3 (meatball, pastrami, whatever).

There's a walk-in cool room, with, among the usual dairy stuff, lots of kinds of yoghurt, including some 'con sabor latino' in mango, papaya, pear, etc flavors.

Stiles, in the tent behind the hanging plastic strips, has the area's cheapest fruit, vegetables, and bagels. And 99¢ pizza on the corner. You could live here. Many people do.

Some other reviews, about as useless as this one. But if a visiting friend says "I want to see the non-touristy New York!", just bring 'em here.

Gyro Cart

The 'good' cart is long gone--now just an ordinary cart.

Southwest corner, Broadway and 40 Street.

Street food is chancey. Will you get a cheap lunch, or pain and time-consuming digestive problems?

Fortunately, there is a simple way to find safe and tasty cart food. People vote with their feet, and they don't line up to get poisoned, this side of Guyana. So look for a line and find fine food.

This cart serves chicken or lamb, in a little box with rice ($3), on pita ($3?) or a big box with rice and salad ($5?). Many other carts sell the same thing, but this one does it well.

Hallo Berlin

Still there. Still the best.

Northwest corner of 54th & fifth (off the map)

The owner of Hallo Berlin restaurant runs this cart. Prices have risen to $6 or $7, but it is the same sausages and potatoes as the restaurant. It's very good. No beer though. And there is usually a long slow line.



Sharan Deli


South side of 39 street, middle of the block.

Excellent breakfasts of the egg & stuff on a roll variety, in the $2 range.
They also make sandwiches on bagels for a few cents more.
There are adequate lunch sandwiches of sliced deli meats.

Dress is clearly casual.

The wrapped danishes are better than at Shuvam, but the stuff on any cart is better and cheaper than these.

Clean, too!

Rong Bao


On 38th, between 7th & 8th (a few stores in from 8th) on the south side of the street.

Cute counter girls can scarcely ameliorate the minimum-security prison feel of this working-class hash house. The $3.75 pile of rice with three steam-table choices could feed two easily. The steam table changes daily and with the seasons, and cover a wide range of food types. I generally get one completely vegetable choice (green stuff or bok choy) and two meats. You can take the food out, or eat at a table full of silent, sullen men. There is also self-serve free water.

There is also a small selection of pastries (melon or black bean cakes, and sesame-coated rice balls with black bean paste in them).

Review of the whole block.


38th Street Restaurant and Bakery

On 38th, between 7th & 8th (a few stores in from 8th) on the north side of the street.

The same $3.75 for 3 choices, but one of them can be roast duck!

Remodeled in 2007--New sign, no major changes. Prices are a bit higher ($4.25?). Note that during the impossibly crowded lunch hour, 'asian queuing' is in effect: The loudest and most aggressive patron is served first.

Before and after lunchtime, the steam-table lunch is replaced with Chinese bakery (cf the name of this establishment).

See this long review

HANGING ON, the 38st shop is gone


Two nearby and substantially identical shops 38st between 7th & 8th, and 9av between 39th & 40th

Featuring soft flour tortillas and hard taco shell fare, these asian-run texmexy shops owe little to any culinary tradition more exotic than Taco Bell. But the items are cheap ($1-$2 per handful) and pretty good, too. I especially like #1 (meat wrapped in a soft taco).

$0.99 Pizza


Northeast corner of 36th and 8th, on 36th.

Just what is says. A slice of pizza ordinaire for $0.99.
They serve it out of a window, and you eat it on the street.
The usual condiments (red pepper, garlic, oregano, salt, napkins) are on the counter.
When you're done, dump the paper plate in the garbage can and leave.

Lucky 301


Right next to $0.99 Pizza

If you are not totally put off by the tray of goose feet in the window(!!), they sell one extreme cheap treat: A little square foam container (the kind usually used for a single burger) filled with fried rice, and two fried chicken legs, for $2.50. It even tastes good.

There are tables, and even a vegetable store, though I have used neither.

Lucky has been remodeled. The vegetables are mostly gone. The place is cleaner and brighter. The chicken legs remain.



On 35th, between 7th & 8th (near 8th) on the south side of the street.

How did the thousands-of-years-old Chinese civilization, with so many incredible accomplishments, completely miss inventing dessert? We may never know, but if you like what they have come up with instead, here is a good place to get it. There are little dough-wrapped chopped meaty things and bean-filled things and little egg-custards in baked shells and sesame balls and... well, lots and lots of stuff, all in the $0.50 to $0.90 range.

And good coffee too.

There are also cakes, made with risen dough and icing. They are disappointing--extremely sweet but tasteless, like the proverbial bad musician who plays all the notes and none of the music. I generally keep to the solid dough and pounded rice items.


Chicken House


On 36th, between 7th & 8th (near 8th) on the south side of the street.

The deal here is deep-fried fish, on bread or with french fries.

Grays Papaya


Northwest corner of 37th and 8th.

Hot dogs. Big peculiar drinks. They raised their prices recently, but it's still pretty cheap. Especially for a lone hot dog.

Kashmir Express


On the west side of 8th, between 39th & 40th streets.

Vegetable samosas at $1.00 each are all I ever get here. They are quite tasty when filled with fresh, hot, microwaves.

Trio French Bakery

Reconfigured as a Mexican? Restaurant. I have never tried it.

On the east side of 9th, between 36th & 37th streets.

Basically a pretty good bread and roll bakery, with some ordinary bakery cookies.

For lunch, there is a limited selection of good, simple delicatessen sandwiches ($4-$5). There is a hard-working stove to cook up the hot sandwiches. I especially like the hot pastrami.

Shuvam Deli


In 333 West 39th.

With enough floor space to easily accomodate a bridge team, Shuvam Deli has a dependable and almost unvarying menu of bengali-tinged foods at sub-reasonable prices. The $3.75 chicken curry (chicken, rice, do you want beans & 'salad' (shredded lettuce and machine-edible tomatoes)) is a rainy-day comfort, goat curry is sometimes available, and there is fish (fish and chipsish) on friday (early). These are also $3.50, or perhaps $4.

The tuna on whole wheat (I still don't want the 'salad') is as good as anyone's, and as exciting.

There is an adequate selection of loose beers at decent prices, if you don't feel like working this afternoon.

But avoid the wrapped, soggy, overpriced danishes and the like. Ethnic pride has kept me from even sampling the wrapped buttered bagels.