Astoria, Restaurants
Aug 10, 2016

On the Subject of Cheap Eats in Astoria

Grub Street published its overview of new cheap eats in NYC, now we want to hear your choices for Astoria.

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Last month Grub Street published their Best (New) Cheap Eats in New York list for 2016, and two Astoria spots made the cut. One you no doubt know, and one you may not be very familiar with.

falafel

First, is Freddy, AKA King of Falafel & Shawarma. He opened his restaurant earlier this year and moved his truck up to Ditmars, where it’s gaining more and more followers in the north. Here’s what Grub Street has to say—they are big on the shawarma part, but nobody can deny the falafel is yum:

“No one’s saying that Astoria’s street-cart czar Fares “Freddy” ­Zeideia’s herby, craggy, ellipsoidal falafel isn’t spectacular, or that it doesn’t live up to the name that appears on the sign outside his first brick-and-mortar shop. But what gets short shrift is the “& Shawarma” part. One forkful of the combination beef-and-lamb shawarma — a groaning platter of meat, doused with competing sauces and served over rice with various pickled things — is enough to remind you that Freddy, by his own admission, is not only the king of chickpea fritters but also the sultan of alternately stacked strips of spiced meat and fat roasted on vertical spits. Just in case you disagree, Freddy always throws in a couple of falafels.”

tuts-hub-interior-astoria-queens

Photo credit: Tut’s Hub

The second Astoria spot on the list is Tut’s Hub, a relative newcomer to Steinway near the Little Egypt section. It caught the eye of the NY Times’ Ligaya Mishan in March, which put it on the radar of the rest of NYC (we hear about Kabab Cafe and Mombar, mostly, when it comes to this area). Here’s what Grub Street had to say.

“Part Egyptian temple (the imposing façade), part boisterous romper room (the third-floor play space), Tut’s Hub might be Astoria’s most unusual restaurant. The steam trays and pizza oven could be found in any midtown deli, but not the foods they convey: koshary, a carb-­loader’s dream of lentils, chickpeas, rice, and elbow macaroni, anointed with crispy onions and tomato sauce; warm, tender, superb rice-stuffed grape and cabbage leaves; puréed lentil soup redolent of bay leaf and cumin; and feteer, sweet or savory pastry made from dough that’s stretched tablewide and paper thin and filled with anything from pastrami to chocolate syrup. Oddly, the kitchen devotes itself equally to Americana like burgers and pizza, so you might assume the baked pasta in the display case is lasagna; it’s actually macaroni béchamel, made with ground beef and penne, and as popular in Cairo, Egypt, as tuna casserole is in Omaha, Nebraska.”

Unfortunately, the Grub Street article doesn’t really tell us what they mean by “cheap”—that could be $5 or $25 or some random amount. Basically I think of cheap—in this city, at least—as under $25 per person (including tax and tip). So I ask you, Astoria—what and where are the good, cheap eats in the neighborhood? We want to know your picks! Leave us a comment here or via our social channels with the details.

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

2 Comments

ilena

Pao de Queijo on 30th and Broadway and also Point Brazil on 38th and 31st ave are both amazing deals for all the food you get! I also like Create

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