Many of the city's top restaurants are incredibly expensive. So what's a cash-strapped foodie to do? At these three restaurants, you can sample sublime food made by some of the world's culinary geniuses--without having to sacrifice next month's rent:
There's no shortage of French restaurants in NYC: Le Bernardin, Daniel, Jean-Georges, et cetera, et cetera. But for the most bang for your buck, head to L'Ecole, the restaurant of the French Culinary Institute, where you can enjoy a five-course prix fixe dinner for only $42. Chefs Bobby Flay and Dan Barber worked here before they made it big, so rest assured--you're in for a great meal. The menu changes periodically, but examples of dishes recently served at L'Ecole include curry glazed salmon roulade, juniper smoked rack of lamb with sunchoke-cheddar puree and apple jus, and chocolate brioche bread pudding.
From Ko and Milk Bar to Ssam Bar and Noodle Bar, David Chang's empire of Momofuku restaurants is a force to be reckoned with. But it can cost a pretty penny to eat his Asian-influenced cuisine--the bo ssam (slow cooked pork and condiments wrapped inside lettuce leaves) served at Ssam Bar costs $200. At Chang's latest outpost, Ma Peche, you can eat his food for a fraction of the cost. For $10 at lunchtime, you can score a banh mi sandwich, squid salad, or rice noodles, plus a beverage.
Aquavit, Marcus Samuelsson's swanky Scandinavian restaurant, is where the well-heeled dine on delicacies such as venison tartare, smoked trout, and lobster salad. But at his cheaper AQ Kafe, hungry New Yorkers can grab a bite of traditional Scandinavian cuisine without shelling out a ton of money. Try the Swedish meatballs, roasted beet salad, or gravlax (cured salmon).