NY Cabbie-Recommended Restaurants: More Spots Worth Tasting
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Even when I cross the Brooklyn Bridge by mistake, have a run-in with the NYPD or get lost at the airport (does anyone else out there think the signage at La Guardia is totally misleading?), my next meal is usually on my mind.
Slowly but cheaply, I’m eating my way through New York City while I’m on duty, and I’ve found a few more places that deserve a spot on the map of New York cabbie-recommended restaurants.
For many of you food-savvy New Yorkers, some of these venues might be old news, but their offerings are cheap (less than $10), tasty and cabbie-friendly, so I can’t help but mention them:
El Idolo Taco Truck: The $6 cemita (a pressed sandwich with chipotle, Mexican farmer’s cheese, avocado and chili-coated pork) is my favorite thing to eat here so far. Their tamales are supposedly great (they’re always out when I go), and word on the street is their goat tacos are irresistible.
Note: The truck is open 7 days from 12pm-5am, so it’s good for night drivers especially. (W 14th St & 8th Ave – Chelsea. Nearest Taxi Stand: Just pull up to the cart. Bathroom? No.)
City Bakery: Yes, it’s $5, but this if there’s better hot chocolate in NYC, I haven’t found it. The pretzel croissant ($3.75) is a great salty foil for the hot chocolate. The coconut cookie ($2.50) is amazing on its own.
(3 W 18th St @5th Ave. – Union Square. Nearest Taxi Stand: 16th St. between 5th/Union Square West. Bathroom? Yes.)
Dos Toros Taqueria: This place is usually mobbed thanks to a recent rave review in The New York Times, but the carnitas taco ($4) with pico de gallo and tomatillo salsa – on a corn tortilla from Tortilleria Nixtamal in Queens – is worth battling the crowd. The chicken quesadilla ($6), loaded with free-range meat, cheese, and salsa, is great, too, especially if you spend an extra dollar and add guacamole. Sometimes the food can be a little over-salted, but this is a good Mexican option in Manhattan.
(137 4th Avenue @ 13th St. – Union Square. Nearest taxi stand: E. 16th bet 5th Ave & Union Square West or E. 17th bet Park Ave and Union Square West. Bathroom: No, but you can use the one at Walgreens on the corner of 4th Ave and 14th St.)
Num Pang Sandwich Shop: I’ve tried most of the sandwiches on the menu – I like basil-marinated mackerel, I’d skip hoisin meatballs – but the peppercorn catfish is banh mi is hard to beat. The catfish is tender and sweet, the French roll crispy and substantial, and I like the way they slather the sandwich with chili mayo and pile it high with cucumber, carrot, and fresh cilantro.
(21 East 12th Street, between 5th Ave & University Place, Union Square. Nearest Taxi Stand: E. 16th St. between 5th Ave & Union Square West – or you can keep an eye on your illegally parked cab right in front of the restaurant. Bathroom: No, but they have free water.)
Biryani Cart: This isn’t news for the Midtown Lunch set or for fans of the Vendy Awards, but this is one of the best spots in Manhattan to eat on the street. If you’re big on aromatics, you’ll love their basmati rice (I found a whole cardamom pod in mine on my last visit) with lamb and chicken. Their hot sauce is a wonderful combination of cilantro and green chilis that adds another dimension to the dish. All of this for $5.50!
(6th Ave & W 46th St, Midtown West. Nearest taxi stand: 6th Ave between 42nd/43rd – or just drive up. Bathroom: No – it’s a street cart)
Subtle Tea: If you’re looking for a lift instead of a jolt, this is a great spot to stop for a stimulating beverage. Their list of loose leaf teas is dizzying, and their ‘tea doctors’ make up new concoctions every day, including pomegranate white, passion fruit-orange-mate, and Shaolin green (with 8 different varieties of green tea). A 12 oz. cup of premium tea will set you back $2.25. I like to take the bag home and re-use it to get my money’s worth.
(121 Madison Avenue @ 30th St., Flatiron. Nearest taxi stand: 32nd & Madison. Bathroom: Yes – and WiFi if you’re typing rather than driving)
Click here to check out the complete map of New York cabbie-recommended restaurants (including spots recommended by other taxi drivers).
Have a suggestion for a cabbie-friendly restaurant? Leave a comment or send an email to email@example.com. (It may take me a while, but I’ll get to it!)