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Features

All About The Cheap Eats

Great meals for under $10

I was sent out to locate meals for $10 or under and am happy to report I found some delicious dishes that won’t break the bank. I decided not to go the easy route with sandwiches (although you might argue with me about my inclusion of burgers) and also made a couple of other rules to make it more interesting.

1. If there was pasta it couldn’t be the main ingredient and 2. No soup alone even if it had lots of ingredients. Tip and tax are not included in the price.

Here’s what I found:

A Favorite Dish From Korea

Bibim bap, which translates as “mixed meal,” is a popular Korean dish that can be enjoyed at Jane Restaurant in Mineola. Served in a bowl, the dish features greens and other vegetables such as bean sprouts, zucchini and red peppers atop white rice plus very tasty pieces of fried beef. It is topped with a fried egg and served with their special fiery red-hot bean sauce. Mix it all together. It comes with a bowl of miso soup and costs $9.95.

Grilled Meat In Floral Park

Since they were kids, brothers Chris and John Cavallo have been smoking meat. Their uncle had a place upstate and the barbecue would be a big part of the activities, using recipes from their father. At Sempre Fame, their little place in Floral Park, the two prepare brisket, ribs and other meats in the smoker in the backyard. The aroma of hickory and cherry and cooked meat is intoxicating. A tasty dish is their marinated and grilled chicken breast over escarole and beans. ($9.95)

Sometimes You Gotta Have A Burger

Tuesday night is $10 burger night at Mitch & Toni’s American Bistro in Albertson. These 10-ounce hamburgers are beautifully charred and can be had two different ways: traditional or the skinny burger. The regular burger comes on a bun and is served with onion rings, fries, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. The skinny burger is served without a bun and comes with a salad of mesclun greens, cranberries, almonds, beets, red onion, crumbled blue cheese and port vinaigrette.

Fe-Fi-Pho!

Even though the pho at Farmingdale’s The Rolling Spring Roll, Long Island’s only Vietnamese restaurant, costs $9, I’m not going to write about this wonderful soup because, well, it’s a soup and rules are rules, even if I made them up myself. Pho is a soup of meat, noodles, vegetables and herbs. I’m also not going to write about their tasty grilled lemongrass chicken sandwich served on a baguette and stuffed with marinated vegetables, cucumber and herbs for $6, because it’s a sandwich (check my second sentence). Instead go for the grilled beef satay for $7.95 — marinated and grilled beef served with rice noodles, house-made peanut sauce and vinaigrette — because it’s good and it’s not a soup or a sandwich.

Country Chicken We Can Afford

Ever since Pollos el Paisa opened up in Westbury around eight years ago, I’ve been eating regularly in the little orange diner on Old Country Road. Their Colombian-style rotisserie chicken is well seasoned and flavorful. There are many under $10 bargains to be had. The chicken platter (soup, one-quarter chicken, salad, French fries and rice) is $7.95. Half a chicken is $4.50 (a whole chicken costs $7.95) and a variety of side dishes such as sweet plantains, beams and corn cakes cost from $2 to $4. Calves liver with tomato sauce, cassava, potatoes and rice is $9.95, as is beans with pork, rice, fried pork skin and avocado. And there’s more, so check it out.

Comfort Food In Glen Cove

One of the specialties at Gonzalo’s cozy American Café in Glen Cove is homemade soup. One night when I was there, the soups were chicken corn chowder, beef and barley, lentil with sausage, split pea with bacon and vegetarian black bean chili, plus two chilies. I made a filling meal of a cup of lentil soup ($4.50) and a cup of their mac and cheese ($5.50), which is made with five cheeses: American, cheddar, blue, goat and Swiss. Add their delicious hot corn muffins and you have plenty of food to make your stomach (and your wallet) happy.