Where to go next in New York City (including a star chef’s superb Greek prix fixe lunch).
"My fiancée, Chloe Nathan, works at Per Se, so she tells me about all their truffles and caviar," says chef Wesley Genovart, who doesn't use either at his inspired two-year-old Spanish tapas bar. In the tiny open kitchen, surrounded by a 16-seat counter, Genovart prepares outstanding dishes with less-expensive ingredients, like grilled lamb belly and mushroom-potato hash browns and the perennial favorite, tender squid stuffed with braised short ribs and chorizo. Genovart claims it's not hard to keep every dish under $16: "Squid, short ribs—all this stuff is cheap!" 239 E. 5th St.; 212-979-1012.
"We don't compete with the four-ounce places," says Stand manager Ray Pirkle, referring to New York's seemingly infinite number of hamburger joints. "Our burgers are seven ounces. They're a commitment." Served at communal tables in a space with 18-foot ceilings, the burgers are an extra-juicy mix of ground chuck, short ribs and brisket. Shakes are made with deluxe gelato and the beer list focuses on regional brews. 24 E. 12th St.; 212-488-5900.
Most successful inexpensive restaurants have a maximum number of tables in the dining room and a minimal amount of homemade food in the kitchen. But at Via Emilia, the tables are well-spaced and almost everything on the menu, which centers on the cuisine of Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, is freshly made. That includes nearly all of the pastas, like nicely thin strands of tagliatelle in a rustic meat sauce and oversize spinach-and-ricotta-stuffed tortelloni; neither costs more than $13. 47 E. 21st St.; 212-505-3072.
At elegant, 11-month-old Anthos, lamb sausage with skate is often part of the terrific $28 three-course lunch. So is the garlicky lamb burger, which isn't available at any other time (chef Michael Psilakis eats it three times a week). 36 W. 52nd St.; 212-582-6900.