Fill Up on a Budget With the Lunch Special at Cafe el Puente in Williamsburg

Fill Up on a Budget With the Lunch Special at Cafe el Puente in Williamsburg
Sara Ventiera for the Village Voice

In this city, nothing comes cheap — especially a hearty stick-to-your-ribs meal. When you're on a budget, there's always pizza, bagels, doughnuts, and whatever carb-based dish is in your area. But when you want meat, and a lot of it, chances are you're going to be straining your wallet. That is, unless you go to Cafe el Puente (231 South 4th Street, Brooklyn; 718-388-2416). The South Williamsburg Dominican restaurant offers huge lunch specials that start at just $6.

Every day of the week, the casual eatery offers lunch specials of savory Caribbean fare that range from $6 to $8. You never know what's going to be on offer, as the selections change daily, but one thing is certain: Everything is full of flavor and seriously filling — if you manage to clean your plate, you're a champ.

The restaurant itself is bare-bones: Formica tables with vinyl-covered chairs. As soon as you walk in the door, there's a bain-marie with the day's selection of dishes for the deal. Chicken is one of the items that tends to stick around. For just $6, you can get a heaping portion of the bird with a pile of rice and beans. Fish is another daily offering that goes for $8; same goes for deep-fried pork. Sides comprise the typical Dominican choices, such as yellow rice and peas, yucca, plantains, and steamed veggies.

It's all good, but the rotating proteins are some of the most interesting. On one visit, there was a rich and thick beef stew. Another day, a roast pork that was so juicy, it could nearly melt in your mouth.

If you're looking to seriously fill up on a budget, you must check this place out.

Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.

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