Welcome to this week’s installment of Ask the Critics. If you have a question — any question! — you’d like answered in this column, email us.
This week, Amol M. asks:
Can you suggest a weekend excursion/eating crawl in the five boroughs that would be fun do to with a group? It would be best if it’s cheap and walkable, although one of us does have a car.
One of the most obvious answers is to do a Roosevelt Avenue Latin street food crawl. It couldn’t be simpler — exit at Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street. There are several carts right outside the station that vend tacos, huaraches, and the like. Walk east underneath the elevated train tracks from Jackson Heights through Elmhurst and into Corona, and you can’t throw a stone without hitting a cart selling ceviche, quesadillas, tortas, tamales, and more. Many are cooking delicious stuff, all are worth a try. This crawl is a perennial favorite, it’s extremely cheap, and you can make it as short or long as you like.
Then again, you could go on a dumpling and hand-pulled noodle binge on Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park. Start at Eighth Avenue and 44th Street and walk south to 60th Street. You’ll find lots of good eats along the way (on the weekends, the street cart scene gets exciting). Prosperity Dumpling (4317 Eighth Avenue) and XSG Dumpling House (5301 Eighth Avenue) are both good for ultra-cheap pork-and-chive dumplings and scallion pancakes. For hand-pulled noodles, try Wong Wong Noodle Shop (5410 Eighth Avenue), 8th Avenue Noodles (5017 Eighth Avenue), and Lanzhou Hand Pull Noodle (5924 Eighth Avenue). Maybe you want to grab some hot-and-sour dumplings at Yun Nan Flavor Snack (775 49th Street), too. And don’t forget to stop at Big Apple Fast Food (4817 Eighth Avenue) for a Fujianese oyster cake.
If you have a car, take the LIE out to Floral Park, Queens, to check out New York’s least-known Little India. Start at Mumbai Xpress (25605 Hillside Avenue), where you shouldn’t miss the bhel puri, vada pav, Mumbai grilled sandwich, misal pav, and chikoo milkshake. Right next door, get an Indian-Chinese fix at Masala 2 Wok (25601 Hillside Avenue). Mmmmm … gobi Manchurian. Then go by Usha Sweets and Snacks
(25915 Hillside Avenue) for Gujarati sweets and snacks, like dhokla — savory fermented chickpea-flour cakes — and kesar pedas, a kind of saffron-flavored, milky confection. Grab Indian groceries to go at the supersized Patel Brothers (25108 Hillside Avenue).