Ba mee from Larb Ubol (480 Ninth Avenue, 212-564-1822), $9
Gather a group for a cheap feast, or settle for a bowl of Thai noodle soup for one.
We’re usually keen to exit the vicinity of Times Square as quickly as possible, which may explain why we frequently draw blanks when people ask us for a cheap restaurant recommendation nearby. But earlier this year, Larb Ubol gave us not just a spot to head with our tourist friends (or when we’re catching a flick at the IMAX cinema) but also a destination for Isaan fare that’s worth going out of our way for. It’s worth gathering up a gaggle of friends to order from the sizable list — many dishes are sub-$10, and portions are hefty, so you’ll be able to have a cheap feast. If you’re going it alone, though, you’ll surely consider the pork larb, and for good reason: it’s a stellar version of the chopped pig salad that’s bright with lime, fresh with basil, and alight with the spark of chili. But if you’re really hungry, veer toward the ba mee, a noodle dish you can get in either soup or dry form (we prefer soup). Imbued with the sweet-savory note of fish sauce and filled out with thick slabs of rosy pork, strands of white crab, plus a nest of wispy noodles, you can add oomph with hot sauce — and you’ll leave with a full belly.
Hungry for more? See the Cheap Eat of the Day archives.