Five Meals for $5 or Less


Check our these $5 flautas on the Fulton Mall.

Check our these $5 flautas on the Fulton Mall. Photo: Brendan Spiegel

Yes, there are plenty of opulent, over-the-top tasting menus in Brooklyn, but despite what the hype about our food scene might have you believe, there are still plenty of cheap and tasty dishes to be had. Here are five new, uber-inexpensive Brooklyn meals.

don neco

Photo: Brendan Spiegel

1. Don Nico’s Flautas, Downtown Brooklyn

This new Fulton Mall lunch option is housed in a colorful reclaimed shipping container. A fiver nabs you three crisp, freshly-fried flautas (deep-fried tortillas filled with chicken, beef or cheese) smothered in crema and salsa. There are also quesadillas, wraps, salads and tortas. This isn’t Mexican food that’s gonna inspire anyone to travel across boroughs or wax poetic about the depth of flavors. But the tasty, indie lunch spot is a welcome addition this increasingly chain-saturated stretch, and it’s certainly value for your money.

2. Brooklyn Bird, Clinton Hill

From Binghamton to Brooklyn comes the chicken spiedie.

From Binghamton to Brooklyn comes the chicken spiedie. Photo: Brendan Spiegel

The signature “chicken spiedie” ($4.50) at this Pratt-area newcomer is one of the odder sandwiches I’ve encountered: savory marinated chicken on a hot dog roll with melted American cheese. Apparently, it’s an upstate New York tradition imported from the Binghamton area to Brooklyn. The chicken itself is moist and delicious, and while the dish is a little odd, it is perfect for soaking up booze after a night at the adjacent Brooklyn Tap House (and Brooklyn Bird is open til 3am on weekends). Other options under the $5 mark include southern-style chicken and dumplings and a chili cheese dog. For not much more, they’ve also got bacon truffle grilled cheese and a roast beef au jus melt.

3. Beygl, Park Slope


Photo: Beygl

No, it’s not breaking news that you can grab a Brooklyn bagel for under $5, but this two-month-old 5th Avenue spot is bringing something new to the game. Their kettle-boiled-then-baked bagels not only achieve what I consider to be the perfect balance of crispy outside and doughy interior, but they also come in foodie-friendly flavors like rosemary and olive oil, cranberry-walnut, and sea salt with cracked pepper. For $2.25 you can get one schmeared with cucumber-dill or pimento-olive cream cheese; $2.50 makes it an egg sandwich; $4 a BLT. A bagel worth traveling for!

4. Taste Buds, Crown Heights

taste buds

There’s nothing better than a biscuit. Photo: Taste Buds

Open since last spring, this Franklin Avenue sandwich shop was already a solid stop for breakfast sandwiches with farm-fresh eggs and Applewood smoked bacon, but they recently upped the game with homemade biscuits. These warm, fluffy morsels make one serious egg sandwich ($4.95), or if you’re willing to break the bank at $7.50, a hearty serving of biscuits and gravy. Come lunch time, $4.95 will get you another winner: an all-beef Niman Ranch hot dog with melted Gruyere.

5. Cesar’s Empanada’s, Atlantic Terminal


Mmmm, mmmmm, empanadas. Photo: Brendan Spiegel

This Barclays Center-area truck isn’t brand new, but we’re loving their ever-expanding menu of empanada options. The $2 pockets of golden-fried goodness come in traditional plain (just mozzarella), but they also have versions filled with plantains, guava and cheese, and other delicious fillings. These may not help out with any weight loss resolutions, but they sure do brighten up a trip to the hell that is the Atlantic Terminal Target.

One Response

  1. Michael Livermore -

    Delicious! I object to the dish served by Brooklyn Bird being characterized as a “chicken spiedie.” Yes, spiedies involves marinated chicken, but it is served on Felix Roma Sliced Italian Bread: More importantly, NO CHEESE!!!!! Putting cheese on spiedies is just insane. As a Binghamton native, I have never seen cheese on spiedies in my life – it cuts away from the entire spiedies ethic, which is stripped down and meant for backyard grilling, or better yet, grilling on a Broome County park outdoor grill. Are people supposed to put their spiedies under the broiler for a minute after they grill their spiedies — I think not.


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