Never underestimate the power of takeout: food that quietly goes from pot to package and resurfaces in your kitchen as a satisfying meal made not by you. Almost any eatery will pack food to go while you stare wistfully at dining tables with gleaming silverware, but when you don’t need waiter service, bargains abound.
Economical Ethnic Dining
Our only Himalayan restaurant recently opened a second location in Harrison, and offers an $11 lunch buffet Tuesday through Friday and the same prix-fixe “sets” you’ll find in Yorktown Heights—making it a delicious and affordable way to broaden your culinary horizons.
385 Halstead Ave, Harrison (914) 630-7921
34 Triangle Ctr, Yorktown Heights (914) 302-2886
You’ve come to this corner restaurant near The Capitol Theatre for pupusas—those soft Salvadoran corn cakes filled with cheese and loroco (a flower bud), cheese and beans, or pork ($1.75 to $2 each), with traditional shredded pickled cabbage and salsa on the side. But you’ll also find a $6.50 lunch buffet and a full menu, with choices like broiled sirloin steak with rice, beans, and salad for $13.95.
165 Westchester Ave, Port Chester (914) 935-0767
Relax over a delicious, nutritious bowl of homemade ramen noodles (pork, chicken, or vegetarian with miso, shoyu, or tom yum broth, $10). Or perhaps a ginger chicken rice bowl ($10), or steamed salmon with rice cake in bonito broth ($14.50). For dessert, try the pumpkin or chocolate mochi cake, which looks like pound cake but incorporates the glutinous consistency of mochi (an acquired taste for some).
1008 Main St, Peekskill (914) 930-1788
Super $6.50 Sandwiches
Fine dining can be overrated, especially with places like this around. Choose your roll: short ($6.50); long ($8.50); or flat ($7.50), which is also used for
pizza ($9). Choose your tender, flavorful, house-smoked, roasted, or grilled ingredient. Choose your topping combo out of a dozen, from mango salsa, jalapeños, cilantro, and red onions to a Melted Mac with special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions. But really, just try the corned beef Reuben.
277 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains (914) 358-1364
counter service with some seating
A traditional platter at Jewel of Himalaya
Taste of China; Jade Spoon; On’s Chinese Kitchen
Wish I had a nickel for everyone who’s recommended their favorite Chinese takeout. My favorite right now, Taste of China, isn’t the cheapest, but it makes dishes that are harder to find: simple, soothing congee (seven kinds, including an off-menu vegetarian version, $6.95-$7.95); vegetables such as choy sum, Chinese eggplant, and silky mustard greens with tofu, garlic, ginger, and scallions ($9.35); long Chinese crullers ($1.75); and salt baked squid ($13.95).
But it’s hard to beat the $6.75 lunch special at Jade Spoon Asian Cuisine (which turns into an $8.95 dinner special after 3 pm), especially when it includes some Japanese and Malaysian dishes…unless you’re On’s Chinese Kitchen, a 2012 Best of Westchester winner, which has what might be Westchester’s cheapest (yet still high-quality) lunch buffet: $3.95 small, $5.15 large, with more than 10 delicious choices.
Taste of China, 17 Main St, Tarrytown (914) 332-1625
Jade Spoon Asian Cuisine, 1473 Weaver St, Scarsdale (914) 723-2088
On’s Chinese Kitchen 475 Bedford Rd, Pleasantville
(914) 741-6277; counter service with some seating
Commuter’s Chicken Dinner
Nothin’ fancy, but this takeout near the train station offers a wide selection of good, inexpensive, cooked food: rotisserie chicken ($5.35/pound), chicken cutlets, soups, salads, and roasted veggies. Round out your meal with cornbread and fresh, tasty cranberry/walnut/apple compote ($5/pound), schlep it home on the final leg of your commute, and think, “Hmm—I got all that for how much?” when you see the receipt.
75 Garth Rd #2, Scarsdale (914) 725-6880
Farm-to-Kitchen Soup, Charitable Giving Included
This tiny alleyway storefront serves up soup Best-of-Westchester style, with 10 choices to sample, such as chicken with homemade stock and hand-pinched dumplings ($6.45 petite to $16.65 large)—with a portion of profits going to local charities. Stews, entrées, sandwiches, and salads are made daily, and, if you’re lucky, you’ll find a large, ribbon-tied bag of homemade kettle chips, which hook you with their delicate crunch and unexpected hint of sweetness ($2.50).
11B S Moger Ave, Mount Kisco (914) 242-9661
Ladle of Love: 10 soup varieties, starting at $6.45
The Israeli sandwich sabich—pita stuffed with fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, and Israeli salad, drizzled with tahini—is unusual in our area. Find it at an unlikely place, this lovely bakery whose owner is also a Middle Eastern chef. At $6.75, it’s substantial and delicious. Dessert: macaroons!
10 Fisher Ave, Tuckahoe (914) 346-8650
counter service with some seating
Classic Pizza, Pasta, and Wedges
Too bad the prices are nothing like the ones on their framed 1942 menu, but Johnny’s is still a good deal. Known for Neapolitan-style pizza with a thin, crisp crust ($12.75 small, $14 large), it also has a full Italian menu; I’m especially fond of the cold eggplant wedge with roasted red peppers, bocconcini, and house dressing ($8.50). If you’re a Yankees fan, you’ll appreciate the memorabilia on display; if you’re a fan of that other team, well…the food is really good.
30 W Lincoln Ave, Mount Vernon
(914) 668-1957; restaurant seating
Pizza, Panini, Arancini—and $2 Tall boy Tuesdays
If you want cheap, follow the students. This Iona College hangout boasts relatively inexpensive sandwiches ($6.50-$8) and pizza ($9 and up), but the best scores are the specialty slices ($2.08 and up), scrumptious house-made risotto balls with tomato sauce ($2.85), soup served with doughy rosemary breadsticks ($4), and $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon Tall Boy Tuesdays.
628 North Ave, New Rochelle (914) 654-8400
counter service with seating
Mexican Lunch Specials and Chicken Dinner for Two
Stop here for tortas ($6.50), black bean soup with chorizo ($5.50), and enchiladas ($7.50), with six kinds of homemade salsa. You can even get a rotisserie chicken dinner for two with salad, rice, and beans for $18.95. The lunch specials creep up on you—such as an unassuming but well-constructed vegetarian burrito with guacamole and sour cream inside, with a side of guacamole and chips ($7); by the time you get home, you might wish you’d gotten two.
345 S Riverside Ave, Croton-on-Hudson (914) 271-8646
takeout with minimal seating
Make an ordinary meal into something to tickle your taste buds at this doggery, where all three breeds are winners: regular, soy protein veggie (“No Dawgs Allowed”), and turkey. If you go old-school, you’re not really trying; with toppings like Everything Bagel Dawg (cream cheese, everything bagel spice, scallions; $3.50) and Sushi Dawg (ginger soy mayo, wasabi cream, seaweed salad, pickled ginger, sesame; $3.75), you can pretend you’re eating anywhere. Order the tater tots ($3).
25 Cedar St, Dobbs Ferry (914) 693-5555
469 Bedford Rd, Pleasantville (914) 769-3294
counter service with minimal seating
Frugal Fine Dining
Dining of this caliber is never truly cheap, but prix-fixe dinners can save you the sticker shock while you enjoy the same great food. Le Jardin Du Roi offers a $25 early-bird special with four entrées to choose from, including roasted sole topped with citrus-accented onions and tomatoes, served with zucchini and saffron rice. Le Provençal Bistro’s two-course dinner is $28.95 (normally about what you’d pay for a main course), with mussels, salmon, and steak. And at Bistro Rollin, enjoy a $33 three-course dinner with cinnamon crème brûlée, vanilla bread pudding, or buttermilk panna cotta for dessert.
Le Jardin du Roi, 95 King St, Chappaqua (914) 238-1368
Le Provençal, 436 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck (914) 777-2324
Bistro Rollin, 142 Fifth Ave, Pelham (914) 633-0780
Farm to Table
An elegant three-course meal is yours for $18 at this restaurant run by students from the School of Hospitality Management and the Culinary Arts at Monroe College. Contemporary American dishes are well prepared; ingredients are locally sourced when possible; and if you need to cut some slack for any glitches, don’t you always? Also, check out the student-run Pastry Kiosk for lunch and dessert Monday to Thursday from 11 am to 3 pm.
434 Main St, New Rochelle (914) 740-6421