by Elizabeth Schein
Hereís your dilemma: you live in Hudson Heights and youíre starving.† You donít want to spend another evening stuffing your face with sweet and sour pork or pizza, and youíd also rather not hop on the A train and schlep down to Midtown either. Well, this local Hudson Heights-er has got you covered! Whether itís Italian, Indian, Mexican or a quick breakfast fix, here are some of the best eateries between 181st and 187th† that wonít massacre your checking accounts.
Itís a safe bet to assume that most people love Italian food. But up until about eight months ago, the Hudson Heights area didnít boast a decent place to sink your teeth into a bowl of pasta and enjoy a glass of vino. †Luckily, that changed with the fortunate appearance of SAGGIO. Located on 181st street, this Italian eatery is charming, †affordable, and always busy for dinner. Pasta plates are between $8-$12, while the entrťeís range from $14-$16. There isnít an enormous selection, but amongst the crostinis, salads, and pasta dishes, one is sure to find something to appeal to oneís craving. On our last visit, my husband enjoyed the meat ragu with the parpadelle, while I found the rigatoni and tomato sauce hearty and satisfying. The gnocci wasnít too shabby either (donít think weíre gluttons . . . . .we picked at a friendís plate).
I love Indian food. And no matter how many different Indian restaurants Iíve frequented in the midtown area or in the west village, I always land up enjoying the food most at the place right around the block from me. KISMAT on the corner of 187th and Fort Washington Avenue is THE spot for good Indian eats. The kurma and biriyani are both flavorful, but my absolute favorite that I get almost every time (okay, EVERY time) is the lamb or chicken malai. What is malai you may ask? The meat of your choice is cooked with yogurt, bananas, pineapples and sweet and savory spices. I know it may sound odd to some of you, but itís the best thing on the menu! Soak up the leftover sauce with generous mounds of garlic naan and youíll be in food heaven. All the entrťes are between $9-$16. †The portions arenít huge, but itís worth it.
Being a Southern California gal, Iím rather partial to Mexican cuisine. Throw a fish taco or some carne asada fries my way and Iím a happy camper. Now, authentic Mexican is not †exactly spouting up on the pavements of New York City, but REFRIED BEANS on Fort Washington Avenue isnít a shabby substitute. On a warm summer evening, you can sit in the outside back area and munch on salsa and chips (they seem never-ending), and enjoy their numerous frozen flavored margaritas. The menu is diverse, and the restaurant is always full of happy diners. I personally recommend the shrimp quesadillas, while my husband always has the chicken mole.
Got twenty minutes before work or class, and youíre not really into grabbing another latte or dried up croissant from Starbucks? †Stop by 181 CABRINI- located just where the name of the locale suggests. For five dollars, you can get the TO GO SPECIAL. And you donít have to take it to go either. Sit by the counter or lounge in the back, and enjoy a medium coffee (I tend to go for the hazelnut) and your choice of whatever bagel (everything bagel for me please) with scrambled eggs and cheese. And for a few more dollars there are other breakfast options too, whether it is granola, fresh fruit and yogurt or a plate of french toast. Speaking of bagels - if you just want to grab a dozen or so - GIDEONíS on 187th is the place to go.
So stop looking already- go eat!