TODAY'S PAPER

Cheap new eats NYC: Clinton Hall, Randall's Barbecue and more

Clinton Hall is opening a fifth location in midtown this week, plus other cheap eating options in NYC. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Clinton Hall

Whether you're bored with all your favorite dining spots, looking for a new neighborhood standby or plotting to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the next big dining trend, the city will always meet your needs with new restaurants.

We know from experience it’s hard to keep track of them all — and sort out the affordable options from the splurge-y ones.

Here's our guide to recent openings by borough, bound to mix up your diet and expand your palate without maxing out your wallet.

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Manhattan

Clinton Hall

Randall's Barbecue is now open on the Lower East Side.

The beer hall with locations in Williamsburg, FiDi and the Bronx opens its fifth eatery Wednesday. This latest installments puts down roots in midtown on 36th Street.

The food: There are the over-the-top bar bites — a giant soft pretzel ($9), parmesan truffle fries ($10), Buffalo cauliflower ($10) — and an array of burgers — the CH classic ($12), the bacon, bacon, bacon ($15), turkey club burger ($14). Then there are your comfort dishes, such as doughnut grilled cheese with tomato soup ($15) and the fondue Pat LaFrieda burger ($15).

The drinks: Clinton Hall rotates its brew offerings, with up to 20 beers on the menu at all times. Well, it is a beer hall, after all. The pecan pie porter and the Octofest ales will get your taste buds in the fall spirit.

The vibe: Think: munching on an overflowing plate of fries while beating your friends at a game of giant Jenga or Connect Four. The spot is known for its casual dining experience, with seating both inside and out. This new location has a “spacious bar with flat-screen TVs adoring the walls,” so consider kicking back on an NFL Sunday.

The details: Bites and meals range between $8 and $16. The new midtown location will open at 16 W. 36th Street on Wednesday. Open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays, noon to 2 a.m. Saturdays and noon to midnight Sundays. More at Clintonhallny.com.

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Randall’s Barbecue 

Barbecue veteran Jared Male of Hill Country Barbecue is taking a community minded approach with his new spot Randall’s. Named after his late grandfather, shareable plates can come loaded with items such as ribs, slaw, buns and more.

The food: Male kept his grandfather’s favorites in mind when crafting the all-American menu, but it also follows another theme: New York classics. Those eats hoping to appeal to New Yorkers include the house-cured and smoked pastrami, Chinese-style five-spice smoked duck and classic buffalo wings. Main menu barbecue eats range from brisket to pulled pork, turkey and spiced duck. Sides such as French fries, corn bread, green beans, mac and cheese and baked beans give off a southern vibe.
The vibe: The wood-walled and brick interior is mirrored off Male’s grandparents’ home in Connecticut. You’ll be able to spot a few homey keepsakes from the ‘70s and family photos scattered around the bar. If you opt to dine in the sit-down restaurant, you’ll share a wooden table with your pals and sit on dark wooden chairs that, you guessed it, look like they’ve come from grandma’s house.
The details: Sides will run you $5 each (baked beans and mac and cheese are $6) and barbecue meats are served by the pound. Turkey is priced at $5, brisket at $7 and pork spare ribs at $9. 359 Grand St., randallsbarbecueny.com

Panorama Middle Eastern Grill 

If 2017 was all about poke, then 2018 is all about Middle Eastern bowls. Among a trend of fast-casual healthy eats — and build-your-own lunch options — comes Panorama Middle Eastern Grill in Union Square. The menu will appeal to trendy eaters and those trying to limit their meat intake; cauliflower substitutes are a must-try. 

The food: Everything’s available stuffable, from a box (like a bowl) to a pita and a pocket. Start by choosing your base, grains, lettuce or rice, mix in some toppings, like black olives, feta cheese or a chickpea mix, and top it all off with chicken or falafel. Aside from the cauliflower pita option, meal sides include Shawarma fries with garlic tahini sauce, a Doner burger, bread filled with pickled veggies and beef. 
The vibe: Bring a book or your laptop and kick back for a while. There’s enough seating at Panorama to last the afternoon and a relaxed vibe with neon mantras, like “love for others what you love for yourself,” on the walls. 
The details: The fill-your-own-box menu option runs the highest price tag at Panorama ($11), while the pita and pocket options are each $9. Toppings, proteins and sauces are included. Sides range from $7 to $9. 820 Broadway, pnanyc.com

Brooklyn

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RFTP

Williamsburg's newest rooftop bar and eatery keeps the focus on summer sips with a menu highlighting $14 "froze," rum punch and other specialty cocktails. But small bites, like meat and cheese plates, and unique eats, like literal garden veggie platters make it worth the stop. 

The food: Talk about healthy eating: RFTP offers a "Vegetable Garden" dish that comes with fresh raw vegetables served in a bucket of edible soil (made from quinoa and black olive powder) mixed with buttermilk ranch. Other healthy options include artichoke and hummus dips served with pita and chips, a meat and cheese board and select meat pies.
The drinks: Canned drinks start at $6, while red or white sangria go for $9. A wine list includes summer favorites, like rosé, Prosecco and sauvignon blanc, each $12 a glass. Summer cocktails dominate, with options like the RFTPunch (rum and citrus juice) and Brooklyn's Cooler (gin, lemonade, cucumber, mint and soda).
The vibe: The outdoor eatery is lined with booths to seat four, and greenery. An overhead awning covers the bar area for those cloudy days when a drink is a necessity. 
The details: Plates average $13; located above Pod Brooklyn Hotel at 247 Metropolitan Ave.; open 3 to 9 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, 3 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays, 3 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays, and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays.; more at thepodhotel.com.

Tacocina

Danny Meyer heads south of the border with his first taco stand. The laid-back counter-service joint offers grub and outdoor seating for folks checking out Williamsburg’s new waterfront park on the grounds of the historic Domino Sugar Refinery.

The food: The Tacocina team is pressing its own tortillas to order, so you can count on your taco being fresh. Get yours with a classic filling like chicken adobo or something a little more traditional, like shrimp with a chayote tartar sauce. An order of tortilla chips with salsa and/or guac is a good idea for big groups. The drinks: Cool down with a Mexican beer or a michelada. For nondrinkers, refreshments include Mexican sodas.
The vibe: Half the reason to visit is the view overlooking the East River. White picnic tables and colorful chairs and tables provide seating and red-and-white umbrellas offer shade on sunny days.
The details: Snacks average $6, tacos $4.25, alcoholic drinks $6; open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday at 25 River St. since late June; more at heytacocina.com

Millie’s Cuban Cafe

Brooklyn restaurateur Danny Teran’s five-month-old pop-up has a new brick-and-mortar home, serving up the same kind of eats as the Cuban food truck that launched his hospitality company in Manhattan years ago. Teran family recipes dominate the menu at this all-day cafe named after the owner’s mother.

The food: Highlights here include the Cubano sandwich (roasted pork, ham, Swiss and pickles with mustard, served on pressed Cuban bread with a side of shoestring potato sticks), the ropa vieja (braised shredded beef in a Creole tomato sauce) and the Impossible picadillo, made with the meat-substitute burger patties. For sides, it wouldn’t be a Cuban place without rice and beans, and all kinds of plantains. Wrap up your meal with an order of flan or tres leches.
The drinks: Go the authentic route and get yourself an espresso prepared with Cafe Bustelo. If you’re looking for something more refreshing, choose a can of Jupina, a Cuban pineapple soda.
The vibe: A palm tree and wicker chairs greet you at the door, sending you straight to the Caribbean. Inside, yellow walls set a sunny mood, as do the red metal chairs and old-school photos of Cuba.
The details: Main courses average $12, dessert $4, coffee drinks $3.50; open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 151 Wilson Ave. since late June; more at milliescubancafe.com