I have to give a shoutout to Beyoglu on 81st and 3rd. The manti special, lamb dumplings in a yogurt cream sauce was eye-rolling delicious. The lentil soup special had a great flavor too. The hummus was good and thick. And the grilled octopus was tasty, but to be honest, it was more like a ceviche and would have had a better texture if it had been freshly grilled.
Despite that minor criticism, the whole experience was great. The bill for those four mezes came to $26, and my wife and I left there full. Put those other UES stuffed-shirt, over-priced, under-flavored, so-called restaurants out of business. Or at the very least, challenge them to make better food for the money.
And if you know of any other affordable places in the UES with a relaxed atmosphere and good food, please let me know.
(I should also be fair to Tony's Di Napoli on 2nd and 80th, which is a little more expensive, but pleasant, delicious and worth it.)