Releasing on October 7th (but already available for pre-order on Amazon) will be the new guidebook, New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants written by Untapped Cities founder Michelle Young and the site’s contributing editor Laura Itzkowitz. As an update to our popular NYC Hidden Restaurants guide on Untapped Cities from 2014, below is our guide for 2015 with descriptions excerpted from the upcoming book.
Upon reviewing the 2015 list, you may wonder where some of the classic hidden restaurants are–Kuma Inn, La Esquina, the ski chalet behind Cafe Select–just to name a few. As they have been featured in our previous list, we’ve aimed for a wider range of dining types here, from cafes to lunch counters to a referral-only restaurant. This list will get you beyond the trendy to some of the more unique hidden restaurants in New York City.
On the northern edge of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, a large Hare Krishna temple stands as an anomaly, surrounded by dollar pizza joints and public welfare offices. Judging by the outside, you would never know that there’s a vegetarian lunch canteen inside—a neighborhood spot unspoiled by guidebooks, most of which wouldn’t be interested in such a modest, unglamorous place anyway. But for Hindu devotees, neighborhood residents, and office workers, Govinda’s is a convenient spot to get a cheap, healthy, and delicious vegetarian lunch in keeping with the Hare Krishna principles of nonviolence and service to god (Krishna) through vegetarianism.
Step inside and head down the stairs to the basement, where large round tables and folding chairs sit atop a clashing red and green linoleum floor. A small buffet station is set up at one end of the room, opposite a painting depicting the Hindu gods. The décor is clearly not a priority, but that’s not why you’re here. You’re here for the homemade samosas, roasted zucchini, tofu, and quinoa salad. The menu changes daily, and the cooks only serve fresh vegetarian food—both Indian and continental. A plate with your choice of three buffet items will leave you full for $6, and the proceeds support the temple.
Located at 305 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn.