I eat more Chinese food than any other kind, but also Thai and sometimes Ukrainian, etc.
Low end (<$25): Xi’an Famous Foods, Great NY Noodletown, Noodle Village, Cheung Wong Kitchen (Allen and Hester) for soy sauce chicken, soy sauce duck and roast pork (nothing else there is nearly as good), Sheng Wang for a plate of steamed pork dumplings, Larb Ubol, Yakitori Taisho (especially late at night, as they’re open late - get yakitori, avoid most other things but don’t hesitate to get some sake), Ukrainian East Village, Joe’s Pizza.
If you’re nearby late at night, the taco truck on 3rd St. (maybe it’s 2nd St. - I’m not completely sure) near Av. A is also good and better than the other ones I’ve tried in the East Village, let alone the one I used to like on 96th St. between Broadway and West End. Oh, and by the way, on the Upper West Side, Jerusalem Restaurant no longer has very interesting falafel, but their shawarma is as good as ever and it’s one of the better values in the area. El Malecon serves very good chicken, though the white meat can be dry, and Flor de Mayo is still going strong - try some of their Peruvian items, in addition to their pollo a la brasa. They’re also open late for the neighborhood. I’ll post some mid-range recommendations later.
[More editing:] Oh, I left out Taim, especially for the sabich, and Cafe Katja.
I’ve also been to Nish Nush 3 times now. The first 2 times, their falafel was great and I really enjoyed the triple falafel platter. The 3rd time, the saltiness and heaviness of the hummus bothered me. I don’t know if the food changed or if I had for some reason become more critical, but that falafel, at any rate, is great and well worth trying. And I want to try their sabich next time.
[Edit: By the way, Chowhound member Lau, author of the Lauhound website, is great with these kinds of recommendations.]