Figuring out what to eat at New York’s grubcentric outdoor markets is no easy feat. Luckily, TONY rounded up this season’s food-vendor standouts, serving alfresco delights like hand-rolled couscous, addictive gingersnap cookies and brisket-stuffed sandwiches. Don’t forget your sunblock.
RECOMMENDED: Read more on the Brooklyn Flea Market
Baking Soda Shop
Kerry Sims and Christen Sturkie—front-desk hosts at Eleven Madison Park who bonded over their love of baking— joined forces for this Hester Street Fair stall. Sims, an Institute of Culinary Education grad, reworks classic butter crunch ($8), imbuing the candy with a deeper cocoa flavor via two coats of dark Peruvian chocolate, while Sturkie turns out irresistibly chewy ginger snaps ($10), lightly sweetened with Plantation blackstrap molasses. You can buy both items by the piece, but we found it hard to stop after just one. Hester Street Fair, Hester St at Essex St (bakingsodashop.com). Sat 10am–6pm.
The White Moustache
The yogurt craze has made its way to Smorgasburg, thanks to former attorney Homa Dashtaki and her restaurateur father. Dashtaki produces two old-world dairy delights: a thick Greek style and a looser Iranian variety. We loved the tart Greek custard garnished with a drizzle of fragrant orange-blossom honey and finely crushed walnuts ($6). Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (thewhitemoustache.com). Sat 10am–6pm.
Scharf & Zoyer
Kugel gets a handheld makeover at this new venture from attorney Noah Arenstein. Inspired by the potato pavé from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home, the self-taught cook has created a kugel double down: griddled slices of the Jewish egg-noodle casserole, slathered with sweet or savory spreads ($5). Opt for Scharf & Zoyer’s dessert rendition—two slices of “bread” stuffed with creamy maple-syrup-infused cheese and orange-and-apricot preserves. Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (follow on Twitter @scharfandzoyer). Sat 10am–6pm.
Following in the footsteps of Brooklyn Flea’s popular Moto, childhood friends and pizza obsessives Milo Mooser and Jamie West set up a wood-fired oven at the Hester Street Fair.The amateur dough-punchers fire kneaded-to-order rounds in a compact stone hearth for three minutes, producing a spotted, firm crust. Traditionalists can dig into the Margherita, but keep an eye out for creative specials—on a recent visit, we were smitten with the Sopressanti ($8), oozing mozzarella and piquant with spicy pepperoni and jalapeño honey. Hester Street Fair, Hester St at Essex St (ludlowpizzanyc.com). Sat 10am–6pm.
East River Bread
Former Per Se baker Melissa Weller lends a fine-dining touch to the classic New York bagel. She swaps out a traditional yeast starter for sourdough, giving these rounds—first boiled, then baked—a tangy flavor and stronger chew. Weller’s everything bagel ($2)—studded with sesame, poppy, fennel and caraway seeds—is delicious on its own, but we recommend getting the works: thin slices of peppery house-made lox and a swipe of scallion-chive cream cheese from Battenkill Valley dairy ($8). Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (eastriverbread.com). Sat 10am–6pm.
Weary of the instant couscous found in supermarkets, Ron and Leetal Arazi—a chef and a food photographer—took the flavors of their Middle Eastern heritage to Williamsburg. On Saturdays, find the husband-and-wife team stirring massive pots of fluffy hand-rolled semolina—the trick is to steam, not boil the grain—with hearty accompaniments such as short rib and spinach stewed in garlic, turmeric and green chilies ($9). Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (nyshuk.com). Sat 10am–6pm.
Chickpea & Olive
Danielle Ricciardi and Daniel Strong—who met at Dell’anima while serving and cooking, respectively—turn out vegan comfort food at their first solo venture. Using produce from the Union Square Greenmarket and Brooklyn Grange, the pair crafts market-driven sandwiches such as the Phatty Beet Slider ($6), a veggie-and-grains patty layered with baby Bibb lettuce and smear of habanero ketchup. A mushroom melt ($8)—two slices of Sullivan Street Bakery’s Pullman bread stuffed with gooey Daiya cheddar—gets a kick from Ricciardi’s peppery chipotle aioli. Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sat 10am–6pm. • Brooklyn Flea, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sun 10am–5pm. • chickpeaandolive.com
The home-cooked Italian-American tradition gets transplanted to the city’s outdoor markets. Get a ladle of the meat-filled sauce—San Marzano tomatoes simmered for six hours with beef, sausages and meatballs—on top of Garofolo macaroni or airy Grandaisy rolls ($8). The hearty stew is finished with a powdery grating of Parm and pecorino, from Di Palo’s in Little Italy. Madison Square Eats, Broadway at 23rd St. Daily 11am–9pm. • Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sat 10am–6pm. • Brooklyn Flea, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sun 10am–5pm. • sundaygravynyc.com
New York Cookery Chili and Jack’s Chedbred
Former lawyer Jack Sorock drew on his Midwest origins for this stand, hawking rich cornbread. Sorock toasts his version—made with cornmeal and oven-roasted kernels, buttermilk and aged Vermont cheddar—in a smoker until the moist cubes are warm and golden brown. In addition to the signature plain, there are flavors such as maple bacon and roasted jalapeño. David Burke Townhouse chef Jon Ellsaesser supplies the warm, spiced chili, loaded with North Carolina pulled pork, beans and chopped scallions (combo $8.50). Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (chedbred.com). Sat 10am–6pm.
Food and Drink Award–winning pitmaster Daniel Delaney (BrisketTown) made his Manhattan debut at the High Line in April, plugging his beloved smoked meats into picnic-friendly fare. Aptly named the Mess ($10), the Wet-nap–necessary sandwich showcases brisket-and-pork hash in buttered Amy’s Bread rolls with melted fontina cheese, lime-marinated onions and house-made chili sauce. Cool down your palate with a fizzy ginger tonic ($4) made with P&H Soda Co. syrup.
The Tuck Room - New York
This craft cocktail bar and restaurant in the Financial District is helmed by chef Sherry Yard, who has won not one, not two, but three James Beard Award throughout her career. But before we get to the food, why not order a drink? Cocktails include the Empire State of Mind Manhattan with rye, sweet vermouth, house-made maraschino cherries and chai bitters ($18) and the party-friendly Fulton House Punch with rhum agricole, cognac, apricot liqueur, banana liqueur, earl grey tea and fresh lemonade ($15 for a single, $55 for a pint bottle, $85 for a punch bowl). For dinner, you might want to start with the grilled avocado stuffed with shallot-avocado mousse, breadcrumbs, cojita cheese and finger lime pearls ($14) or the spicy-sweet pork belly wraps with nuoc cham caramel and fresno chile aioli ($18). Entrees include a brisket, short rib and chuck burger with bone marrow aioli and candied bacon ($24), crispy chicken schnitzel ($24) and hoisin-sesame glazed duck in a ginger-carrot bun ($28).
Venue says: “Tuck into a crave-able experience. Enjoy a one-of-a-kind event, with skillfully craft cocktails and exceptional contemporary plates.”