Urbanspace Garment District Broadway from 40th to 41st Street
Monday through Saturday until June 24; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Chicago-style deep dish specialists Emmett’s and Black Iron Burger highlight seasonal offerings at this outdoor market, which begins its Broadway run today. Additional stands will feature paella, tamales, and Turkish pastries. Urbanspace Garment District is closed on Sundays.
Ice Cream: How to Make Your Own & History The Brainery (190 Underhill Avenue, Brooklyn)
Monday, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m./6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Gastronomist Sarah Lohman demonstrates the easiest way to make ice cream at home, with plenty of time allotted for a lesson on the history of ice cream in America, too. Lohman will also cover the proper way to make sorbets and other frozen goodies, with ice cream samples to reward attentive students. Tickets are $25 for each session. Reserve yours here.
Norwegian Constitution Day The Norwegian Seamen’s Church, New York (317 East 52nd Street)
Tuesday, 1 p.m.
Celebrate Norwegian heritage with a family friendly traditional buffet lunch. The event includes a concert by Norwegian performer Marit Larsen, with a children’s parade to follow. The buffet includes salmon, shrimp, cakes, and prosecco. Tickets are $75 per person. Reserve them here.
Grab a complimentary Cambodian-style sandwich and Tiger Beer while picking up a few new recipes. Ben Daitz and Ratha Chaupoly, co-founders of Num Pang Sandwich Shop, will join writer Raquel Pelzel to sign copies of their newly released cookbook, which will be available for purchase. A limited selection of the sandwiches featured in the book will be available, too.
The Clumsies’ Bar Pop-Up Mace (649 East 9th Street)
Wednesday, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Bartender Dimitris Dafopoulos of Athens’ the Clumsies will be pouring a selection of specialty cocktails for one night only. Dafopoulos, who specializes in mixing science with traditional recipes, is using ingredients like pandan-leaf soda and edible mint toothpaste for the pop-up menu. All four featured cocktails will be $14.
Tracing North Brooklyn’s Polish Food Heritage MOFAD (62 Bayard Street, Brooklyn)
Thursday, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Explore the rich history of Polish communities at this panel discussion, which includes urban anthropologist Filip Stabrowski and Greenpoint’s Busy Bee Food Exchange owner Andrew Konopka. The discussion will spotlight the Polish communities of Northern Williamsburg and Greenpoint (and how recent changes have affected the neighborhoods’ longtime Polish businesses) as well as Polish food practices — like home pickling. Several neighborhood restaurants will serve samples at the event. Tickets are $16 for general admission. RSVP here.
In NYC, brunch offers a perfect opportunity to sample the city’s veritable smorgasbord — you can find everything from roving booze carts to D.I.Y. gourmet breakfast sandwiches to Mediterranean spreads of seasonal small plates. Here are our favorite places to indulge:
10. Mission Chinese Food (171 East Broadway, 212-432-0300)
Last year around Christmastime, Danny Bowien and executive chef Angela Dimayuga’s Mission Chinese Food crew debuted a playful take on dim sum brunch, complete with carts. The only catch is that you’re more likely to find tartare-topped congee and bagels smeared with chicken liver than crystal shrimp dumplings. If he’s around, Bowien himself may serve you bowls of sinigang, a Filipino soup soured with tamarind or wobbly rice rolls stuffed with smoked eel and sprinkled with cornflakes. He works the room harder than his waitstaff, whose indifferent attitude feels identical to what you’d get in Flushing, Sunset Park, or Mott Street. Barring the mimosa bottle service, the check’s nearly on par with Chinatown, too.
9. Mekelburg’s (293 Grand Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-399-2337)
Every day of the week at Alicia and Daniel Mekelburg’s subterranean grocery and pub, the couple transforms the shop’s soft, dense babka into luxurious French toast. The brief menu also features smoked salmon and whitefish toasts, as well as a “Mek-muffin,” which puts the golden arches to shame with a crème-fraîche-and-chive frittata covered in melted cheddar, slab bacon, wilted arugula, and Malaysian hot sauce. The signature breakfast sandwich clocks in at $10, but a naked frittata on Mazzola Bakery brioche is just $3.75, with toppings like serrano ham or broccoli rabe available for about $2 each.
8. Glasserie (95 Commercial Street, Brooklyn; 718-389-0640)
In addition to brunch fare like lamb phyllo pies and ricotta-smeared grilled bread with stewed fruit, Glasserie’s Israeli chef Eldad Shem Tov offers a meze deal that comfortably feeds two. The $19 feast includes ten small tastes (bowls of yogurt, hummus, and seasonal vegetables) to pair with grilled flatbread. For $25, the kitchen throws in a choice of entree — think poached egg shakshuka, house-cured sardines, or more flatbread (this time with lamb and charred vegetables). Sure, the restaurant’s a bit remote, but that’s part of what makes it such a gem.
7. Delaware and Hudson (135 North 5th Street, Brooklyn; 718-218-8191)
Patti Jackson satisfies all your Mid-Atlantic desires at this charming and relaxed Williamsburg retreat known for its killer beer list. Scrapple, a Pennsylvanian pork-scrap treat, is made in-house. The kitchen serves the hash in thick golden-brown slabs with eggs any style. And Jackson forgoes fried fowl for crisp and airy waffles ladled with luscious chicken stewed in gravy. She’s even gotten into the breakfast sandwich game with “the Moose,” a mess of cheese, bacon, mushrooms, onions, and creamy special sauce on a hard roll — skin-on potato chips and seasonal pickles included.
6. Joe and Misses Doe (45 East First Street, 212-780-0262)
Opinionated restaurateurs Jill and Joe Dobias slay the weekend daytime meal Beyoncé-style at their stalwart East Village shoebox of a restaurant. Joe lets loose with inventive brunch riffs (BBQ chicken Benedict) and some seriously fierce biscuits. Enjoy them on their own, or split in half for a hot chicken sandwich that’s just begging for Queen B’s handbag hot sauce. Jill is a big fan of encouraging folks to have “sexy time” with her cheeky sidewalk chalkboard signage, and serves quirky goblet drinks, like a Michelada for two, perfectly attuned to the meal’s bacchanalian tendencies.
5. Barney Greengrass (541 Amsterdam Avenue, 212-724-4707)
New York’s oldest surviving appetizing shop and restaurant, Barney Greengrass has served the Upper West Side since 1908. You can sit in the timeworn beige dining room eating lox and eggs while the wait staff banters, grabbing cans of Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda or your pick from the cold case. These days, third-generation owner Gary Greengrass oversees the action. The outfit also offers pastries, cheeses, matzo ball soup, blintzes, and other Jewish comfort dishes. But undoubtedly, the “sturgeon king” deserves his crown: the flaky, thick slices of pink-hued fish are subtly smoky, with remarkable unctuousness and a firm, meaty chew.
4. High Street on Hudson (637 Hudson Street, 917-388-3944)
Eli Kulp and Ellen Yin’s breezy spinoff of Philadelphia’s High Street on Market rouses weekend customers with provocative pastries (hello, Benton’s ham danish with coffee gravy), cured fish presentations, and bold breakfast sandwiches layered with everything from pastrami and bologna to seared king oyster mushrooms. Kulp even delivers a biscuit-bound homage to NYC’s bacon, egg, and cheese with a malted breakfast sausage patty and aged cheddar. That same sausage anchors a full breakfast involving spicy coppa, potatoes, eggs, and rapini, and the chef balances his meatier offerings with lighter plates like ginger yogurt and oatmeal. The breakfast menu is available until 3:30 p.m., but the kitchen begins offering lunch items starting at 11:30 a.m., so time your arrival accordingly. You don’t want to miss the salads, vegetable sides, and mouthwatering sandwiches like roast pork with fermented broccoli rabe, and a duck meatball sub that tempers sweet marinara with earthy duck liver. Lunch desserts are also available.
3. M. Wells Steakhouse (43-15 Crescent Street, Queens; 718-786-9060)
Chef Hugue Dufour and his wife, Sarah Obraitis, the trout-farming owners of this charming, offbeat steakhouse built inside a former auto-body shop, added brunch early last year. Dufour, long known for his unconventional creativity in the kitchen, turns the indulgent weekend meal on its head. The menu changes frequently, but seared foie gras plunked into a bowl of creamy oats is a mainstay, and depending on the season you might encounter jacked-up avocado toast drizzled with sea urchin vinaigrette, or an inverted and stately frittata with explosive pockets of kimchi and blood sausage, the eggs stained a Seussian purple thanks to Okinawan sweet potatoes. There’s also kimchi in the Bloody Mary, which comes garnished with a cocktail onion and top neck clam.
2. Lakruwana (668 Bay Street, Staten Island; 347-857-6619)
Wife-and-husband team Jayantha and Lakruwana Wijesinghe first opened their Sri Lankan restaurant, Lakruwana, in a midtown office building, surreptitiously. Then they went legit and moved to Staten Island, joining some 5,000 other Sri Lankan expats, the largest community of its kind in the U.S. At their stately restaurant, lovingly decorated with Buddha statues and gilded wall etchings, the Wijesinghes serve a $13.95 all-day, all-you-can-eat buffet on Saturdays and Sundays with more showmanship than anything Vegas has to offer. Dozens of dishes — many of them Jayantha’s family recipes — line the wall, bubbling away in clay pots of all shapes, sizes, and patterns. They hold heady fruit and vegetable curries (pineapple and cassava among them) and heftier dishes like chestnut-brown “black curry” pork. There’s enough variety here to encourage multiple trips, with a truly vast number of flavor and texture profiles on display. Even the condiments, often overlooked on a buffet, take star turns here — add the coconut and onion sambals to everything.
1. Rebelle (218 Bowery, 917-639-3880)
Taking a cue from its name, Daniel Eddy, Patrick Cappiello, and Branden McRill’s sleek French bistro initially eschewed the weekend meal altogether, advertising “weekend lunch” instead. They’ve since surrendered, though Rebelle’s brunch offerings feature several star players from their dinner menu: fluke crudo laced with brown butter, capers, and lemon; beef tartare with snappy sunchokes and bracing horseradish, and a superlative plank of roast chicken and sorrel leaves, which gets a lift from lemon preserves. There’s no French toast to be found, but devoted brunchers will appreciate the eggs Eddy fries and stuffs between brioche halves, producing messy, $16 breakfast sandwiches stacked with a gonzo combination of house-made duck sausage, Swiss chard, and Comté. The chef also drops a soft-poached egg into shallow bowls of deftly cooked lobster and cabbage (prepared eggless at dinner), and goes the sunny-side-up route for shareable plates of hanger steak with potatoes and bordelaise sauce. Adding to the daytime excess, Rebelle employs a cocktail cart for tableside Bloody Marys, Caesars, and Bulls. Choose your tomato mix, booze (vodka, gin, or mezcal), and a pickle from the Pickle Guys, like green bean and brussels sprout, which the roving mixologist will skewer and set over your drink with fanfare.
Eli Kulp, Ellen Yin, and their NYC crew just launched their dinner menu at High Street on Hudson (637 Hudson Street, 917-388-3944), thus completing the West Village location’s metamorphosis into a proper all-day dining sibling to their popular restaurant in Philly, High Street on Market. Kulp and Yin worked on perfecting daytime service to help them get into a groove, and for just over a month, New Yorkers have been able to sample Kulp’s breakfast and lunch offerings, as well as pastries like kabocha squash cake and chocolate brioche, from Sullivan Street Bakery alum Alex Bois.
With the arrival of BEC last year, NYC may have reached a peak in the breakfast-sandwich category, but High Street’s four options ($12–$13) are serious contenders, including bold ingredients like horseradish cheddar and Russian dressing. There’s even a vegetarian egg sandwich stuffed with seared king oyster mushrooms, slicked with black trumpet mayonnaise. Other morning items include oatmeal topped with crunchy oat crumble, beet-cured salmon, and a toast sampler. A “Meatpacker” breakfast — with broccoli rabe, spicy coppa ham, and a malted breakfast sausage — is $16, making it the priciest item on the menu for the most important meal of the day.
During a recent weekday lunch, Kulp was in the house chatting with diners (many of whom greeted him warmly) and conferring with his staff. With a not-too-crowded dining room, service was quick and genial.
High Street endeavors to be produce-driven, and there are plenty of vegetable small plates (Sicilian cauliflower, pumpkin soup with pickled squash). A trio of vegetarian salads ($13–$15) might cause an uproar with the Niçoise crowd, whether it’s the plump cider cranberries in a farro salad or the bittersweet combination of radicchio and “blistered” grapes that prop up a broccoli-based one. We couldn’t stop digging into the kitchen’s cold-weather panzanella, with squash, kale, yogurt, apples, and croutons doused in vinaigrette.
Sandwiches ($12–$18) arrive on wooden serving boards next to long, tender pickled chiles. Most of them are imports from High Street on Market, though our eggplant sandwich layered charred eggplant tahini with fresh cloumage cheese, while our compatriots down south enjoy theirs with smoked tomato sauce and smoked Amish cheddar.
The fact is, geography makes no difference when you have a couple of duck meatballs staring you down, especially when they’re slicked with duck liver and onions and covered in melted Swiss, which works bewitchingly with a ladle of spicy marinara. And Kulp’s take on that other famous Philly sandwich folds together lushly spiced roast pork slices with provolone, topped with zippy fermented broccoli rabe mash.
If you have time to while away the afternoon, lunch desserts ($5–$6) are worth lingering over, although the options are less ambitious than the dinnertime selection. Tahini mousse intermingles with cinnamon milk jam, and an affogato banks on soft scoops of nutty caraway-rye ice cream, served with smoked malt graham crackers.
It started off as an evening like any other. Eli Kulp, chef/owner of High Street on Market in Philadelphia, texted his wife, Marisa, shortly before he boarded Amtrak train no. 188. At 9:23 p.m., taking a curve at least 50 mph faster than it should have, the train derailed, killing eight people and injuring two hundred more. Kulp was paralyzed from the chest down. “Everyone was in shock,” his business partner, Ellen Yin, tells the Voice, her shoulders straightening and body tensing as she recalls hearing the news.
At the time of the accident last May, the pair were already deep into expanding their company, High Street Hospitality Group, outside of Philadelphia’s borders with its first NYC outpost, High Street on Hudson (637 Hudson Street; 917-388-3944), which opened yesterday. “There was no turning back,” says Yin. “His team is so dedicated, everyone has stepped up.”
Yin first met Kulp, a veteran of top NYC concepts Torrisi Italian Specialties, Del Posto, Casa Lever, and La Fonda del Sol, back in 2012 through a mutual friend. She was looking to revamp her American bistro, Fork, which had opened in 1997. The place was representative of the industry’s decadent heyday; the ornate dining room managed to make it through 9-11 and the Great Recession but had acquired a reputation as more of a special-occasions place. “People would walk by and say, ‘That’s a really great restaurant’ but they wouldn’t come in,” Yin says. She knew she had to do something, and finding the right person was key. When she first spoke to Kulp on the phone, Yin says she “knew he wasn’t like everyone else. I was like, who’s interviewing who here?”
The restaurant was completely overhauled. Aside from the signature chandeliers, the décor changed completely. Vibrant murals went up on the walls. The white tablecloths — gone. The indulgent fare was swapped out for Kulp’s hyperlocal contemporary American menu. It took a while for regulars to warm up to the changes, but the updates were lauded by the critics.
From that first conversation, Yin knew she and Kulp shared a common vision: that to remain relevant, they’d have to recruit the best and the brightest, the most forward-thinking people. When chef Jon Nodler and pastry chef Samantha Kincaid came in to dine one night, ordering a rare bottle of wine, Yin knew they were in the industry. She thought, “Those people look like our type.” She and Kulp struck up a conversation with the couple, hiring them two months later. In 2014, Fork was the only restaurant in the country to boast both Food & Wine‘s“Best New Chef” (for Kulp) and “Best New Pastry Chef” (Kincaid) distinctions.
Their next project, High Street on Market, an ingredient-driven, all-day dining concept, opened its doors in the fall of 2013, converting the space formerly occupied by Yin’s casual sister restaurant Fork Etc. The team started off with breakfast and lunch, offering an array of sandwiches and creative pastries. Equipped with an industrial bread oven, they began making things on the premises.
When Sullivan Street Bakery alum Alex Bois came aboard, he helped the team to evolve the concept. The breads and baked goods, made from locally milled flour and grains, are now an integral part of the concept. Those products helped make High Street on Market Bon Appétit’s no. 2 “Best New Restaurant” for 2014; Bois, for his part, was a James Beard Award finalist for “Rising Star Chef 2015.”
Breakfast and lunch were filling a gap. The end goal, though, was to draw more of a dinner crowd. And while evening service may have taken some time to catch on, its U.S.-centric natural wine list and pasta-forward menu incorporating local grains started to garner national attention. With dishes like “Angry Crab” spaghetti with Old Bay and charred scallion; toasted grain pacchieri with duck ragù, black trumpets, and hazelnut; and sourdough ravioli with smoked brook trout, whipped potato, and poppyseed, High Street secured a place on Travel + Leisure’s 2015 “Best New Restaurants in the World.”
The place was such a hit that a year after opening High Street, Yin and Kulp took over operations at a.kitchen + a.bar at the AKA Rittenhouse Square, two additional beloved hyperlocal Philly spots. There, Nodler was named a James Beard “Rising Star of the Year” semi-finalist for 2015. With now four successful concepts under their belts, Yin and Kulp started thinking about where to go next. They weren’t sure Philadelphia could handle another High Street. They began considering New York after a friend suggested it. “It’s always been Eli’s dream to have a restaurant in Manhattan,” says Yin. They started planning around this time last year.
High Street on Hudson is highly similar to its Philly sibling. Dinner service is set to begin sometime in January, but for now many old favorites are on the menu, such as pastrami on rye (cabbage slaw, Russian dressing, and Gulden’s mustard; $18), grilled broccoli salad (radicchio, spiced marcona almonds, and blistered grapes), and the Red Eye danish ($4.50), a breakfast pastry with Benton’s ham and savory coffee “gravy” (the latter was featured on the March cover of Saveur).Another media hit on the menu: the Hickory Town ($12), named by Epicurious as the “Ultimate Egg Sandwich,” with Lancaster bologna, gherkin mayo, crispy onions, and horseradish cheddar. There are some NYC-specific creations, like the Bodega ($13) — malted breakfast sausage, egg, and aged cheddar on a sage/black-pepper biscuit. An eggplant cutlet sandwich ($12) with charred eggplant tahini, Cloumage cheese, and pickled cabbage is another new dish.
Yin and Kulp’s team have moved up to New York while Kulp continues to recover from the accident. Nodler is now culinary director for the group and Taylor Naples has become chef de cuisine (most recently, Naples held the same position at Tom Colicchio’s Craft NYC). Reynard and Wythe Hotel beverage director Kirk Sutherland made the switch over to Hudson. General manager Julie Gray of Soho’s Uncle Boons now oversees the NYC location’s front-of-house. Yin stresses that everyone on the team rose to the occasion: “It’s a tribute to Eli that he has inspired so many people to do a great job for him.”
New York is chock-full of fancy restaurants with wallet-busting menus. But if you go at lunchtime, you can often get yourself a real deal.
The lunch tasting menu at Bouley (163 Duane Street; 212-964-2525) is abundant and totally worth it at $55 for five courses (and it comes with plenty of amusing extras to make you feel extra-posh). Start with a smoked salmon blini, maybe move onward to the Chatham sea bass with peas and fava beans, then a melt-in-the-mouth Kobe-style beef cheek with pillowy blue-kale gnocchi, strawberries with almond ice cream, and a chocolate soufflé.
Uptown (get your jackets on, gentlemen), head over to Jean-Georges (1 Central Park West; 212-299-3900), where a very special lunch can be yours for $48 for two courses (or three for $72). To put this in context, the same plates at dinner are $128 for three courses. Enjoy peekytoe crab risotto, foie gras brûlée, or sautéed veal scallopini with Flying Pig ham, mushrooms, and lavender.
If Italian abundance is more your style, check out the $49 four-course tasting menu at Babbo (110 Waverly Place; 212-777-0303), currently featuring baby artichokes and grilled heritage pork loin. Or reserve a table at Del Posto (85 Tenth Avenue; 212-497-8090) and indulge in a $49 four-course lunch that’s full of tempting choices: pork and veal agnolotti, or halibut with Moroccan spices and toasted almonds. Decisions, decisions. Don’t miss the pecorino romano cake with honey and preserved cherries.
For $47, you can head to Marea (240 Central Park South; 212-582-5100) for a two-Michelin-star lunch (two courses). How about Pacific jack mackerel, prosciutto, celery, and tomato, followed by tagliata featuring Creekstone Farm sirloin, bone marrow panzanella, and braised romaine? Or push the boat out all the way and sample the five-course seafood tasting menu, which is $80 ($140 with wine).
Summer Restaurant Week, multiple locations, Monday through August 14
Take advantage of affordable outdoor dining during the summer session of NYC Restaurant Week. Recently opened options for three-course $25 lunches and $38 dinners include Chefs Club by Food & Wine, while The Library at the Public and Saul at the Brooklyn Museum provide easy access for entertainment after the meal. A full lineup of participating restaurants and reservation options can be viewed here.
Strong Island Dinner, All’onda, 22 East 13th Street, Monday, 5:30 p.m.
Long Island natives Marc Forgione and Chris Jaeckle team together to shine a spotlight on local ingredients. The duo collaborated on a six-course menu, with dishes including oysters, swordfish crudo, duck breast, and a dessert featuring Long Island iced tea–flavored ice cream. The restaurant will also feature a selection of music curated by fashion designer Timo Weiland and Alan Eckstein to enjoy during service, which means this is a great opportunity to make a bold statement with your outfit for the evening. Reservations are $85 (sales tax, gratuity, and beverages are not included) and can be made by contacting the restaurant directly or online.
Free Waffles and Rare Beer, Clinton Hall, 90 Washington Street, Tuesday, 6 to 11 p.m.
If you missed your chance to party like a Belgian this weekend, the real Belgian Independence Day is being celebrated on Tuesday with free waffles and rare beers from Brewery Ommegang. The Wafels & Dinges truck is giving away 200 free waffles to customers who purchase a beer, with the brewery offering a special independence day brew that some say tastes like tangerine. Ommegang makes one beer for the Belgian holiday each year, available only this week, with brews like the cherry-blended Liefman Cuvee Brut disappearing quicker than a Snapchat. The beer hall also offers non-traditional Belgian games like beer pong and Jenga, with a full food and drink menu available for purchase.
Check out a Brooklyn-based rooftop winery while chowing down on roasted pig courtesy of Smoak BBQ. For $35, guests receive one drink from the winery’s first vintage as well as all-you-can-eat pig sliders with sides, with additional whiskey cocktails available for purchase. The rooftop also plans to host happy hours — including one where you can reserve a hammock — as well as tours and pop-up dining events. Reserve a ticket with a sunset view here.
New Happy Hour, Leyenda, 221 Smith Street, Brooklyn, Friday, 5 to 7 p.m.
Instead of sitting in beach traffic, end the weekday on a backyard patio at a new happy hour with cocktails from Julie Reiner and Ivy Mix. Specials include discounted select drinks ($5–$6), beer ($3–$4), and wine ($5). Groups can also take advantage of pitchers of sangria ($28) and spirit flights. As Friday is also National Tequila Day, the bar will be featuring 28 varieties in addition to piscos, mezcals, and other spirits.
Fries, cheese curds, and gravy may be the equivalent of Christmas in July to traditionalists, but that isn’t stopping Mile End co-owner Joel Tietolman from delivering presents. The Montreal-inspired delicatessen with Jewish roots is in the thick of poutine week, running from July 13 to 19, and will be extending the festivities via a weekly rotating guest chef menu from July 20 to August 16. The specialty poutines are available during brunch, lunch, and dinner for $18 each at both Mile End locations.
“In Montreal, there are restaurants that just serve different kinds of poutine,” Tietolman tells the Voice. “However, one big benefit of working with guest chefs to create a signature meal is that it allows for some one-of-a-kind creations. Dale Talde suggested a lobster tom yum poutine. We’re going to have lobster in a Jewish deli.” He smiles. “That doesn’t usually happen.”
Additional dishes include Andy Ricker’s (Pok Pok) sweet potato, fish sauce gravy, and fried-scallion topping, Hugue Dufour’s (M. Wells) classic Italienne meat sauce, and Billy Durney’s (Hometown BBQ) jalapeno-cheddar sausage gravy with pimento cheese. The deli is also running a contest following the end of its guest chef series where creative types can submit an original recipe, with the winning entrant nabbing a spot on the deli’s menu.
Scroll through the photos below to find the poutine that’s right for you, before they disappear:
NYC Cocktail Week, Multiple Locations, Monday through Friday If you’re in search of a new favorite drink (or a new favorite neighborhood), consider a citywide deal that gets you $4 cocktails and appetizers all week long. For $30, guests receive access to specials at bars including The Wayland; offering fried oysters and a San Fran Spout specialty cocktail and Sweetwater Social for a special twist on a whiskey smash. Participating bars and restaurants are focused in the East and West Village area as well as Midtown East; check out a full line up of offers and ticket pick up options here.
National French Fry Day, Bareburger Columbus Circle, 313 West 57th Street, Monday, 11 a.m.
If you’re going to eat fries and feel guilty about doing so, they may as well be cost efficient. For those craving a deal, diners who purchase any menu item receive a free side of fries. The vegan, gluten-free fries can be paired with any burger, salad, or sandwich listed on the menu.
Gold Cup Viewing Parties, Salon Hecho, 356 Bowery, Tuesday, 5 p.m.
Starting this week, soccer fanatics — especially fans of Mexico — can view Gold Cup games (games runs July 7 – July 26) while enjoying a $10 tournament mezcal and beer special. The dining room offers a happy hour from 5 pm to 7 pm (extended until 8 pm at the bar) with $5 beer and $6 glasses of wine, as well as specials on food. To eat, Danny Mena’s menu is full of casual Mexican fare like corn tostadas, short rib and cheese tacos, and queso fundido.
Harlem Helps: A Benefit for the Families of Mother Emanuel AME Church, Ginny’s Supper Club, 310 Lenox Avenue, Wednesday, 12 p.m.
Marcus Samuelsson and several Charleston-area chefs and friends are helping the families of Mother Emanuel AME Church with a food focused fundraiser. A $30 minimum donation provides a buffet lunch full of Southern specials inspired by the Harlem chef and friends like pork shoulder, watermelon and tomato salad, and catfish. For the seated dinner beginning at 8 p.m., a $75 donation offers a menu of she-crab salad biscuit, fried green tomatoes, crispy oysters, and wreckfish. Reserve your ticket package of choice here.
61 Franklin Street Summer Cocktail Fundraiser, 61 Franklin Street Garden, Brooklyn, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
Spend a summer night in a Greenpoint garden with cocktails, food, and live music. For $20, guests receive two cocktails, food, and a raffle ticket to win prizes from local neighborhood businesses. All of the proceeds will go towards the garden’s upkeep efforts; secure a reservation here.
It’s hard to think of a New York restaurant that has so purposefully put itself through more alterations than Momofuku Ssam Bar (207 Second Avenue, 212-254-3500). Launched as a Korean burrito joint in 2006, David Chang ditched the fast casual concept a year later in favor of a more freeform, dressed-down approach to fine dining. Before Team Momo fermented trouble out in Brooklyn at the Momofuku Culinary Lab, Ssam Bar’s kitchen was long the place for experimentation. Now, for the first time in over six years, Chang and Momofuku Ssam Bar executive chef Matthew Rudofker (who’s been with the restaurant group since 2010) have released a new and improved ssam into the wild. (And by the way, “the word ‘ssam’ just means something that’s wrapped,” says the chef.)
“It’s always something that we’ve thought about because that’s how this restaurant started,” says Rudofker. “We put one — a bulgogi lamb ssam — on the lunch menu, then after an afternoon of gorging ourselves on wraps, we said, ‘You know what? Let’s just make a bunch of them.'”
Gone are the flour tortillas which would wilt, soaked through with liquid pork fat. Their replacements are chive pancakes (rolled out by hand each morning), which still come as an accompaniment to the rotisserie duck lunch that’s been a fixture of the restaurant since 2011. Rudofker prefers the chive pancake because “they’re really flaky and have a lot more depth of flavor than your average flour tortilla. Then we asked ourselves, ‘How can we construct the ssam to be more durable and better?’ So now we line them with bibb lettuce to help them keep their structure.”
As an homage to the wrap that started it all, the kitchen serves an “o.g. momofuku ssam,” which, like its 2006 counterpart, is founded on the same fat-capped pork shoulder that would become the basis for Ssam Bar 2.0’s signature bo ssam feasts that have since expanded to include whole rotisserie ducks and aged ribeye steaks. The throwback recipe also features kimchi and a slick of hoisin sauce, but if the beans taste different, it’s because they are. “The beans became a big focal point of it,” says Rudofker. “We started thinking about a lot of ingredients that we use in the restaurant, and one that has so much flavor is fermented black beans. Before, we were just using regular boiled adzuki beans in the ssams, which are mild on their own, so when we started experimenting, we tried making ssams with just fermented black beans, but the flavor was so intense that it overpowered everything else. Now we’ve found a balance.”
The o.g. ssam is an absolute jog down memory lane for those who enjoyed them the first time around, but once Chang and Rudofker got started, they couldn’t help but flesh out the ssam offerings into their own section on the lunch menu. Joining the pork are seven spice lamb and rotisserie chicken. The duck over rice (served with lettuce and scallion pancakes for wrapping) is listed under the ssam section now, too. There’s also a rotating daily rotisserie selection, which has featured a long list of proteins including short rib, brisket, tongue, pork neck, pork country ribs, pork belly, lamb chuck, lamb shoulder, lamb leg, lamb neck, and veal breast. “We have this amazing piece of machinery over here, and it’s been a great experiment to just really try and cook as many delicious and tasty meats off of it as we can,” says Rudofker.
While it’s nice having the o.g. back in our lives, it’s the seven spice lamb ssam that left the most memorable impression, in part due to the slightly chewy roasted rice which Rudofker uses to pad the beast. The grains add a textural dimension to the sandwich that’s missing from both the pork and the chicken (which comes with ginger-scallion sauce, bean sprouts, and shiitake mushrooms), and together with matchsticks of daikon radish, the spicy Korean chili condiment called gochujang, and a toss of torn Thai basil leaves, the result is similar to a multi-layered roti, with sweet, savory and herbal notes cut by a low hum of chili pepper heat.
At the beginning of the year, Chang tweeted about the possibility of bringing back the original version of Ssam Bar. While a new Ssam outpost is probably a ways off (and if it isn’t, reps are keeping mum), we’re happy to report that, indeed, this is the next best thing for ssam nostalgists. For now, the wraps are served at lunch and brunch only, and cost $12.Scroll down for more ssam-tastic photos.
We get antsy in the summer, and it takes very little convincing to get us to commit to a long midday meal away from our desks. And so a few days ago, we headed out to Carroll Gardens to check in on lunch at Nightingale 9.
We’ve previously praised this restaurant from Seersucker and Smith Canteen proprietors Robert Newton and Kerry Diamond, crediting the inventive American twists on Vietnamese street food that fill out the dinner menu. The lunch list, which launched about a month ago, keeps a few of the nighttime offerings, including cha ca catfish over vermicelli noodles, green papaya salad, and, of course, pho. But it also adds a section of bahn mi sandwiches, the crusty halved baguettes layered with caramel pork belly or market mushrooms and pickled mustard greens. Come here at night and you’re likely going to order a pint; during the day, and you might actually give thought to the worthwhile sodas, including a bright and refreshing tamarind-spiked sipper.
A couple of dishes you might consider ordering if you wander that way for a leisurely lunch:
Order cha ca catfish in Vietnam, and there’s a decent chance you’ll find yourself cooking your own dinner table side, sauteing a hunk of seafood in hot, dill- and turmeric-laden oil. Nightingale 9 dispenses with that method here, incorporating the turmeric in the crispy batter that encases the fish and then serving it with dill and scallions over vermicelli. This dish, which is appetizer-sized for a party of two, works best with a hit of the chile you’ll find sitting on your table.
We forewent the more styled out sandwich takes for the most traditional Vietnamese version of the banh mi on the menu: the pate. Salt-loaded country ham is assuaged by the rich liver and garlic-imbued mayonnaise. Crushed peanuts provide a welcome textural contrast evident even beneath the crusty bread; cilantro provides a fresh lift to an otherwise heavy bite.
Nightingale had just one pho on the menu the day we stopped by, and so we slurped simple chicken broth bobbing with slices of poultry, bean sprouts, cilantro, and a nest of noodles. If light broths aren’t your thing–and we’re not sure they’re ours, since found ourselves longing for a heftier beef version of this soup even in the summer–this can be doctored effectively with fish sauce and more of that chile.