‘Tis the season for al fresco food markets, and UrbanSpace (the prolific company behind the Union Square Holiday Market and Mad. Sq. Eats) has just debuted another, dubbed Broadway Bites. Back for its second year and perfectly situated in Greeley Square Park, at the bustling intersection of West 33rd Street and Broadway and populated by tourists and local office workers alike, Broadway Bites boasts plenty of big-name vendors, like AsiaDog and Red Hook Lobster Pound. But we’d just as soon frequent food markets in order to scope out the newbies and up-and-comers. Here are some of our favorites!
Onigiri by Tampopo: Sprung to life out of a catering company run by husband-and-wife team, Josh Frank and Nanae Mameuda-Frank, Tampopo specializes in Onigiri (Japanese style rice balls). Toasted, salty nori arrives cradled around wads of sweet, sticky rice, flavored with creative fillings, like Garlic Miso, Cheddar Shiso, Salmon Scallion and Wasabi Shrimp.
Bangkok Bar: The enthusiasm is infectious at this plucky, young stand (their only location is at Broadway Bites), where they serve authentic, Bangkok street specialties, such as Basil Fried Rice, Som Tum Salad, and an especially tasty Pad Thai. Lest we forget the salt-dusted Strawberry Popsicles, which are a must-order, plucked from a steaming vat of liquid nitrogen.
Jicama: California Street Food: This Cali-inspired vendor intriguingly blends Asian and Latin cuisines, and believe it or not, every item on the menu is gluten free. That includes Tacos, fashioned out of paper-thin slices of jicama, Sausages wrapped in kale, instead of hotdog buns, and even a Pulled Pork Slider, topped with crunchy beet kraut and sandwiched inside of a — yes, still gluten free! — maple glazed donut.
Chutney: We’ve gotten used to seeing Korean, Japanese and (see above) even jicama-based tacos, but Chutney lends a bit of Indian flair to the Mexican staple. Customers can create their own, tortilla-wrapped bundles by choosing from a stable of proteins (Braised Lamb, Chickpea and Sweet Potato, Curried Lentil), chutneys (Sweet Mango, Smoky Tomato, Preserved Lemon) and sauces, such as Tamarind, Raita or a verdant Mint Cilantro.
Mason Jar NYC: It takes a lot to stand out with smoked meat, when neighboring vendors include Mayhem and Stout and Mexicue. But this beer, bourbon and barbecue bar on E. 30th Street has brought some drool-worthy dishes to the West Side, including sauce-slathered Brisket, flash-fried Pickle Chips, and a gooey Grilled Cheese, stuffed with wads of melting short rib.
Gelato Ti Amo: With storefronts in Varazze, Sienna and Rome, Ti Amo’s impossibly creamy scoops of Gelato are as authentically Italian as it gets. Try nutty Bacio, honeyed Caramello, silken Crema and sprightly Limone, made with milk and eggs from Tuscan farms, South American cocoa and coffee, and local, organic fruit.