We may be in the midst of the so-called “Summer of Hell” at Penn Station (due to a 20% reduction of train service), but at least the stranded damned will be well fed! Because after a month-long restructuring (thanks to new hospitality partner HPH, the group behind Le District, The Dead Rabbit and Pier A), The Pennsy food hall is back — boasting expanded indoor/outdoor seating, a massive bar, and a trio of returning vendors, with three more besides. So here’s what you should be eating this season, as you wait (and wait, and wait) for your train.
Pat LaFrieda: LaFrieda made his name selling meat to the stars (and their respected restaurants). But nowadays, he’s just as intent on supplying his own eateries, serving sandwiches stuffed with black angus steak, roasted pork shoulder, meatballs and even prime rib, as well as specialties such as charcuterie, brisket, “The World’s Greatest Hot Dog” and signature blend sliders.
Taco DUMBO: This SoCal shack serves cold-pressed margaritas and hipster surfer fare; think Nori or Jicama Lettuce Wrap Tacos (alternately stuffed with wild salmon and brown rice, or vegan chorizo or spice-rubbed cauliflower), and Summer Harvest Bowls brimming with watermelon radishes, heirloom tomatoes, avocadoes, sprouted peas, whipped ancho tofu and Satur Farms kale, in a cilantro-lime citronette.
Cinnamon Snail: This Vendy-winning food truck turned train station kiosk has returned, with their virtuous vegan sweets and not-so-wholesome (though still meat-free) savories; including a “Thanksgiving Sandoo” with porcini mushroom seitan and parsnip sage bread pudding on a baguette, grilled seitan over Baked Ziti topped with roasted garlic marinara and cashew cheese, and the infamous Beastmode Burger Deluxe — a maple hickory bbq-sauced seitan patty crowned with jalapeno mac n’ cheese, smoked chili coconut bacon and chipotle mayo on a toasted pretzel bun.
Sabi Sushi: Yellowtail rolls are just the tip of the iceberg at this pan-Asian spot, which proffers dumplings, bubble tea and banh mi, alongside Chicken Soba, Pork Ramen and Beef Pho.
Ribalta: This acclaimed Neapolitan-style pizza slinger has its eyes on the pies in Penn Station, providing signature rounds (i.e., the Asparagus and Speck), as well as a Build Your Own Pizza option, where patrons choose not only toppings (everything from gorgonzola to black olives to Italian ham), but their base (i.e., Margherita, Rossa or Bianca).
The Pennsy Bar: Being that this partially al fresco drinkery is from the world-renowned (really, it was literally proclaimed the best in the world) Dead Rabbit team, it’s the ideal spot to drown out your bedraggled commuter woes; with a selection of local craft beers (Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner, Keegan Mother’s Milk Stout), and thoughtfully crafted cocktails — try the “Burro of Manhattan” with Montelobos mezcal, jalapeno, and Main Root ginger beer, or the “Old Smokey,” containing Mathilde Orange XO, raw cane sugar, and Bowmore 12-year scotch.
The Little Beet: On the other end of the culinary spectrum is Little Beet, eschewing meat products for wholesome bowls built upon ancient grains, mixed greens or brown rice, crowned with veggies like kale, broccolini and beets & lentils, supplemented with proteins such as tofu or beet falafel, sauced with salsa verde, walnut pepper spread or turmeric tahini, and garnished with hibiscus pickled almonds or “super seeds.”
2 Pennsylvania Plaza