Smorgasburg — NYC’s biggest all-food flea market — is always the first edible, al fresco free-for-all to open for the spring and summer season. And it’s proven to be a vital stepping stone over the years, catapulting fledgling small businesses onto New York’s culinary MainStage. Here are just a few we expect to be seeing a lot more from in the future; from Strange Flavor and their mala-basted burgers to Commissary Kitchen, serving prison-influenced eats…
All City Deli: Andrew Keith, an Estela, Roberta’s and Mission Chinese vet reimagines humble New York deli fare to include Japanese egg salad on snowy milk bread, and
the ultimate bacon, egg and cheese made with seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients.
Strange Flavor Burger: Also formerly of Mission Chinese Food, Matthew Kleine’s stint is duly evident in his strange but spectacular flavor combinations; think mala-glazed burgers with pickles and charred cabbage, corn-battered hot dogs speckled with togarashi, and a mapo brisket sandwich, topped with tofu crisps and cradled in deep-fried sesame bread.
Commissary Kitchen: You can graze and star-gaze at Smorgasburg this season, thanks to this entry from Prodigy, of hip-hop powerhouse, Mobb Deep. Having already translated his time in the kitchens during a three-year-run at prison into an Eddie Huang-endorsed cookbook, he’s showcasing his enterprising dishes at the market as well; such as brothless curried ramen and fried chicken crumbed in Cool Ranch Doritos.
Baked Cheese Haus: Raclette is an acquired taste (and smell), but those that love it — us definitely included — will be drawn, Pied Piper-style, to this fragrant stand. A duo of Wisconsin cheesemakers shave heated wheels of their pungent product onto baguettes with cured ham and cornichons, for a snowy Swiss Alps specialty, enjoyed on the sun-drenched shores of Brooklyn.
Kreung: While a number of Instagram-baiting vendors are obsessed with being clever (don’t bother with this year’s spaghetti donut), we’d sooner frequent this authentic Cambodian newcomer. And the best part is, proceeds from bowls of delicious ground pork, fermented fish paste and lemongrass relish benefit the owner’s hometown rice farm.
Burger Supreme: While Smorgasburg has always been saturated with Americana-riffing inventions like the ramen burger, it has yet to host a basic, smashed-style patty stand. So purists will rejoice over mustard-slathered sliders slipped onto steamed Martin’s buns, as opposed to compressed and crispy Japanese noodles.
90 Kent Ave.. Williamsburg (Saturdays)
Prospect Park, E. Drive at Lincoln Road, Park Slope (Sundays)