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Where to Spend Labor Day Weekend 2013

la brisaLabor Day is probably one of the more bittersweet holidays.  Yes, it’s part of a sun-filled three-day weekend, but it’s also an inescapable indicator that summer is at its end.  That’s why it’s best just to face the inevitable, and try to make the most of what we have left.  So here are a few especially celebratory ways to spend this Labor Day — from a seasonal lunch of Soft Shell Crabs and S’mores at Recette in the West Village, to an Oyster and Absinthe party at Maison Premiere in Brooklyn, and even a last minute getaway to La Brisa de Tacombi in the Hamptons!

Maison Premiere

Maison Premiere
298 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn,New York 11211
(347) 335-0446

Check out the annual Labor Day party at beloved, Brooklyn oyster den & absinthe bar, Maison Premiere. Entrance to the event is free, and will feature live music, a selection of their top-quality West and East Coast Oysters, and chef’s specials like Grilled Lobster with celery and potato salad, Crab Gratin, and a BBQ Chicken Sandwich.  And be sure to try their newest absinthe-based cocktail, The Evergreen, made with Pacifique, Muscadet, rosemary, lime and cucumber.

Porsena Extra Bar

Porsena <em>Extra Bar</em>
21 E 7th Street
East Village,New York 10003
(212) 228-4923

Sara Jenkins is well known for specializing in garlicky, wood-roasted Italian pork sandwiches at Porchetta, and perfect plates of classic pastas at Porsena.  But the food served at her recently opened Porsena Extra Bar, a tiny lunch counter by day and wine and small-bites bar by night, is a whole lot more varied.  Especially on Sundays, when it transforms into a hopping pop-up taqueria.  Try two tasty tacos for $7, filled with Braised Lamb, Chicken Mole, or Grilled Nopales, or yes, even a Porchetta Enchilada, topped with roasted tomato and chipotle salsa.

La Brisa de Tacombi

La Brisa de Tacombi
752 Montauk Highway
Hamptons,New York 11954
(631)668-8338

What says New York in the summertime better than a weekend trip to Montauk?  La Brisa, the new Hamptons outpost of the Nolita taqueria Tacombi, will be holding their first annual Labor Day Lobster and Mezcal fest this Sunday.  Take in the last glorious Montauk sunset of the season, while you feast on fresh caught Lobster Tacos served on housemade Tortillas, accompanied by shared carafes of Mezcal (the way it’s traditionally served in Mexico).  And don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes… they’ll also have special guest DJ spinning tunes through the night!

Benoit

Benoit
60 W 55th Street
Midtown West,New York 10019
(646) 943-7373

Since there are only so many days left of idyllic picnic weather, now’s the time to plan a final day out at one of New York’s best beaches or parks.  And you’ll love the effortlessly elegant (not to mention affordable) ready-made lunches at Alain Ducasse’s midtown Parisian bistro, Benoit.  Available through Labor Day, the $19 boxes include Niçoise-style Tuna Sandwiches on housemade Pain de Campagne, Iced Tea or Cilantro-Strawberry Lemonade, and a seasonal pastry of your choice, like a fresh Cherry, Fig or Peach Tart.  Not bad for a bagged lunch!

Clarkson

Clarkson
225 Varick Street
West Village,New York 10014
(212) 675-2474

Clarkson, Rebecca Weitzman’s new seasonal small plates spot in the West Village, is an excellent option for Labor Day weekend.  Pop in from 4-7 pm on Friday through Monday for the One-Two-Three Happy Hour, featuring $1 Oysters, $2 off Tap Beer, and $3 Oyster Shooters.  And since you’ll have saved so much money, you should totally splurge on the Chopped champion’s perfectly summery dishes, like Hand-Pulled Burrata with Crispy Zucchini and Cherry Tomato Mostarda, Grilled Trout with Sugar Snap Peas and Mint Pistachio Pesto, and a Cast Iron Steak with Lobster Roe Potato Salad and Charred Garlic Scapes.

Hawker Bar

Hawker Bar
611 Vanderbilt Avenue
Brooklyn,New York 11238
(347) 915-1000

Formerly The Sunburnt Calf, the newly re-styled Hawker Bar in Prospect Heights specializes in Southeast Asian street food.  And to celebrate their relaunch, the restaurant will host a one-of-a-kind Thai Barbecue and Karaoke evening this Monday (continuing every Sunday after Labor Day).  For $35, guests will enjoy dishes like Indonesian Pork Shoulder, Thai-style Chicken Wings and Curried Basa, cooked outside on Hawker Bar’s traditional ceramic grill.  And you’ll be eating, drinking, and warbling ‘80’s tunes all for a good cause — $5 from each purchase goes towards the local Prospect Heights school, P.S. 9.

Recette

Recette
328 W 12th Street
West Village,New York 10014
(212) 414-3000

There’s a special Labor Day lunch being offered at Recette, Jesse Schenker’s intimate West Village bistro.  The three-course, $38 menu is brimming with delicious seasonal eats, including Chilled Corn Soup with sofrito and soft shell crab, Berkshire Pork Belly with rock shrimp, turnips and romesco, and a play on S’mores (graham cracker ice cream, toasted marshmallow, and “hot” chocolate ganache) from pastry chef and Per Se veteran, Christina Lee.

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Fatty ‘Cue

Fatty ‘Cue
91 S 6th Street
Brooklyn,New York 11249
(718) 599-3090
Cuisine:

Williamsburg’s recently re-opened branch of Fatty ‘Cue is continuing its “Smoked Out Sunday” event over Labor Day weekend.  Tickets to Zak Pelaccio’s Malaysian-styled BBQ joint are $35 per person, and include access to a self-serve Keg, glasses of “Kitchen Sink” Punch, Brisket Tacos, and a whole fresh Pig with all the fixings.  And you just might want to visit again on Monday for a sneak peek of Fatty ‘Cue’s new brunch menu, served from noon until 9pm.

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