Ever since Smorgasburg took over the Williamsburg waterfront in 2011 — an open-air assembly of some of the newest and best artisanal vendors in the city — the concept of the year-round, carefully curated food hall has taken New York by storm. One-stop culinary hubs such as Gotham West Market, Hudson Eats and even Smorgasburg’s own Berg’n have made dining destinations of otherwise restaurant deprived neighborhoods, and the newest entry to the upscale food court scene, City Kitchen, is about to do the same for touristy Times Square. Officially open for business, the 4,000-square foot mecca of tasty eats stands in stark, entirely welcome contrast to the cheesy fast-casual franchises that have long dominated the theatre district, so from top-notch ramen to dreamy lobster rolls, here’s what to expect from the brand new City Kitchen…
Kuro Obi: Arguably the most exciting addition to City Kitchen, this Ippudo outpost is serving three Ramen variations featuring noodles especially designed for takeout, along with Edamame, Pork Buns, beer and sake.
Azuki: Pristine sushi in a food court? You better believe it. From Spicy Scallop Rolls to Sea Urchin Sashimi, this stand is serving up unimpeachably fresh fish.
Ilili Box: Like its Lebanese big sibling (make that much bigger sibling) in the Flatiron District, this stand serves healthy Mediterranean dishes that are packed full of flavor but infinitely more portable, such as Duck Shawarma, Kale Fattoush, and garlic and oregano dusted Phoenician Fries.
Whitman’s New York: Indulge in delectably meaty and greasy gastropub fare at Whitman’s, such as Cheesesteaks, Cheeseburgers and yes, even a PB&J Burger, paired with local Pickles, Wedge Salads, or funky Blue Cheese Fries.
Gabriela’s Taqueria: You can get your taco fix from morning till night at Gabriela’s, starting with tortillas stuffed with scrambled eggs, home fries, and avocado-tomatillo sauce. Or, you can stumble in after a bar crawl for Fried Fish, Al Pastor or Grilled Steak Tacos, along with Shrimp Rellenos and Chicken Empanadas.
Luke’s Lobster: You can never go wrong with Lobster Rolls, and Luke’s reliably serves up some of the city’s best, as well as Crab Rolls, Shrimp Rolls and creamy Clam Chowder.
Dough: Fany Gerson may not currently be offering her much-discussed Doughka (a cross between a donut and a babka) at her new Times Square outpost, but you can still indulge in outsized, seriously sticky Dough favorites, such as Hibiscus, Passion Fruit with Cocoa Nibs, Dulce de Leche, Lemon Poppy and Mocha Almond Crunch.
Wooley’s Shaved Snow: It may be hard to imagine eating Shaved Ice, when the sidewalks are still ringed with mountains of dingy slush. But it’s hard to resist Wooly’s chilly, hyper-colored sweets, flavored with Matcha, Coffee or Dulce de Leche, topped with Mochi, Pocky or Fruity Pebbles, and finished with drizzles of chocolate and whipped cream.
Sigmund’s Pretzels: Soft pretzels are a NYC tradition, but these aren’t the bloated, cardboardy versions you’ll find sold on the street. In addition to the Salted Classic, the crusty, steamy snacks come in a wide range of flavors, such as Truffle Cheddar, Feta Olive or Churro, served with Stone Ground Mustard or rich Nutella for dipping.