Memorial Day is the ultimate indicator that summer is just around the bend. (We can almost taste it!) Come this Monday, we all get an extra day off from work. Every local beach and park will officially open, bustling with the flip-flopped and (weather permitting) bathing suit-clad. And most importantly, the smell of barbecue and salty sea creatures will fill the air. So where to eat this celebratory, three day weekend?
We’ve got the 411 on New York’s most happening spots, from the brand new SmorgasBar at the South Street Seaport to a full on Pig Roast at Crown Victoria in Brooklyn, and even an out-of-town pilgrimage to the just opened Fish & Game in the Hudson Valley!
SmorgasBar at the South Street Seaport
The South Street Seaport is about to get a whole lot hipper. Brooklyn’s beloved weekend food festival, Smorgasburg, is opening a new outpost there this weekend. Look for a rotating lineup of popular vendors to line Front Street, like Red Hook Lobster Pound, Landhaus, Asia Dog, and Brooklyn Oyster Party. They’ve also built a branch of their alcohol-dedicated offshoot, SmorgasBar, inside elevated shipping containers. The beer garden-style space will seat up to 300, and serve Brooklyn beers, cocktails mixed with Brooklyn Soda Works beverages, and spiked slushies from Kelvin Natural Slush Company.
Destination Dinner at Fish & Game
Looking to get out of town for the weekend? Instead of fighting the Hampton’s crowd, why not take a jaunt upstate and visit Zak Pelaccio’s brand new Hudson Valley restaurant, Fish & Game? The Fatty ‘Cue and Crab entrepreneur will serve open hearth-roasted proteins in a converted, 19th century building that formerly housed a blacksmith shop. And in true Fatty ‘Cue style, the meat will be complimented by condiments, sauces and fermentations made by his wife, Jori Emde, that will play into Pelaccio’s particular penchant for Southeast Asian cuisine.
Bites on the Boardwalk at Rockaway Beach
It’s no secret that the Rockaways took a serious beating during Hurricane Sandy, but they’ve doubled their efforts to be up and running again by Memorial Day. Special attention has gone towards reconstructing their fantastic food courts, which drew hungry beachcombers from every corner of the city. While rebuilding the boardwalk remains a long-term project, “islands” have been created to house food favorites like Rockaway Taco, the Lobster Joint, Caracas Arepas, Rippers, and Veggie Island.
Pig Roast Sundays at Crown Victoria
This lively Williamsburg pub is making excellent use of its massive outdoor space. Chef Jose Ramirez-Ruiz (formerly of Isa and Per Se) will spit-roast two, 100-pound Berkshire hogs every Sunday through Labor Day, accompanied by desserts by talented pastry chef Pam Yung, from Parm/Torrisi and Roberta’s. Not big on pig? They’ll also offer fish, grilled á la minute, and a variety of inventive sides, based on their daily theme. Get excited… Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain and Vietnam all provided culinary inspiration during previous, lip-smacking Sundays!
The Bed Stuy eatery, Do or Dine, is undeniably quirky. Think Foie Gras Donuts, Nippon Nachos (fried gyoza topped with cheese and sour cream), and, in lieu of standard signage, their name emblazoned on the underside of a West Indian Bakery awning. So their annual “Rub-A-Grub” backyard party — held from 2-10pm this coming Sunday — is bound to be full of off-kilter surprises. Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest will provide the beats, while the Do Or Dine team serves up three rounds of food and booze, starting with bottomless Bloody Marys and appetizers, moving on to beer and shots, and ending with cocktails and BBQ.Read More
Lobsterpalooza at The Mermaid Oyster Bar
Plates heaped with smoked meat are one thing, but our personal preference runs to seafood when we think of ideal Memorial Day eats. That’s why we plan to grab a bar stool at the The Mermaid Oyster Bar in Greenwich Village for their extended weekend Happy Hour. From 4-7pm on Monday, guests can feast on $1 east coast oysters, $5 beers, $7 cocktails, and assorted snacky bites, like Shrimp Corn Dogs and Mini Fish Tacos. Stick around into the evening for Lobsterpalooza, where a mere $26 buys a 1 1/4 pound Lobster, Red Bliss Potatoes, Cole Slaw, and grilled Corn on the Cob, summer on a plate.
Leisurely Lunch on Governors Island
While a bit of construction continues on the southern end of Governors Island, The Historic District will be ready for business and offering up some tasty fare come Memorial Day weekend. The Opening Day Family Festival on Saturday is the perfect option for kiddies, although the unencumbered might prefer to rent a bike and enjoy mile after mile of scenic, car-free paths. Stop for lunch at the Governors Beach Club, or commandeer a picnic table and enjoy food from the King Avenue Food Court (hardly your standard mini-mall grub). Pick up Jerk Chicken and Curry Goat from Veronica’s Kitchen (a former Vendy award winner), a variety of freshly baked breads, cheeses and charcuterie from Perfect Picnic, and beer, wine and oysters from Little Eva’s, an outpost of Kevin’s in Red Hook.
DIY BBQ at Riverside Park
Couldn’t snag yourself an invite to someone’s backyard (or terrace, rooftop, or fire escape) barbecue? Why not DIY in one of the city’s sprawling, verdant parks? Setting up shop in Central Park is a no-no, but if you’re willing to trek farther uptown, it doesn’t get much prettier than Riverside Park, stretched along the Hudson River. Cookouts are permitted anywhere north of West 145th Street, affording you and your friends plenty of room to spread out. But don’t forget to pick up provisions before you get there (unless you want to cull a meal from the contents of a nearby 99¢ store). We suggest the Harlem branch of Fairway, Garden of Eden on Broadway, or Grace’s Gourmet Marketplace on Park Avenue.