There are some New York things that I – along with everyone else, it would seem – just get excited about: a really good bottomless brunch deal, finding a cab in the rain, and the weather being warm enough for a sunshine-soaked walk down the High Line. To that list I must, of course, add Smorgasburg.
Smorgasburg runs each weekend – on Saturdays in Williamsburg, on Sundays at Pier 5 in the Brooklyn Bridge Park – and is filled with deliciousness. And, because there are so many awesome food vendors in one place, it also happens to be filled with crowds. For my money, though, this is one of those rare events that’s actually worth fighting the crowds for.
And fight them I have, twice in the last week alone, as it happens. That might seem a bit excessive, but with the promise of such good food, I found it impossible to say no. And so that’s why, on Saturday I headed to Williamsburg to smorg (yes, I’m making it a verb) with one group of friends, while on Sunday I made my way to Brooklyn Heights with another. Both trips were delicious.
One of the stars – or perhaps the star – of Smorgasburg is Ramen Burger, which serves exactly what you would expect with a name like that: a burger whose patties are made of ramen noodles. The line for this place tends to be insane, but I decided I had to brave it at least once. The burger was super flavorful, but I’m not entirely sure it’s worth the hype: it’s a little greasy for my liking, and I wish it were topped with more veggies or something to give it a bit more variety and punch.
Another Smorgasburg favorite: Red Hook Lobster Pound, where I always get the Connecticut style roll: warmed up, and topped with butter and lemon. Perfect:
I tend to eat my hotdogs plain (yes, really, and yes, I know that people find this strange), so I wasn’t sure if I would like Asia Dog, which serves up hotdogs with Asian-inspired toppings. I tried the “Sidney,” which comes with Thai mango relish, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, and crushed peanuts. The verdict? Absolutely delicious, and perhaps my #1 favorite thing I tried (though it’s hard to play favorites in this crowd).
One of my friends wanted to try the scallion pancake rolls at Outer Borough, so I decided to tag along. Verdict? Excellent decision. I tried one topped with pork, cucumber, and onions and it was fantastic. Definitely another stand to add to the regular Smorgasburg rotation. They were all sold out of the pork belly version by the time we got to the front of the line; I know which one I will be coming back for.
When it comes to sweets, Smorgasburg also delivers. My favorite just might be the ice cream sandwiches at The Good Batch. Several of the flavors had sold out before we made our way to the stand (a recurring theme, giving Smorgasburg’s popularity), but the one I ended up with was so tasty that I didn’t even mind: an oatmeal cookie plus some sea salt = ice cream nirvana.
Another must-try? Dough doughnuts. I know I’ve written this – probably more than once – but I have never considered myself a doughnut fan. Certain places make me reconsider this stance. Federal Donuts in Philly is one, and Dough is another. I had the chocolate with cocoa nibs and it was decadent perfection (the views of Manhattan weren’t so bad either).
The bad thing about Smorgasburg? There are so many vendors that it’s difficult to choose where to start. The good thing about Smorgasburg? It’s only April. I have plenty of time for return trips this year.