We’ve got your Smorgasburg game plan.
Brooklyn’s weekend food fest is back this Saturday and Sunday.
It’s not spring until Smorgasburg comes out of hibernation, which happens this weekend at Williamsburg’s East River State Park on Saturday and Prospect Park on Sunday.
This year, the weekend food fest received about 300 applicants, with just 24 being accepted after passing a taste test for co-founders Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler. “We had what we think was our most competitive and highest-quality round of applicants,” says Demby.
Smorgasburg is also striving to be “a zerowaste event,” with no bottles or cans sold. Guests will be able to refill (hopefully reusable) bottles at filteredwater stations on site. The market has also banned high-fructose corn syrup drinks, encouraging vendors to make their own healthier refreshments.
Ready to start the season? We got to try 16 of the new vendors at a preview event, and picked our favorites to look for this season.
We haven’t tasted a burger that comes close to the addictive simplicity of Shake Shack until now. Mark Andrew Gravel’s burger has been noticed by Mission Cantina and the Charleston Wine & Food Festival. A Fleishers beef patty gets a nice sear on a griddle, then a squirt of “onion pickle water” before the flip. “The steam pushes the flavor back up through the meat and bun,” he explains. Topped with a slice of white American cheese and mustardbased special sauce on a Martin’s potato roll, it’s just $10 with a side of Old Bay fries. Saturday only, burgersupreme.com
Roll Play Viet Noms
Hoi Nguyen spent 15 years in his family’s Boston catering business before bringing his Vietnamese rice-paperwrapped spring rolls to Brooklyn. They’re filled with a choice of proteins surrounded by rice vermicelli noodles, pickled carrots, daikon, mint, basil and a fried wonton stick for texture. But it’s the sauces you’ll go crazy for, especially the red pepper ginger “sexy sauce.” Saturdays only, rollplaynyc.com
Everything is better when wrapped inside a dumpling, right? That’s the premise of this new global dumpling stall. “We just wanted to showcase our favorite foods going up in Queens,” say owner-chefs Tristan and Andrew, with results like crispy triangles of Peking duck drizzled with hoisin sauce and bite-size satchels of jerk chicken and pineapple salsa. Both days, destinationdumplings.com
Filipino desserts are colorful and delicious, but often full of sugar and other sweet additives. Turns out they’re not at all necessary, as Ube Kitchen’s light and creamy halo halo or their delicate chia pudding in a waffle bowl, proves. The desserts are all sweetened only with chunks of fruit and ice creams made in-house. Both days, facebook.com/ ubekitchen
Strange Flavor Burger Shack
Longtime friends Bill McGovern and Matt Klein are already making pretty classic pub fare at their pop-up restaurant inside Bushwick’s The Johnsons bar. For their Smorgasburg debut, “we decided to serve more out-there food,” landing on a Sichuan-influenced burger with brisket braised in mapo tofu spices, with a cilantroscallion mix, a tofu puff and housemade sesame bun. The flavor starts out complex but mild, building as you eat. “We use Sichuan peppercorn oil,” McGovern explains. “It changes your palate and it gives it a lemony freshness so you can taste everything, so because of that the brisket stays lighter.” Saturdays, strangeflavorbk.com
The next Instagram star of the market is surely this all-natural juice stand that uses the husks of oranges, grapefruits, watermelon, pineapples and dragonfruit as the vessel for their fresh juices. The fruit is cored and blended to order, then mixed with flavorings like ginger syrup and seltzer water for a gorgeous and all-natural refresher on hot days. Both days, facebook.com/pg/ JohnsJuiceNyc
BURGER SUPREME DESTINATION DUMPLINGS DESTINATION DUMPLINGS JOHN’S JUICE UBE KITCHEN ROLE PLAY VIET NOMS