Posts Tagged With: What to eat in the Chelsea Market

Chelsea Lately – 2018

Miznon CauliflowerIts that time of the year, readers.  When I dissect piece by piece this tourist trap in Chelsea we call the Chelsea Market.  Did I get your attention now?  “Tourist Trap”, a term used often when you read reviews about ultra touristy establishments.  “Migrane” is something you get when you read what others have to say about something you know and love.  “Himalayan Meditation Retreats” is what you Google three months after you open a restaurant in NYC.

But I suppose every touristy restaurant on the planet can be and will be called a Tourist Trap by visitors from all over, who fail to capitalize on the establishment’s full potential.  After all, I just called such market in Madrid, and I have a very hard time believing otherwise.  But there are two very important ingredients missing in Chelsea Market in order to quality as a Tourist Trap.  Mediocre food, and lack of local interest.  Make it knowledgeable local interest like the Chowhounds who know NYC food scene better than anyone

Food courts are popping all over the US like presidential tweets.  NYC alone has around 20 of them.  And due to that vastness you keep seeing some of the same generic names in many of them.  Like food trucks that keep multiplying, selling the same items all over the city.  They are there more for convenience rather than destinations.  What makes CM different is that its not loaded with the usual suspects, but vendors who call CM their only home.  Why?  Well, mainly due to the fame and foot traffic that comes with it.  I just dont recall CM being as culinary rich when mostly locals used to go there.

Miznon

Miznon

But Chelsea Market is soooo crowded, you say.  Well yeah!  But its really the cramped former Nabisco factory space that is the main culprit.  Its a pita smack in the face as soon as you walk in, and some cant wait to come out from the other side (10th ave).  But if you do, at least check out the pictures on the right near the 10th ave exit where you’ll see the old factory and a picture of the last west side cowboy with his flag down.  Before the High Line rails got elevated, these cowboys rode before the trains on “Death Ave” waving their flags as a signal for the coming trains.

But if you opt to stay for a while and you like to eat, deliciousness awaits… and seats!  When you start branching out of the main hall you will discover that CM is not as crowded as it seems and you can sit down.  Here’s a list of items I would target.  Its a nice mix of items for pescatarians, vegetarians, carnivores, and even pediatricians.  I would pick about 3-5 items of the list (to share with your special someone(s)), allow 90 minutes, and perhaps walk it off on the High Line after or during.

Hummus at Dizengoff – You are not there just for the Hummus, but the entire package. The hummus with the rotating toppings (right now they got a good looking Sabich – egg, eggplant, Amba combination on the board), the pita, the Salatim, and homemade Z’hug.  This is a a nice light option to share.

Dizengoff Hummus

Cauliflower at Miznon – Its a simple roasted cauliflower, but delightfully salty and quite delicious.  You can bring that to Dezengoff and start eating it there while you wait for you Hummus.  Though there’s something about eating inside Miznon.  Like stepping into a Tel Aviv fast food joint.  If you skip Dizengoff, share a pita sandwich here.  I’m partial to the veggie combos

Cumin Lamb at Very Fresh Noodles – If I have to pick one item in the entire market, this is probably it.  It doesnt get as spicy as Xi’an Famous but what it lacks in heat, it gains in flavor.  This is the only place where I struggled with seats in the past, but they now added counter seating facing the “Biang Bianging!”, and there are usually seats.  The Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup is another hit

Grilled Cheese Sandwich at Saxelby Cheesemongers – A good excuse to go downstairs and escape the selfie sticks of the main hall.  While you wait for your sandwich, sample some hot sauces at the shop next door.  I’m partial to the Bronx sauce.

Double Cheeseburger at Creamline – If you are coming from another country, and have this thing called “American Burger” on your list, this is as good as it gets in NYC for this price range.  To me it beats Shake Shack, from the bun, beef, and the optional egg which you should add.  I also like the choc milk here, and Turkey burger

Creamline Burger

Hot Dog at Dickson’s Farmstand – A very solid hot dog. Or for something perhaps a bit more tangy and tingly…  Paprika or Kaese Currywurst from Berlin Currywurst.  If you never had a proper hot dog, go for the former.  If you did, do the latter (yes, add some spicy sauce, at least on the side)

Adobada Taco at Los Tacos #1 – The Shawarma of the south. Well it did come originally from Arab immigrants in Mexico.  This is a quick delicious snack you eat standing up.  Or/And get a Fish Tacos at Los Mariscos to at least earn that secret bathroom visit.  Yes, a bathroom with no lines.  When standing on that line to Los Tacos, look left for the Los Mariscos entrance.

Los Mariscos Tacos

The Splurges….

Lobster Roll at Cull & Pistol – This is one of my overall NYC faves.  Owned by the Lobster Place so everything comes from next door, the city’s top fishmongers.  Ignore confusing old reviews by Infatuation.  The lobster roll at $29, is one of the most expensive in town, though you will not find a lobster below $25 at any full service.  And yes, they are this tiny everywhere, and most not quite as good.

Sushi at Lobster Place – Its my go to place for Chirashi bowl.  I also buy Salmon burgers here to grill later.

For Dessert….

Halvah from See & Mill – Especially for those who never had Halvah.  Try it with their ice cream as well

Cherry pie at Sarabeth’s bakery.  A classic!

Gelato at L’Arte del Gelato – Or for something a little more interesting, explore the High Line and area head to Gelato Giusto on 9th.  Owner Lorenzo from Milan is like a sorbet wizard but knows his Gelato as well

Cull & Pistol Lobster

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Chelsea Market – 10 Great Eats

Cull and PistolEver since god invented the CitiBike, I’ve been spending more time chowing in ultra touristy Chelsea Market.  A pleasant 15 minute ride there, and a strenuous 25 minute ride back on a gassy full stomach.  Navigating through the tourists at the market during lunch time should be an Olympic event.  The Chelsea Slalom.  Opening the door without letting an entire large polish group in and losing your family as a result somehow requires an online course.  With that said, unlike most touristy spots in NYC (e.g. Little Italy, Times Square, Restaurant Row) there’s good food to be had here.

Chelsea Market Los Tacos

Chelsea Market is a little misunderstood.   Since this is by far New York’s most famous “Market”, many avid tourists come here expecting a market similar to the Boqueria in Barcelona or Mahane Yehuda in Jerusalem.  Chelsea Market is nothing like it.  Its indoors, not really ingredient heavy, but more a of a collection of unique restaurants and food purveyors.  And just like Eataly, Chelsea Market requires some exploring in order to get it, and avoid disappointment.

Adobada Tacos at Los Tacos #1 – The more I eat those little porky things the more I like them.  Tacos on the small side when you compare to what you get at a NYC bodega, but they are well marinated and deadly.  I often see tourists and locals fill the tacos with salsa and all the other free goodies available on the counter, ever so slowly killing the flavors.  Let the meat do the talking guys.Los Tacos

Pastrami Sandwich at Dickson’s – These guys, who look mostly like Boston Bruins enforcers, dont mess around with their meats.  Top quality stuff is sourced directly from a few hand picked local farms, enabling Dickson’s to produce tasty sausages, hot dogs (great dogs here) and this pastrami sandwich with Apricot Chutney.  This is not your average pastrami.  Bright, peppery, well marbled, fatty in all the right places.  Like slow dancing with your mother in law.Dicksons pastrami

Cappelletti al Prosciutto at Giovanni Rana – Fresh pasta galore at this Verona import.   After trying an array of pastas here (including a surprisingly flavorless Carbonara) I would stick to what they do best;  Ravioli/Tortellini, and the rest of the ravioli familia.  The “little hat” shaped Cappelletti is packed with flavorful, salty, porky goodnessGiovanni Rana

Chirashi Bowl at Lobster Place – Tourists flock to LP for the lobster, not realizing the tremendous sushi strength here.  One of the best ways to sample the fresh seafood at LP is via the Chirashi, a rice bowl topped with chef selected fresh raw goodness.  Other than the somewhat soggy octopus this thing simply rocked.  As long as you dont mind splurging the full $24 for the full bowl if sitting at the counter

Lobster Place Chirashi

Peppercorn Catfish at Num Pang.  Love me some good fish sandwich.  Something you cant easily find in NYC.  This is a fine combination of flaky catfish with mild pleasant heat, fresh veggies, and crispy baguette-like bread adding to a mighty fine Vietnamese Banh Mi resemblanceNum Pang - Peppercorn Catfish

Uni Tagliatelle at Cull and Pistol.  Squid ink pasta to me is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you going to get.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt.  This one works big time.  The richness, and sweetness of the uni sauce puts the Tagliatelle into another dimension.  And while the cherry tomatoes, and squid are just there to look pretty, they don’t hurt.  Even my oldest (13) who swore against squid ink pastas when she tried it in Venice, enjoyed this one.Cull and Pistol Tagliatelle

Lobster.   When I first decided to do a blog post about the Chelsea Market, I said to myself.  “Ziggy, be unique.  Give them something more than what those Asian tourists are coming for”.  But who am I kidding.  Nothing says NYC more to me than this only in NYC thing.  The Maine Lobster Roll!  You can get it at the Lobster Place, or its sister Cull and Pistol with the most addictive, perfectly cut and seasoned fries.  Or, do it Asian tourist style – grab a table and share an entire one.Cull and Pistol Lobster Roll

Mighty Mushroom Roll at Beyond Sushi.  Dont say I’m not thinking of you Mr and Mrs health nut.  For something that is less than zero calories (you lose while you chew and lose some more while you fight a polish tourist for a sit at the steps) this is pretty darn good.  And its not just the truffle essence that puts this thing on the list, its also the Enoki, Shiitake, Tofu, Micro Arugula, Shiitake Teriyake sauce… err who am i kidding, its mainly the truffle essence.  The same essence I blame for not taking a picture.

Chocolate Chip Cookie with Caramel at Liddabit  – This is simply an awesome cookie!  Dont believe me? I once brought the cookie to my cookie obsessed/snob co-worker Lou…

“So, how do you like it?”

“This is a good cookie!”

See?  What sets it a part for me is not so much the caramel, but the liberal use of dark chocolate chunks all around.Liddabit Cookie

Nocciola delle Langhe at L’Arte del Gelato – Pure awesomeness.  If there’s better gelato in the city, I didn’t have it yet.  If you always wandered about the difference between ice cream and gelato, this is a good place to see the difference.L'Arte del Gelato

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