new amsterdam market

I’m a bit late to Peck Slip but New Amsterdam Market at the site of the former Fulton Fish Market is an exciting addition to the burgeoning convergence of small-scale purveyors, growers and foragers scattered about the tri-state region. It doesn’t compare to the sprawling, wholesale-oriented Greenmarket in Union Square, but then it has no designs on filling a niche that’s already been filled. Instead it’s a reinvention of the Public Market, once a prevalent city institution: a lively assembly of both the raw and the cooked. Producers and (barely processed) products. Brought together under a single roof, a public square – or in this case an ignominious parking lot – it’s tantamount to the great English food halls. Or think of Madrid’s Mercado San Miguel and the Marche d’Aligre in Paris – the kind of market you visit with a list, as well as with the anticipation of bumping into friends and neighbors. It’s a convivial place where you can get your weekly stash of kimchi beef jerky, varietal cider and Brooklyn-made tempeh, watch April Bloomfield demonstrate how to filet a fish, then catch up over popcorn-topped ceviche and drinking vinegar. Writers and foodies will plug New Amsterdam as the city’s next great foodie destination but don’t believe the hype. It’s better than that. As soon as the tourist crowds disperse I suspect it will come into its own as the local we’ve been waiting for.


st. april of the breslin

Chef April Bloomfield’s nose-to-tail gastro pub, The Breslin, is so achingly cool, so painfully hip, that even on a Friday at 5:30pm the dining room is buzzing with nerd glasses, beards and skinny ties as far as the eye can wander.  The hype surrounding this place – and the Ace Hotel in which it is housed – has come fast and furious, turning a characterless stretch of midtown into the new downtown, and the hosannas heaped upon Bloomfield’s cooking have been near constant since her arrival at The Spotted Pig a few years back.  Naturally the New Yorker in me was fully prepared to be non-plussed – even a little bit pissed off – by it all.  Then out came the golden pig.

The Breslin notoriously doesn’t take reservations unless you order one of their two special feasts:  lamb or pig.  Unwilling to wait for an hour in the crowded bar of hipsters, I gathered eight adventurous friends willing to engage their inner cannibal and ordered the chef’s table suckling pig dinner.   Even at this ungodly early hour I must confess it was a minor miracle of piggy goodness worth scheduling your day around.  Something happens in the brain when an intact beast is ritually placed before you.  You go hog wild, pardon the pun, tearing into it with gusto:  the butt, the bacon, the rump, the loin, and sweet Jesus, those crispy cracklings!  When the waiter came back to crack open the head there was almost a fight for the cheeks.  The tongue, the brains – one adventurous lady even went straight for the eyes, bless her soul.  It was a true pig-a-palooza of porcine indulgence unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.  Oh, and there were side dishes, too:  Caesar salad, broccoli rabe, roasted fennel, and duck fat roasted potatoes that will forever infect my dreams. To counteract the meat-sweats, a bittersweet chocolate pie arrived for dessert – flecked with just enough sea salt to take the edge off.  St. April, forgive me my trespasses:  by all that is holy, I believe in the one true pig.


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