Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

“The pork buns. You have to have them. They’re awesome.” That was the directive from the counter manager of famed dim sum specialist Nom Wah’s outpost in the new food hall Market 57. Given the options on that menu and those of the other 14 vendors surrounding in this space on New York’s Pier 57, directives are helpful. And he was right. (The slabs of roast pork were juicy with exceptional flavor.)

As the latest food hall/market to open in New York, Market 57 is part of a trend in the city that seems never ending, from the Urbanspace collections around town and recent additions Citizens New York, the Moynihan Train Hall and The Tin Building to the Singaporean Urban Hawker. Underlying this one, though, is a theme. “Market 57 is more than a food hall,” explains Michael Phillips, President of Jamestown, the global real estate investment and management firm behind it as well as the longstanding collection of food vendors Chelsea Market nearby. “It’s a new model for equitable engagement in the culinary community and a celebration of its diversity. With an emphasis on women- and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) owned food concepts, Market 57 reflects the diversity of New York.”

The vendors were also, obviously, chosen for their quality offerings primarily by the management of Jamestown with input from executives of the James Beard Foundation which operates both the food stall Good to Go and the demonstration space Platform featuring visiting chefs such as Mexican chef Cristina Martinez, owner of Philadelphia’s South Philly Barbacoa and winner of last year’s James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic Region, this week. Overall, the expansive space spotlights an interesting mix.

Upon entering, fans of seafood and Indian cuisine will probably not get past the first two stalls. The Galley by Lobster Place, a restaurant/seafood market mainstay of Chelsea Market, is first in line offering lobster rolls, baked oysters flavored with garlic and Calabrian chili or sake, red miso and lime and lobster and shrimp cocktail. Next door, Ammi, a sibling of the excellent Gupshup is serving top quality samosas, dosas, chicken biryani and curry chicken with a mango lassi or tamarind slushie to wash it all down.

Elsewhere on the floor, more oysters—selections from the east and west coast-along with ceviche, gumbo, shrimp and clams on the half shell are available at the Cajun Mothershuckers. Harlem’s LoLo’s Seafood Shack has a spinoff, LoLo’s on the Water with a Caribbean focus featuring Jerk BBQ ribs, a burger with remoulade and cheddar, broiled salmon with pico de gallo and the Mexican ceviche aquachile with shrimp, scallops and octopus. Traditional Mexican dishes- flautas, tacos, churros and ice pop poletas-are on offer at Mijo from the owners of the frozen treats business La Newyorkina. Japanese style fried chicken and other comfort foods are the specialty at Bessou, vegetable and tofu creations are the offerings from the Brooklyn based, plant forward Ras Plant Based and the other end of the culinary scale, Italian meat sandwiches are the focus at Due Madri. For dessert, there are cookies and ice cream sandwiches at The Good Batch and ice cream with Asian flavors such as Turkish coffee and rose with cinnamon and almonds from the Brooklyn based company Malai.

With its location jutting out into the Hudson, water views are part of the experience although at this point outdoor seating at market level isn’t offered. It is up on the roof at Rooftop Park which comes with a view advantage: overlooking the stiletto heels of its neighbor Little Island all the way down to the skyscrapers of the Financial District. Showing off in another way the diversity of New York.

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