3 Grub Street Food Fest Eats I’d Like to See In Midtown
For the past 3 years, the Grub Street Food Festival at the Hester Street Fair seems to top itself, both in scale and in quality. This was the 3rd annual fest, and it was even more delicious than last year’s Grub Street Food Festival at the Hester Street Fair. With so many vendors, there was no way for one person to try everything, but I made an impressive go at it. Foregoing Midtown favorites Korilla, Chinese Mirch and Kelvin Slush, which were parked just outside the entrance, I ate everything from okonomiyaki to lentils, and as it turned out, my 3 favorite meals had one thing in common: all hailed from Brooklyn. I’m hoping these guys make the journey to Midtown soon so the rest of you get to enjoy them as much as I did.
Mayhem & Stout
You may remember these guys as one of the 2012 Vendy Awards finalists for the Market Vendor Award (Lumpia Shack took home the prize). Mayhem & Stout was one of the few vendors I didn’t get to try at the Vendys, and I was majorly bummed about it, so I made a beeline over there when we arrived at Hester Street. I went for the lamb shoulder with dragon sauce (Asian BBQ) and spicy slaw for $7. Holy flavor explosion! Between the slightly gamey meat, the sweet sauce and the spicy slaw, this was absolutely the best sandwich I had all day. It didn’t look big at first, but there was a ton of meat packed onto that roll and was well-worth the money. If you missed these guys at the Grub Street fest, you’re in luck — they’re going to be at the Columbus Circle holiday market this year, so be sure to check them out there.
Hands down, Handsome Hank’s Fish Hut wins for best value of the day. I probably should have put something in this photo so you could see scale, but this was a huge plate of food. It’s practically a whole fish in there! The fish & chips cost $10, but you got 3 monster pieces of perfectly battered and fried fish atop a basket of fresh chips. A squeeze of lemon and some hot sauce was all this dish needed (although I wouldn’t have argued with a shake or two of salt). The fish still had the skin on it, so be wary if that’s not your thing, but if you don’t care, Handsome Hank’s massive meal will leave you in a food coma, for sure. Next time, I’d like to try their fish sandwich to see how it compares to my Midtown favorite from Kim’s Aunt Cart.
Cuzin’s Duzin’s hot fresh mini donuts were no joke. The staff were using a stand mixer to make batter and frying the donuts fresh (via a special donuts fryer) at the festival. At 7 mini donuts for $3, 14 for $5 or 21 for $7, they were a steal. Right out of the fryer, the donuts went into a paper bag with some cinnamon sugar. A little shake to evenly coat the pillowy dough, and soon those little babies were in my tummy.
Honorable mention goes to Miss Lily’s, whose crazy good jerk chicken and sweet jerk corn were at the festival again this year. Still waiting for them to come to Midtown, for sure. But this year, Brooklyn really made an impressive showing at the Hester Street Fair.