Lots of Lunch Options for Last Minute Shoppers at the Columbus Circle Market
The Columbus Circle Market has had some good holiday lunch options in the past (anyone remember the Pies ‘n’ Thighs booth?), but I think this year may be one of the best I can recall. For all of you last minute shoppers, here’s my guide to the best things I’ve eaten there (and what you can pass on).
I first fell in love with Mayhem & Stout at the Vendy Awards where they were nominated in the new market vendor category. I followed them to Madison Square Eats and now they have a booth at the Columbus Circle Market. They have a rotating menu of braised meats with your choice of sauce and a topping. The sandwiches are $9-10 for a whole and $5-6 for a half sandwich.
The braised brisket with pickled onions and horseradish is a classic choice, it’s one of the sandwiches they brought to the Vendys, so you know it’s good.
I was pleased to discover that the half sandwich (sorry for the messy post-transit pic) was a respectable size as well. The bun was a decent size, probably comparable to a regular hamburger bun instead of a slider bun. I ordered the lamb with tahini mayo and pickled onions on the recommendation of the lady at the booth and it was a very good call.
A lot of times when you get a half sandwich at these fairs you end up, well, kind of hungry. And I can say that this half sandwich paired with a red lentil soup ($4) from the Mmm…Enfes booth made for a satisfying lunch. And how about that soup? Turkish red lentil soup is one of my all-time favorite soups. I usually get my fix at Dervish Turkish, but they’re really more of a sit down business lunch sort of spot, so it was nice to be able to easily pick up a soup and go. The red lentil soup was a bit thinner than the one I’m used to from Dervish, but plenty lemony and very good nonetheless. I understand from one of the ladies at the booth that everyone has a slightly different recipe for the classic dish.
At the recommendation of the lady at the booth, I also tried the potato gözleme ($7), a square, spiced potato-stuffed phyllo pastry that’s heated on the grill and then rolled up so you can eat it like a wrap sandwich. They recommend adding a little hot sauce (which they’ll do for you on request before they roll it up for you and if you like your lunch with a spicy kick, I can definitely recommend taking them up on it. If you have a lighter appetite you could probably get away with just the gözleme, but if you tend to favor a heavier lunch, again I’d recommend supplementing with the soup. That will put you a dollar over the ML limit, but it’s a lunch that will keep you going.
For vegetarians you can make a meal out of a hefty $5 spinach and cheese bourek, a phyllo dough stuffed with spinach, ricotta and feta and a soup and still clock in under the ML limit at $9. If you love the Greek spanokopita, a bourek is similar, though a bit less flakey.
Bar Suzette was doing some impressive burger business and for burger lovers with a serious appetite they may represent the best value. They were serving $6 thick patty organic cheese burgers with arugula and tomato on a brioche bun with spicy or garlicky aioli (if desired). You can add assorted toppings bacon, grilled onions, mushrooms, and jalapeños for $1 or an organic egg for $2. The burgers are cooked to order.
While I was waiting for a regular burger, I spied another customer ordering the “Park Royale Burger” which for $10 comes with two patties and unlimited toppings–including the egg. It was a sight to behold the assembly.
I was especially eager to try the sandwiches from the Fat Beagle after seeing one on the holiday market Facebook page. I ordered the pepper vinegar pulled pork with the green apple coleslaw and the roasted Brussels sprout ($8).
True to the menu it’s actually a slider rather than a sandwich. The pork had a nice peppery kick and if you’re a ‘slaw fan, their version was nice and crunchy, rather than soggy. The slider looked small, but it was fairly well stuffed with meat. That said, I would rate my Mayhem & Stout lunch, some sort of Mmm…Enfes combo or the burger as more filling and probably a better option for the bargain conscious lunch’r.
Lastly I was lured into the line for the bratwurst at the German Delights booth. The bratwurst was $6.50. Add an extra buck if you want sauerkraut or onions. It was a decent sized brat, though a bit small for it’s bun and it came right off the grill so it was nice and hot inside. Still…at a “German Delights” booth I was expecting some authentic sinus-clearing German mustard and I don’t know about you, but that looks like French’s in the photo to me. Unless you’re dying for a bratwurst, I would suggest giving this one a pass in favor of the other booths, especially since midtown is lucky enough to be the year round home of the fantastic Hallo Berlin cart, where you can get some true German delights, housemade mustard, sauerkraut and onions included!)
Columbus Circle Market, now through December 24th
Monday – Saturday, 10:00am to 8:00pm
Sunday, 10:00am to 7:00pm