4 TIPS FOR EATING YOUR WAY THROUGH NY FOOD HALLS' by Sandy Nasif
Gotham West Market, City Kitchen, The Plaza Food Hall, UrbanSpace Vanderbilt, and now The Pennsy (NYC’s newest food hall above Penn Station). How do you navigate through all the deliciousness that exists in these NY food halls?
The days of walking into a food court and finding a Burger King or Subway are over! Food halls have been reinvented and it’s a welcomed change. Some call them modern, others call them gourmet, but one thing is certain, they are here to stay. Walking into a food hall you are immediately overwhelmed but all the options. Your first instinct is to try one of everything (always my go-to strategy) but then reality sets in. Here is how you can make the most of your visit without breaking the bank or adopting a second stomach.
Know before you go: With so many food options, it’s important to do a little research before you go. Prioritize which joints you want to check out. Reading reviews on Yelp or browsing through pictures on Instagram is a great way to get the 411 on the must-have bites.
Divide and Conquer: Invite your foodie friends to come along. Who you are with is just as part of the experience as what you are eating (unless it’s a peanut butter, chocolate doughnut topped with bacon, then it’s all about the doughnut). Divide and conquer by having each person purchase a dish from a different restaurant. Decide what each person is going to get so you don’t end up with 9 grilled cheeses (sorry cheese lovers). Trying a variety of cuisines is really the main benefit of going to a food hall. An Indian style burrito, a large bowl of hot pho, and a classic Italian pasta - best of all worlds!
Don’t be fooled by the long lines: If this is a spontaneous visit or if you just decided to skip tip #1, pay attention here. We all gravitate towards the places with the longest lines because we want to know what the hype is all about. Yes, these popular joints usually have tasty options but it doesn’t mean that others don’t. Sometimes they are brand new and haven’t built a following yet. Take the time to glance through all the menus and read tip #4…...
Chat it up: Talk to the employees beyond asking “what should I order?” Ask about where the ingredients come from or what inspired the dishes. You’ll be surprised how much more you appreciate the food once you learn about its culture. A lot of restaurants give samples or have secret menus but you won’t know until you ask.
Once you are full and happy (maybe post nap) write a review to help out the business and advise the rest of mankind on the must-haves.