Bigger is better for the Lower East Side’s Essex Street Market.
Now rechristened Essex Market, this new 37,000-square-foot venue is about three times the size of the old spot, which was located across the street. It features 37 vendors, 16 of which are newcomers.
Still, “we feel part of a community,” 52-year-old Pilar Rigon, of the new stand Mille Nonne, tells The Post.
The Roman chef’s stand, which means “a thousand grandmothers” in Italian, serves up Italian comfort foods with a healthy twist. Meatballs ($10 for four), for example, are lightened up with turkey, quinoa and spinach. Lasagna ($11) features a turkey Bolognese with lactose-free bechamel.
Other new additions to the market include Mideast-inflected Samesa, which slings pockets, wraps and plates with chicken shawarma, za’atar salmon or chickpea seitan (pockets from $7.35). Across the way, vendor Don Ceviche sells that popular Peruvian seafood dish, with options including shrimp ($12.99) and octopus ($13.99). There’s also vegan-cheese stand Riverdel, which sells a cashew-based pepper Billy cheese and a cashew-and-soy blue cheese for $8.25 per quarter-pound.
The market’s second level has food-hall-style seating for 215 people, up from the 39 seats at the old location.
“I’ve been to a lot of markets like this . . . and I think I will come back,” says 42-year-old patron Tim Nelson, who was seated upstairs enjoying bites of an $8 fried chicken and plantains dish from Dominican Cravings. “It seems comfortable.”
Other options are meant just for takeout. Essex Olive & Spice, located near the entrance, is the stop for olive oils, vinegars and spices. Run by 54-year-old Saad Bourkadi — a native of Fez, Morocco — the store offers bottles of olive oil sourced from his family’s farm outside of Fez. The most popular, he says, is the house special that’s infused with Parmesan, garlic, rosemary and pepper ($12.99). Spice varieties include a crimson-red Moroccan paprika ($3.99 for 1 ounce) “straight from Fez,” he says.
There are familiar faces, too, including the New Star Fish Market, which opened at the original Essex location in 1994. For something sweet, former vendor Roni-Sue’s Chocolates has returned with bite-size chocolate truffles ($3 apiece).
For owner Rhonda Kave, 66, the real treat is having old customers seeing her in the new location.
“People came through and were like, ‘I’m so happy to see you back!’ ” she says.
Essex Market, 88 Essex St.; EssexMarket.NYC
Source: Read Full Article