Brooklyn Taco Closes Essex Street Market Stall (Updated 2/10)

Hester Street Fair Hatchlings Fly

In the current issue of our print magazine, we talked with Hester Street Fair food vendors who have gone on to success with permanent brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants. This summer, the weekly showcase of artisan food and crafts is set to launch even more new entrepreneurs, including chefs and bakers from an incubator kitchen in the Bronx who will be making their debuts at a special event during the July 20 fair. Click through to read the story.

LES Bites: Brooklyn Taco, Experimental Cocktails, Little Muenster, Dragon-Beard Candy

Some neighborhood food news to start off your week:

  • The New York Times looks at Brooklyn Taco in the Essex Street Market as a vibrant example of microlending in action.
  • Little Muenster, 100 Stanton Street, has launched a happy hour:  Tuesdays-Fridays from 4-7 p.m.  They’re offering 2-for-1 beers (Miller High Life and Corona) as well as $4 glasses of wine (in-box).
  • Those the fluffy white oblongs for sale at the market on Grand Street at Chrystie are “dragon-beard candy,” a rare treat made of spun sugar, peanuts and coconut. LauHound gives the local version a thumbs-up.

LES Bites: Brooklyn Taco, CULTUREfix, New Eats on the Bowery

Gothamist says Brooklyn Taco's tacos are better than California's. Photo by Cynthia Lamb.

There’s lots of restaurant news this week:

  • Brooklyn Taco in the Essex Street Market rates as “amazing” in a rave review. (Gothamist)
  • Chef Damon Cohen of wd~50 cooks at CULTUREfix on Jan. 10. (GrubStreet)
  • A preview of EMM Group’s plans for a Latin/Asian restaurant at 199 Bowery, up for discussion at Monday night’s CB3 SLA Committee. (Eater)
  • The “hotly anticipated” Bowery Diner is rumored to be opening Jan. 15. (Eater)

Braising Billy: Making the Most of Rich Goat Meat

Photo by Cynthia Lamb

I’m no stranger to goat meat; been eating and cooking the stuff for years. A Trini friend showed me how to marinate the meat in green spice and burn sugar on the bottom of the pot for curry goat. Later, I spent a year reverse-engineering the excellent (and sadly no longer on the menu) sofrito-based cabrito guisado served at El Castillo de Jagua. I’ve proudly served goat to family and friends, including a few rock stars.

The goat meat available in supermarkets sometimes bears a suspicious resemblance to mutton (tough and fatty). It couldn’t be a bait and switch, could it?  (Butcher friends hinted it might be in some cases).  Those who want to be sure of getting goat instead of mutton labeled as goat are wise to buy from a butcher.

Heritage Meats, Brooklyn Taco Come to Essex Market

Heritage Meats, Essex Street Market. Photo by Cynthia Lamb.

I was among those gutted when Jeffrey Ruhalter closed his iconic Essex Street Market butcher shop. The market lost one of its colorful characters that day, not to mention the most direct link with its history, aside from the building itself. The market was left with a gaping big space (not to mention some big empty shoes) to fill. Big enough that it took two businesses to do it: Brooklyn Taco and Heritage Foods. Both are now open, and both should be on your list of places to visit soon.

Meat Shop, Tacos Come to Essex Street Market

Shoppers at the Essex Street Market are discovering some exciting new options. The most conspicuous addition is the Heritage Meat Market, which is just now setting up in a portion of the space once occupied by longtime Essex Market vendor Jeffrey’s Meats.

The new market is run by Heritage Foods, the 10-year Brooklyn company set up to support family farms producing high quality, humanely raised meat products. Heritage Meats doesn’t officially open until next week, but they were passing out some delicious ham sandwiches earlier today. There are even some former employees of Jeffrey’s behind the counter.

Also open now, right next to the meat market, is Brooklyn Taco (see our previous coverage).  While they’ve soft opened, an official grand opening is still a few weeks away. And finally, a Japanese deli is coming to a tiny space across from Batista Market. Yesterday, there were free samples of various soy-based drinks. We’re told there will be a selection of fresh meats, fish and vegetables sold here once all of the city permits are approved.

We’ll have more on all of these new businesses soon.


Brooklyn Taco

Photo by Cynthia Lamb.

Photo by Cynthia Lamb.

Cusine: Mexican
Address: 120 Essex St., Essex Street Market/map
Phone: 646-820-8226
Hours:  Daily 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Menu/web site
Reservations: no
Delivery: no

Jesse Kramer, a French Culinary School grad, and Erica Molina first impressed taco aficionados on the Lower East Side at the Hester Street Fair. Their creations, featuring super-fresh ingredients, are now offered up from a stall at the back of the Essex Street Market.  The guaco taco, with avocado, sweet corn and crema, is a crowd pleaser.  The cola braised pork is a winner, too. There are only three stools, so lunchtime at Brooklyn Taco is a tight squeeze.  But Jesse is a great guy who aims to please and who keeps the line moving. Extra bonus: the place serves Blue Bottle coffee.


Mentions on The Lo-Down

JP’s Food Adventures: Heritage Meats, Brooklyn Taco Come to Essex Street Market