A sneak peek at the best new vendors coming to Smorgasburg this year 

This weekend, April 5 and 6, Brooklyn’s now-venerable (but still sprightly and fun) weekly food market Smorgasburg launches its 14th season, setting up shop in Marsha P. Johnson Park on the Williamsburg waterfront on Saturdays, and atop Breeze Hill in Prospect Park on Sundays.

The lineup of vendors this year is Smorgasburg’s most extensive since 2018, with more than 70 small businesses, including dozens of first-generation immigrant and/or family-run outfits, slinging everything from birria to baos to bivalves to barbecue and beyond.

Lots of longtime Smorg favorites will be on hand both days in Brooklyn, like Destination Dumplings, Noodle Lane, Home Frite, Federoff’s Cheesesteaks and Bona Bona ice cream. But it’s the newcomers that keeps the market feeling vital each year, and this season’s incoming class is loaded with hits. Here’s a look at a few of the dishes we tasted at a special new vendor preview last week. Note that some of what you see here are “sample sizes,” and that prices are not yet set.

One of my favorite things to eat in all of New York City is chef Ferehiwot Sheffield’s phenomenal sega wet, a fiery berbere beef stew that she serves with tangy greens and sets atop the best injera — that spongy, fermented Ethiopian flatbread — I’ve ever had. I first feasted from Sheffield’s Emeye Ethiopian Cuisine tent at the Queens Night Market two years ago, and am so glad she’ll now be in Brooklyn all summer too, on both Saturdays and Sundays.

Sega wet from Emeye Ethiopian Cuisine (Photo by Scott Lynch)

“I learned to cook from my grandmom and mom,” Sheffield tells Brooklyn Magazine. “I moved here 10 years ago from Addis Ababa, living first in Red Hook, and now in Sunnyside, Queens. That’s why I started at the Queens Night Market; I wanted to share my food with my neighbors. Now I’m doing it full time, expanding to Smorgasburg, because we love Brooklyn. Brooklyn is cool.”

Like any self-respecting Brooklynite, Renee Davis, born and raised in Flatbush, loves to eat doubles, that iconic Trinidadian street food usually made with just curried chickpeas stuffed inside some fluffy flatbread known as barra. It makes for a perfect snack or side dish, but at Davis’s Double(s) or Nuthin’ tent in Prospect Park, she’s upping the ante by loading her doubles with things like curried goat, shrimp curry, tamarind and peppa sauces, and mango chow, and they are superb. It’s a full meal. Give this woman a storefront for these beasts!

Up next … a bagel booth? I know. What’s so special about that? Ah, but have you ever had one of Will Sacks and Lanty Hou’s awesome gochujang sandwiches, topped with a chive kimchi schmear and soy braised quail egg from their Sunday stand in McGolrick Park? Or, even better, a miso everything bagel with wasabi cream cheese and smoked tuna? If so, then you know why Bagel Joint rules. If not, make this place a priority on Saturdays in Williamsburg.

Miso everything bagel with wasabi cream cheese and smoked tuna from Bagel Joint NYC (Photo by Scott Lynch)

Chef Tyler Thrift grew up in Ettrick, Virginia, population 7,241, where the best (and pretty much only) place to go was the Ettrick Deli, a community gathering space that happened to serve some great food. Here on Sundays at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, population 2.7 million, Thrift hopes to recreate that small town welcoming vibe with his Virginia Smashburgina stand, starring a gorgeous double-patty smashburger, laden with fried onions, melted American, mustard, and — key ingredient — a punchy three-pepper relish.

Double smashburger from Virginia Smashburgina (Photo by Scott Lynch)

Jatee Kearsley, who I first met at her delightful Bed-Stuy bakery, will now also be putting her “Black girl spin” on classic French pastries every Sunday in Prospect Park. There will be croissants galore at the Je T’Aime Pâtisserie stand, including her signature heart-shaped beauty filled with strawberry shortcake cream and topped with strawberry and vanilla streusel, and a churro-inspired creation stuffed with spicy chocolate. You may be asking yourself: are these breakfast or dessert? Well, yes.

Fried chicken sando with mac salad from Kalihi (Photo by Scott Lynch)

George Kaya may be from Turkey, but oh man does this guy know how to make the most famous pastries of Portugal. You can find Kaya’s pastéis de nata every Sunday in Prospect Park at the Lisbonata tent. They are phenomenal, the perfect balance between the flaky, chewy, all-butter crust and the bold, gooey, custardy fillings. Core flavors include a tart raspberry and a luscious pistachio cream, but there will be weekly specials as well. Bring home a six-pack and be a dinnertime hero.

Chocolate and pistachio cream pastéis de nata from Lisbonata (Photo by Scott Lynch)

You’ll find plenty of other good newcomers this season as well, such as the insane Colombian-style hot dogs at Perro Slang Food, the lively Korean fried chicken at Twig’m, the deeply satisfying Hawaii food (like octopus tacos and garlic-soy chicken sandwiches with macaroni salad) from Monique Cadavona’s Kalihi, and some first-rate pani puri from the family-operated Bom Bae booth.

The ‘mi perro’ monster from Perro Slang Food (Photo by Scott Lynch)

Two new offerings that weren’t available for sampling, but that I’m pretty confident will be great: Anthony “Hen House” Nassif’s Poutine Dauphine stand, with potato puffs (not fries!) loaded with things like cheese curds and Montreal smoked meat; and Wings by Chef Picky, known for both his Everything Oxtail Smorg booth and his Flatbush restaurant Ariapita, and now selling duck wings, chicken wings and turkey legs in an array of sauces.

Pani puri and Dahi puri from Bom Bae (Photo by Scott Lynch)

Starting this weekend and running through October, Smorgasburg will be at Marsha P. Johnson Park on the Williamsburg waterfront on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and at Breeze Hill in Prospect Park on Sundays, also from 11 to 6.

The post A sneak peek at the best new vendors coming to Smorgasburg this year  appeared first on Brooklyn Magazine.

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