Street Meet: Smorgasburg in Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Every weekend, as hordes of hungry diners wait in line for brunch, Extra Crispy will hit the pavement, visiting a neighborhood’s most popular spots and talking to people who love the meal as much as we do. For this installment of Street Meet, Extra Crispy went to Smorgasburg in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.
Kate, 28, and Brianna, 28
Extra Crispy: I wanted to come over because it seems like you’ve got a nice set-up here. How long have you been sitting here?
Kate: We got here not even half an hour ago.
Brianna: We’ve been coming to this for a while, so we have a system. We do a lap, and we kind of know what we want because there are certain things we look forward to, and then we pick out what we want. We always bring a blanket so we have somewhere to be. But usually it’s really crowded in here. We usually go out into the park, so this is nice that it’s less crowded today.
What is your go-to?
Both: These fries.
Brianna: Definitely these fries. And usually, the line is really, really long, but today, the French fry gods smiled on us.
What kind of dipping sauce is it?
Kate: It’s lemon aioli, and they are truffle parmesan fries.
Oh, damn. OK, I might have to get that.
Brianna: Definitely check them out.
Lance, 23, Andrew, 23, Cindy, 24, and Vivian, 24
Extra Crispy: How was the raindrop cake?
Andrew: It’s not what I expected in a good way. I expected to be more like an actual cake, but the way that it’s prepared, it’s more like clear jelly, like kind of tasteless.
Lance: The jelly was bland. It had no flavor, so that’s why you have the powder or the green tea, whatever you got with it.
Cindy: I did find it refreshing, though, so that’s an upside of it.
Is this the first thing you’ve eaten today?
Lance: That was the first thing we ate when we got here.
Andrew: We actually came here two months ago. That was the only thing they didn’t have. So now we came back, and we figured we’d beeline for it.
And it lived up to the hype?
Lance: I had no idea, so I had no expectations.
Vivian: It’s interesting. I think I was the most excited for it, and I dragged them over. And then I got it, and I definitely liked it.
Cindy: It’s good for the summer.
Are you going in for another round?
Andrew: We’re going to take a break, maybe one or two hours before we hit up round two.
Oh, that’s very humane. Like, a two hour break between courses?
Cindy: I don’t know if that’s going to happen. [Laughs] It’s going to be ten minutes it, while walking, and he’s going to be, like, ‘Oh, I’m hungry.’
What is the appeal of Smorgasburg?
Lance: It’s something new for me.
Andrew: It has a big hype.
Cindy: A lot of different foods, so it’s nice to explore.
Vivian: Then there’s all the hyped foods. I like taking pictures and putting them on Instagram, so…
Did you Instagram a picture of the raindrop cake?
Vivian: I’ll probably Instagram everything together later. Everything I’m eating, I’m just taking it and snapping it.
Cindy: She wouldn’t let us eat it!
Andrew: We had to wait for permission before we could devour anything.
Vivian: They don’t really understand. [Laughs]
Justin, 29, and Leah, 28
Leah: We had to make a whole round before we decided what we wanted to eat, but as soon as I saw the coconut, I was like, yes. I’ve never had a coconut.
Extra Crispy: How is it? Is it living up to the expectations?
Leah: Yeah, it’s amazing.
What else have you eaten today?
Leah: We’re just starting at Brunch Street.
Justin: We’re getting the West, which is a quail egg with parmesan and truffles on a stick.
Leah: They have this little egg maker, just five little tiny things in a row. And they cook each egg individually, and they put it on a stick for you. Never even seen anything like it.
Justin: But with parmesan and truffles, so the truffles sold it. Always.
What do you like eating after a one-night stand?
Leah: I always like a good pancake after a hard night’s work. Or depending on, if it didn’t live up to expectations, pancakes always live up to expectations.
Helen, 30, and Vrish, 34
Extra Crispy: What are you eating today?
Vrish: So we’re having mangos with chili and salt. It’s amazing. We both grew up in South Africa, in the same city.
Helen: We’re from Durban.
Vrish: So this reminds us of home. It’s a common little treat after the main meal, so it’s really cool.
What is the appeal of Smorgasburg?
Vrish: It’s relaxed. People are here to have a good time. Food’s great. New York, it’s like, you really have to be at the top of your game if you’re doing anything in the food business here, so there’s not been a disappointment I’ve had here, the entire time.
And you’re just quietly eating your mango, which probably means it’s delicious.
Helen: [Nods and laughs] So good. I love mangoes, and I love mangoes with chili.
Vrish: It’s amazing. So many memories.
Emily, 24, Tom, 24, Adam, 24, and Johanna, 24
What seems to be the game plan so far?
Tom: So I’m a big duck person. I really want to go to Duck Season, maybe get some duck confit again. I’ve had it before though, so I’m leaning toward it right now just because I’m familiar with it. But I also really want to go get a doughnut. Where’s the doughnut?
Johanna: Yeah, Dough!
Tom: The Dough doughnut. I really want a hibiscus doughnut. So that’s my plan today probably.
Is there anything you’re excited to eat?
Adam: I don’t know yet. I just made the rounds, and I always debate if I want breakfast or lunch at this time. So there’s a cheesesteak stand, but I don’t even know what time it is. It’s 12:13.
Tom: It might be too hot for cheesesteaks.
Adam: Yeah, it’s probably too hot for cheesesteaks. But I was definitely intrigued by the cheesesteak stand.
Is there anything else you’ve heard about that you’re interested to see or try?
Emily: I’ve had the jianbing before, and it’s really good because it’s both breakfast and lunch in my mind.
I feel like that’s the key: finding the food that’s right for the heat and right for the time of day. Any other thoughts?
Adam: I don’t have any others, other than I think it’s really funny that it’s called Smorgasburg in all places. It would probably be confusing to many people if they were visiting and put it into Google Maps, which I almost did this morning—and I live here.
Feroza, 25, and Hassina, 23
Extra Crispy: How’s the lobster roll? I can see the claw.
Hassina: Really good.
Feroza: I’ve literally—It is amazing! I’ve never had one as great as this. It’s so good.
Hassina: I think the butter is what really makes it so good. It melts your mouth as you bite.
Is this the first thing you’ve eaten today?
Hassina: Yeah, we walked from… Where did we walk from?
Feroza: From the opposite side of the park.
Hassina: We had trouble getting here, but this is what we were looking forward to. Like, we’re burning calories so we can get here. [Laughs]
So do you have any plans for round two, round three, round four, round five?
Hassina: We’re going to eat this in the shade, and then we’re going to walk around and see what else we’re going to get. But there’s going to be a lot of rounds.
Carson, Owner of Outer Borough
Extra Crispy: I saw the signs you posted saying you’re waiting for power. I was a little curious about what that meant. You’re literally waiting for a generator right now?
Carson: Yeah, waiting for a generator. Waiting on some slackers here at the market who didn’t want to fix the problem early in the morning.
And you do scallion pancakes?
We make scallion pancake sandwiches. We take scallion pancakes, and we stuff them with homemade sauces, fresh vegetables, toppings, roasted meats.
How long has Outer Borough been open?
This is the third year, actually. We’re exclusively at Smorgasburg, but we do a lot of food events, food festivals, pop-ups, weddings, catering.
So what is the appeal of Smorgasburg to you, as an owner?
I think it’s the Disney World of food. You come here, and there’s so much going on. You get to ride each different ride, and everyone’s different.
Is there anything that you’ve really loved?
My favorite is actually not here today, but it’s Chickpea and Olive. They’re a vegan diner. They’re doing something very special, just different and delicious.
I hope you get power back soon, though.
I know, it really sucks. It actually takes 30 minutes to warm up, so it’s going to take even more time.