It was a glorious weekend to get outside and eat one's way through Smorgasburg's offerings, and thousands of people did exactly that as the annual event opened for the season to huge crowds in both Williamsburg and Prospect Park.
Most of this year's new vendors felt the people's love all weekend, especially (no surprise here) the Japanese Soufflé Pancake booth Fluffy’s, which was completely slammed both days. Debut sweet treats like the kombucha popsicles at The Better Pop and the Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls (and exceptional cookies) at Millers and Makers were also flying off the shelves. Since we’re talking about dessert, other pick hits and crowd favorites would include the Mango Ginger Kakigori at Bonsai, the new Bundt Cakes and Banana Toast at King Street, the Churros with Dulce de Leche at Dulcinea, and the Frozen Cheesecake Pops at Rubyzaar Baked.
With 100 different vendors setting up shop at both venues it's impossible to mention all of the highlights—exploring and trying random stuff is part of the fun—but two sandwiches I had from new vendors on Sunday were stellar: the Yolkel at Crack'd, which featured Tamagoyaki egg with pulled pork, pickled red onions, and housemade pimento cheese; and the namesake Sandes de Leitão at this Portuguese booth, a juicy and crackling suckling pig sandwich with black pepper sauce. The Cheesesteak at Federoff's, the Burger Supreme (at Burger Supreme), literally everything at Destination Dumplings (get the "around the world" platter to try it all), the vegan sandwiches at the A.T.M. Deli, the Lobster Roll at Red Hook Lobster Pound, and the Grilled Cheese at the previously mentioned Rubyzaar are all excellent choices as well. As are at least two dozen other things.
The Smorgasburg menu is mostly the same on both days, with some notable exceptions (you can only get those Millers and Makers cookies on Saturday in Williamsburg, for example), but the vibe is slightly different at the two venues. Williamsburg is a bit more frantic, with a lot more Instagramming going on and packs of young people. It also has a ton of seating, and a dramatic view of Manhattan from the "beach." Prospect Park is less central, and is relatively relaxed as the day begins, with lots of picnic blankets spread and little kids hanging out. Unlike Williamsburg's small, legally-separated bar area, you can bring your booze anywhere on the grounds here. This being the actual park, there are also a ton of very good dogs everywhere you turn.
Smorgasburg Williamsburg is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday at 90 Kent Avenue in East River State Park. Smorgasburg Prospect Park is open 11 to 6 every Sunday, and is located at Breeze Hill near East Drive and Lincoln Road. Go to either right at 11 for maximum enjoyment. The smaller Smorgasburg WTC is open 11:30 to 7 pm. every Friday starting April 12, and is located at the Oculus Plaza. (smorgasburg.com)