Opening day yesterday at Smorgasburg Queens was a huge success, with many of the 25 or so vendors selling out their entire stock by mid-afternoon. Among the first to go: the CHONUT at Kim Chi Smoke, a cheese-glazed donut filled with pulled pork, brisket, smoked kimchee. If you got there after 1 p.m. like me, you just flat missed it, but fortunately others were more on the ball with the awesome-food-eating skills, so at least we know what this beast looks like.
Thankfully, I wasn't too late to grab a bowl of one of Keizo Shimamoto's brand new creations at his Ramen Shack. Shimamoto will be serving three different varieties each week at his seven-seat counter, and if they're all as good as my phenomenal bowl of Chuukasoba, a classic Shoyu--really, these noodles are instant contenders for the best in town--Ramen Shack will be packed all summer.
Already home to a balut stand, Smorgasburg Queens adds another legendary dare-food to its menu, the foul-smelling durian fruit, served in an ice cream "treat" at KULU, which I tried for the first time and freely admit will never eat again. What I WILL be getting again is Sugar Freak Astoria's deep-fried Chocolate Coconut Pudding, a crazy-sweet cold/hot/creamy/crunchy delight.
The outdoor space here, basically rubble just a few night ago, was in great shape, with a lawn's-worth of sod laid down and a couple of picnic tables placed at one end. Be warned, however, that there is zero shade to be had on the lot itself, and many people took refuge on the sidewalk under a tree. And no, they didn't pull a Rosie's at Smorgasburg Queens and crank up the air conditioning on thie inside in an effort to cool the outside.
The biggest news of the day, however, was the speed with which so much of the food was gone. All the vendors I spoke with who sold out early—including RandR and their S'Mores, and Grandpa Val's BBQ, who re-upped right after noon and then was cleaned out a second time—were pretty stunned by the success of the day, and are likely to bring more next week. Still, though, it seems as if getting here early, like before noon, is the way to go to avoid disappointment.
Smorgasburg Queens is located at 43-29 Crescent Street in Long Island City, a quick walk from the G, 7, N, Q, E, M, and R trains. It will be open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through at least September.