Events — 23 September 2016
Urbanspace Garment District: Now Open For Fall

How many times have you found yourself hungry and stranded in a New York City neighborhood typically void of sufficient food options? The folks at Urbanspace are working to make sure that such a crisis never rears its ugly head. With pop-up food stalls inhabiting neighborhoods from Midtown to Madison Square, these brick-and-mortar restaurants have become the new food trucks, serving Instagram worthy fast-casual fare to the relentlessly moving masses. Monday marked the spawn of the 2016 Fall season for Urbanspace Garment District which boasts more than a dozen different options in a part of town with a dearth of notable eateries.

Situated right on Broadway from 37th Street to 38th Street, Urbanspace Garment District is just far enough south to avoid much of the Times Square and Theater District foot traffic and just north enough of Macy’s to avoid…well, anyone coming from Macy’s. On Wednesday evening our team sought out some of the block long market’s most delicious offerings just as most folks were on their way home from the office, deciding what to pick up en route for dinner. Pleasantly we stumbled onto an old favorite (they also are a popular stop inside Urbanspace Vanderbilt) when we spotted Hai Street Kitchen & Co whose exceptional “Sushi Burrito” is both so simplistic and so brilliant, it left us kicking ourselves that we hadn’t thought about the idea first. Wrapped delicately in seaweed and sticky rice which holds the ingredients in place, the “Slammin’ Salmon” ($13) packs in red cabbage and pickled jicama with cucumbers, romaine lettuce and fresh hunks of tataki salmon. The key to the ‘burrito’ though is the added splashes of gochujang sauce and the sprinkle of tempura flakes to give the generous portion a wonderful textural contrast.

Down the line we moved and tacos proved to be incredibly popular for this sea of commuters. Of the nearly half-dozen we dug into, the first standout came from Coney Shack, where the “Beer Battered Crunchy Fish” ($4.50) was absolutely excellent. The bulbous deep fried Southeast Asian style filet was layered with cabbage, cilantro, scallion red onion and lemongrass, with a smooth and creamy aioli bringing together all of the ingredients in expert fashion. Delicatessen Taco meanwhile (a sister offshoot of Latin restaurant Macondo) served up a “Brisket Pastrami Taco” ($5.50) replete with charred salsa verde, onion, cilantro and the topper- pickled mustard seeds which yielded a highly desired kick to the smoke-filled chunks of pink meat.

We watched as guests began to line up at the Meatball Obsession stall, pausing momentarily to catch our breath before grabbing another taco from Domo Taco and some super tasty bao buns from Kaya NYC. But alas, there was one remaining dish for us to sample – after devouring a massive ice cream sandwich from Melt Bakery because we have no will power. Jicama ‘California Street Food” had been doling out a mouthwatering dish with a small pink cocktail umbrella jutting from its top like a flagpole.

Eschewing more tacos and tostadas and even their empanadas, we managed to order their $12 “Pork Donut Slider.” An absolutely heaping portion of slow roasted pork was topped with pickled red cabbage and a smattering of arugula – enveloped between TWO grilled, maple-glazed doughnuts. The meshing of savory and sweet was delivered to our gaping mouths piping hot. The deliciously salty pork was perfectly seasoned and the doughnuts were soft and chewy. Tempted as we were to order an additional ‘Slider’ for the road, our stomachs had finally called it quits on us after an exercise in extreme gluttony. Though we can’t say for sure the next time we’ll be back at Urbanspace, its very existence does give us some additional incentive to make a trip out to the Garment District.

- Jane Van Arsdale

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