KC Trommer attends Taste of the Seaport, the annual fall festival celebrating the burgeoning food and drink scene of Lower Manhattan.
Last Saturday afternoon, on what has become a long, late summer in New York, South Street Seaport’s cobblestoned Front Street was jammed with food and music, all in honor of the 8th Annual Taste of the Seaport, a celebration of everything edible and quaffable in the area that stretches out below Manhattan’s Financial District to the docks.
With over 40 area restaurants participating, the offerings ranged from the sweet—scoops of Bea Arthur from Big Gay Ice Cream and squares of chocolate mousse from Financier Patisserie—to the refined—from a delicate pear and gorgonzola fiocchi from Barbalu to a beautiful bowl lamb ragù from Da Claudio. At the end of many lines were sliders—those one-bite wonders—little beef burger towers, pairings of eggplant and ricotta, and be-bunned crab cakes. 11 Hanover Greek’s delicate spanakopita was offered alongside a second taste of meatballs, each worth a punch and a moment, on the corner of Front and Beekman, to close your eyes and savor.
The South Street Seaport Museum’s hearty corned beef and cabbage came with a side of whole grain mustard and a history lesson on which foods, like the day’s selection, would have been served on a 1906 crossing from London to New York in Third class and which, like Yorkshire pudding, would have been served in First. The answers were less obvious than you’d expect, though a Museum staffer noted that anything bready was likely going to third class while most items that might sound a bit suspect—ground fish intestines, anyone?—were likely served in first.
Speaking of crossing oceans and stations, visitors coming to Taste of the Seaport may have planned to load up their plates with seafood but most of the restaurants reflected gastropub feel of most Seaport-area restaurants. The area’s evolution from a salty, sometimes seedy, corner of Manhattan to a destination for fine dining is as surprising and, in this case, as welcome, as the annual festival’s plate after plate of delicious eats.
South Street Seaport is located at 19 Fulton Street, New York, 10038. Find out more about Taste of the Seaport at tasteoftheseaport.org and more about current and upcoming Seaport happenings at southstreetseaport.com.