In its five-year existence, the Brooklyn Fleaand particularly its food-centric offspring, Smorgasburghas become more than a biweekly excuse to eat to artisanally crafted excess. Its both a chronicler and arbiter of current culinary trends (I tasted four different pimento cheeses this winter, says Flea co-founder and gatekeeper Eric Demby, who also records unprecedented growth in yogurt, hot sauce, and southern comfort food); a vehicle for established restaurants to expand their brands and for restless kitchen grunts to strike out on their own; and, judging by this years roster, a magnet for disillusioned lawyers desperate to trade the courtroom for the commissary kitchen. When Smorgasburg reopens on Saturday, April 6, it will be located one block north of its prior digs on the Williamsburg waterfront, within the grounds of East River State Park at Kent Avenue and North 7th Street. The slightly larger space allows for fifteen to twenty additional vendors, totaling 110 to 115 each week. These will include the debuts of restaurant brands like Baohauss congee, Brooklyn Wok Shops soup dumplings, and Kyotofus fresh tofu, plus brand-new ventures showcasing flavors from around the world: Daal Houses Kerala-style legumes and rice, Dejis Korean pub food and foie gras beignets, NYShuks hand-rolled couscous, and Scharf & Zoyers noodle-kugel sandwiches and other revived relics of Jewish dairy cuisine. (Amid all the Smorgasburg hubbub, dont forget the Fort Greene Flea, also commencing April 6, where the defunct Noho sandwich shop Crosby Connection will resurrect itself.) To whet your appetite, heres a preview of six first-time Smorgasburgers.
*This article originally appeared in the April 8, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.