38th Annual – 9th Avenue International Festival
9th Avenue from 42nd St – 57th St
New York, NY
785 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10019
NATIONAL HAMBURGER MONTH
Every 3rd weekend of May, 9th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, is shut down to vehicle traffic and for a mile and a half of food and drinks. It beckons the start of summer as the first real outdoor weekend event of the year. American, Moroccan, Greek, Spanish, Cuban, Japanese, Thai, Italian, German, Argentina and all kinds of other international cuisines are present. It is a veritable cornucopia of self-indulgent gluttony. It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year and a privilege of being a New Yorker. Strap on your feedbags and get ready for some food porn.
If you want to read my review from the 36th Annual and also the 37th Annual 9th Avenue International Food Festival, you’ll see there are a lot of repeats, but it’s kind of like celebrating past times an old friend. But those are the moments that keep us connected. As May is National Hamburger Month, “9th Ave Fest” (as it’s nicknamed) it seemed like the perfect place to hunt one down.
The Brickyard Gastropub is a staple of 9th Ave Fest. It’s central location, great selection of craft beer, wide open store front and friendly staff make it a great pit stop or meeting spot for the event. This year however, the Brickyard kicked it up a notch by adding not only an outdoor beer garden but also (drum roll please!)… Kobe Sliders! Thankfully the line was short and the Burgers were coming off the grill as they were ordered. Nothing like a tasty grab and go at 9th Ave Fest! For fans of the Brickyard, they only offer Burgers on their lunch menu and no where on it, will you find any Kobe. All the more reason to grab one or two or seventeen of them at the Fest. The little sliders, which are technically mini-burgers, NOT sliders (to learn more about the difference, read this post on East Coast Gambler) were about a 2 bite size and really juicy. They Kobe Beef was sweeter than regular Beef and topped with a small slice of Cheddar Cheese. It was held in a tiny little Bun turning my signature “Left Hand Grab” into more of a “Left Hand Pinch.”
These Kobe mini-Burgers were so good, that I may clean up and head out into the rain with the sole purpose of getting one more before they are gone!
- Mozzarepas – The STAR of the 9th Avenue International Food Festival – 9 out of 10
- Pulled Pork Sandwich from Come N’ Get It BBQ – 5 out of 10
- Grilled Corn On the Cob with Butter, Parmesan Cheese, Spices, Lemon, Salt & Pepper – 9 out of 10 (my fave item at the fest!!)
- Onion Bloom with Dipping Sauce – 8 out of 10
- Spicy & Vodka Sauce Meatballs from Merilu Pizza Al Metro – 7 out of 10
- “Carne A La Llanera” (Smoked Flank Steak) & Fried Red Skin Potato from Mateo’s Grill – 8 out of 10
- Cheese and Potato Pierogies with Sour Cream and Horseradish from Millie’s – 8 out of 10
- Cheese Empanadas– 3 out of 10
Part of the fun of doing the fest is also hanging out and having drinks in all of the great bars on 9th Ave, especially the ones with outdoor set ups for the event. Here is a partial list of some of our faves (including The Brickyard above.)
751 9th Ave
Right in the middle of the festival, always has outdoor seating and cheap draft beers.
The Gaf West
401 West 48th St
A true locals fave and a great place to hang especially after the food vendors shut down. Owners Pete & Pat make this a really great bar to hang out in and meet up with people.
Molloy’s Irish Pub
737 9th Avenue
Hell’s Kitchen was built on the back’s of Irish Immigrants and no bar crawl in the “HK” is complete without stopping into one of the best Irish Pub’s in the hood.
815 9th Avenue
With an entire wall of beer taps, this is a craft beer lover’s dream. Be sure to try some of their Landjäger (cured German beer Sausage) with German Senf (Mustard.)
Who to avoid (unless you believe Judgment Day is going to happen on May 21, 2011)
No idea why, but I couldn’t stop watching this puppet show:
THE BURGER COUNTQUEST
May 14, 2011 -4:19 PM
NATIONAL HAMBURGER MONTH
Gossip Bar & Restaurant
733 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10019-7535
The Festival is 2 days long and try as you may, with a 5 hour time frame, there is just no way you can eat ALL of the the tasty vittles offered at the 9th Avenue International Food Festival. A return trip for the 2nd day is mandatory if you’re a true Navigeater. After a decent night’s sleep and a shower, I was ready to head back in for more eats!
As I noted above, there’s a whole bunch of Irish Bars in Hell’s Kitchen and Gossip is perhaps one of the biggest. The place has a front bar, back restaurant and a 2nd floor bar that can be rented out for private events. It’s a center point for the festival and a very popular location for neighborhood reunions.
As I walked down 9th Avenue looking for a Burger, I happened across their street side outdoor bar when my nose caught whiff of a backyard BBQ. I pulled over to see 3 large backyard grills and a sign that read “Black Angus Burgers $3.” Sounded good to me! I was amazed to get a perfectly cooked medium rare burger at 9th Avenue Fest. Best burger I’ve had here. Although there was way too much bread, the Burger itself had a great backyard BBQ char-broil taste.
- Kicking off Day #2 by anointing the festival with my Grilled Corn On the Cob Scepter, covered in Butter, Parmesan Cheese, Spices, Lemon, Salt & Pepper – 9 out of 10 (my fave item at the fest!!)
- BBQ Meatballs from the Ember Room – 6 out of 10
- Bavarian Meatballs and Spätzle from Hallo Berlin – 8 out of 10
- Lemonade – 7 out of 10
- Frozen Mozzarepas for home – ask me once we cook them up!
THE BURGER COUNTQUEST
May 15, 2011 – 4:51 pm