BTR Checks Out Mad. Sq. Eats


By Dane Feldman

Additional Contributors: Lottie Leymarie, Tanya Silverman, Michele Bacigalupo, Molly Freeman, and Samantha Spoto

Late last week, BTR took its talents to the biannual foodie haven that is the Mad. Sq. Eats pop-up located across from Madison Square Park and the Flatiron Building. On a particularly sunny afternoon, BTR staffers tasted a wide variety of food, drinks, and desserts.

Here’s what we had to say about it all:

Lottie Leymarie’s Take

Photo by Jeremiah McVay.

After several laps around the tents at Mad. Sq. Eats, I decided to stop at Mayhem & Stout. I had heard about their storefront location in Murray Hill, but had never tried it. I figured today was the perfect opportunity. Mayhem & Stout specializes in slow braised meats over sandwiches, salads, and rice bowls. Braised meat is normally seared, then slow cooked in an acidic juice, making the meat extremely tender and juicy.

I decided on the braised pulled chicken banh mi. It had a delicious garlic aioli, cilantro, crunchy fried onions, and some sort of slaw. I wouldn’t eat the sandwich on a first date, it was extremely messy and the aioli was dripping everywhere, including on my clothes, but that was part of the experience! Would I try it again? Sure! Would I try something different? Yes! Maybe the pulled pork…

Tanya Silverman’s Take

Photo by Tanya Silverman.

Two rolls and one salad from Two Tablespoons were what I ate at the pop-up food market of Madison Square. All edible options, vegetarian and gluten-free, were fresh and refreshing. The quinoa roll was spiced by some tasty turmeric, while the adjacent roll wrapped ingredients of excellent textures: spongy tofu met by crunchy cabbage. All in all, my selection at Two Tablespoons was a fine meat-free feast.

Michele Bacigalupo’s Take

Photo by Michele Bacigalupo.

The Kale and Sweet Potato Wrap from Bombay Sandwich Co. caught my eye immediately from its description. Prepared within minutes from the time I ordered it, the wrap was ideal for the hot spring day. I had no trouble eating the sandwich as I wandered around the outdoor market. Unlike most wraps that I come into contact with, this one did not fall apart whatsoever as I demolished its contents. The sweet potato added a delectable taste alongside a serving of crunchy cranberries and beets.

I chose to accompany my meal with an Avery White Rascal beer from the craft beer kegs at Nunu Chocolates. The golden wheat beer paired perfectly with my superfood wrap. I will certainly be returning to Mad. Sq. Eats to try and recreate (and maybe even top) today’s meal.

Molly Freeman’s Take

Photo by Molly Freeman.

Since I’ve been to Madison Square Eats a few times in the last two years, I’ve tried a handful of the regular vendors–like Mexicue and Asiadog–that occupy the small space of foodie heaven. For this BTR outing, I decided to try something different so I went for Mayhem & Stout as well as People’s Pops.

I ordered the Golden Girl sandwich with short rib brisket, golden barbecue mustard, and house pickles as well as Mayhem & Stout’s Rosemary Limeade. The limeade was a good mix of sour and sweet that’s perfect for hot summer days in New York City. As for the sandwich, it was fresh and delicious, with tender brisket–I wouldn’t expect anything less from a vendor that specializes in “slow braised sandwiches.” Similar to Lottie’s experience, the sandwich was a bit messy, but well worth it.

Photo by Molly Freeman.

For dessert, I got the Raspberry Apricot ice pop from People’s Pops. There were bits of shredded fruit within the icy treat that made it taste especially refreshing. However, I wish I’d gone for the shaved ice that this particular vendor is known for–although, there’s always next time.

Samantha Spoto’s Take

Photo by Dane Feldman.

I hit up Mad. Sq. Eats for the first time this week and found myself overwhelmed by all the delicious smells and colorful foods. I would say that I am definitely a cat person, but I decided to try the highly raved-about Asiadog, which fuses the traditional American hot dog with “Asian-inspired toppings.” I ordered the Wangding with Chinese BBQ pork belly and scallions. Each bite was a flavorful surprise that made me question my strong ambivalence toward the edible dog.

To cool down on this particularly warm afternoon, I stopped by Melt Bakery‘s cart for an ice cream sandwich. Get this: maple ice cream between two baked-to-perfection maple bacon cookies. My sweet tooth was tingling all the way back to the office.

Dane Feldman’s Take

Photo by Dane Feldman.

Last year, I made a beeline for the Red Hook Lobster Pound stand to get my hands on a Connecticut lobster roll, but this year I thought I’d explore a bit more. Like Lottie, I chose to take a few laps around Mad. Sq. Eats before making any official decisions. Yes, of course, I take it quite seriously.

When I was finished debating, I chose to hop on the short line at Asiadog alongside Samantha. Instead of the Wangding, I ordered the Mash: a classic beef dog topped with spicy ketchup, jalapeno mustard, and crushed salt and pepper potato chips. This dog was damn good and if it weren’t for the sake of tasting from other stands, I would have promptly ordered a second.

Instead, I then ventured to Uma Temakeria, stopping at Cannibal on the way to grab the highly anticipated Narragansett Del’s Shandy, but more on this later in the week.

Photo by Dane Feldman.

At Uma Temakeria, I went for the tuna and spicy mayo hand roll with brown rice. The hand roll was delicious and jam-packed with tuna.

Let’s just say that when we all return to Mad. Sq. Eats, we’ll have a hard time not ordering the same items we ordered during this trip.

The event is open this year until May 28 and it will reopen on September 4.

For more on Mad. Sq. Eats, look for tonight’s photoblog, or check out our Flickr account.