Whilst walking the cold and windy streets of Brooklyn recently I popped into a shopping complex to catch a break; that’s when I stumbled upon a paradise that would leave me momentarily speechless.
The escalators seemed to lull on by, as though slowly delivering you to your fate, and as the anticipation grew to see what secrets hid below, I found myself actually bending my knees to get a little lower in order to get a glimpse sooner of the secrets this shopping complex basement had to offer.
Bright eyed and red faced from the cold, I stepped off of the elevator into what seemed like a food vendor party, but yet I’d soon learn that this party would happen daily, and find myself taking three long trips during the week.
To get any sort of picture of this place that can even come close to scratching the real deal is pretty impossible; the only way I believe I could bring this food mecca to you is by recording a video of the whole basement.
With no video in this photo rich article, I will try my best to paint the picture on the inside of your brain, in order to really bring you along for the ride – or you could just take my advise and go see for yourself.
It was a busy lunch time rush and I scanned around for my first eat; the sheer amount of cuisines and choices became more and more exciting with every vendor discovery.
Imagine Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Polish, straight up bbq, crepes, Spanish tapas, ice cream, desserts, grilled cheeses, wine vendors, craft beer vendors, seafood vendors, and a Pakistani vendor all in one place.
I mean, you can literally travel the world and all of its delights to a certain extent by just descending into the Deklab food hall.
With my stomach complaining from deep within, and my brain running at a thousands thoughts per second, I stopped in front of ‘Perogi boys’ and exhaled a breath of relief at the thought of soon having my first foodie bite of the day.
On the outside ‘Perogi boys’ was a quaint vendor that shone happiness with its neon lights, cool decals, and abundance of color; there was no wonder the warmth pulled me into its grips.
With my butt on a stool I ordered a Zywiec lager; a lager brewed in Zywiec, at Zywiec brewery in Poland itself, which I’d love to get my hands on again for a nice summers day.
The menu had three choices for Perogis, and I patiently considered them all before caving in to my meaty ways.
My other two options consisted of sauerkraut and mushroom Perogis, and potato and cheese Perogis; I must admit that I wholeheartedly believed upon my arrival that the potato and cheese would be my first pick… now? Not so much!
My eyes danced across the potato and cheese, all the way down to the meat Perogis whose black and white small print informed me of a filling made up of braised beef cheeks, and pork butt.
Yep, beef cheek was on the menu and it was all stuffed inside of a doughy little perogi; OF COURSE it was an instant win.
I honestly will admit that there’s just something so delicious about a good cheek, whether it be pork or beef, the flavor is exquisite and always a good option – if you haven’t tried it yet then you’re missing out.
I’d also like to show you this picture in order to really write home about the freshness of the Perogis I was about to eat; every day workers roll fresh batches of dough in order to bring you the best Perogis possible in Brooklyn, and – as you can see from this picture – they are so beautiful it’s hard to walk past ‘Perogi Boys’ without being lassoed in every time for a taste.
Soon my beer, and my Perogis, where in front of me; illuminated beautifully under the neon lights.
On top, a drizzle of meaty gravy had avalanched its way down to the depths of my Perogi canyon, and up top my little dill trees decorated the landscape quite beautifully, finishing off this marvelous looking dish.
As I slid my knife effortlessly into each Perogi, a billow of steam escaped from the meaty inners, and I got my first taste – and glimpse – of the goodness within.
I immediately tasted the pork butt, but the richness and depth of meaty flavor delivered by the beef cheek took these little pillows of joy to the next level.
In a way I’d never think of putting a pork butt and a beef cheek together, I’d possibly keep with the same animal for both, but yet I found now that this was definitely the way forward.
Imagine the saltiness of the pork with its distinct porky taste we all know and love, then combine it with a chewier – also pulled – beef cheek that has been slowly cooked in order to tenderize and absorb all of the braising flavors that make these Perogis so juicy and perfect.
With the pork pulled and beef cheek also cooked so long and slow that it matched the same texture, it was hard to pick out with the naked eye which meat was which, and only upon tasting the flavor explosion would you know two meats where packed into the dish (if you hadn’t read the menu in advance).
I had fallen in love with these Perogis in every way possible, and although I originally read the menu and saw ‘6’ as an easy task to devour, it would turn out that 6 was, in fact, so filling that I struggled to finish the bowl.
Every bite bursted with flavor and juiciness; the meat gravy paired beautifully with each component of the dish, and the Perogis where so incredibly fresh that the dough tasted just like the dough I’d had multiple times throughout Poland on my previous trips.
Perogi boys had stole my heart, and as I sat there happily full I took my time finishing the easy drinking lager in order to try and make room for at least one more vendor for the day.
It wasn’t long before my stomach settled, the Perogis lay at rest, and I decided there was still a small space in which I could fit another fun delight; it was time for dessert.
Just across from the Perogis stand sat a crepe vendor whipping up all kinds of creations, and I knew instantly that I was going to fill my last piece of stomach storage with a yummy crepe.
On their menu they had all kinds of sweet crepes, savory crepes, and salad bowls.
My eyes darted quickly to a Nutella crepe filled with all kinds of sweet goodness; realizing quickly that I couldn’t take on a burrito sized crepe, I asked if they would be nice enough to make me just a Nutella and strawberry crepe to go. The answer was yes, hurray.
It only took a few minutes, and I watched in excitement as my fluffy crepe took life, and the ingredients where smeared generously across every inch.
To look at, it was perfection, but to eat it was a masterpiece.
If you make a crepe and it goes wrong, you have somehow screwed up the simplicity of a well know dessert that we all know and love.
At Eight turn crepe they nailed the crepe on the head, which I would hope so after the name features in the vendor title, and I found myself being teleported back to my many trips I’d taken to France and all of the yummy crepes I had eaten there.
Like I said, crepes are pretty hard to screw up, but when you add Nutella and strawberries to anything it’s bound to be a good time.
Within its fluffy light folds of crepe heaven was a river of Nutella dotted with strawberry boulders; the strawberries where so sweet and fresh that they paired with the Nutella like a good marriage.
With every bite of both the Perogis and the crepe I felt almost guilty that my husband was working and I’d stumbled upon this delicious place alone.
As my stomach began to fill, and my pants become tight, I decided that this would be the first of many trips to Deklabs food hall; I had lasted such a short time and only tried two vendors, but yet there was still so much more to try in this food paradise hidden below the streets of Brooklyn, New York.
Stepping back onto the escalator I watched as the food hall disappeared, and the complex above me came back into view, but I wouldn’t be forgetting it any time soon.
My trip back to our hotel was a short and wet one in the rain, but with my thoughts fueled excitedly by all of the food I would eat in the coming days I couldn’t wait to get home and tell my husband all about it as soon as he walked in the door. Heck, if it had been snowing or hailing I’d have still smiled the whole way home as though it was a perfect summers day.
This article is just the peak of the iceberg; I will be posting multiple articles on the Deklab food hall as I try and take you with me on my foodie adventures.
Stay tuned for part 2!
If you liked this review then don’t forget you can find more on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @AHangryWife
Until next time,