Urbanspace Meatpacking: A First Food Foray


The pizzas from Roberta’s (this one called Speckenwulf) were up to snuff.

The latest addition to the Highline, if we can believe the hype, is a pop-up market called Urbanspace Meatpacking – and can you think of a more unlovely name? Well, maybe “pop-up” isn’t the right term, it’s more like a “sit here for a while,” since, as one of the vendors told us, it will be operating in the blacktop parking lot that it now occupies for at least two months. With its mix of jewelry, fashions, and tchotkes, plus an enhanced presence of food, it’s like one of those Christmas markets, without Santa.

Take out some money before entering.

The market is in the shadow of the Highline, certainly, but getting to the Highline from the market represents something of a tactical difficulty, since no stairway up to the former elevated railroad bed is near. Nevertheless, a friend and I approached the 23 food vendors at the market (out of a total of 80 stalls) with some enthusiasm, since there were ones we liked among them, and others we were curious to try.

Yes, you will find something to love in the eating department, but it’s too bad everything is so predictable.

There will be waffles.

Aren’t you a little tired of these pop-up outdoor prepared-food collections? You could almost perfectly predict the mixture of tried-and-true, easy-to-prepare, high-markup viands that are inevitable in this sort of upscale outdoor shopping environment. Lobster roll. Check. Waffles. Check. Hot dogs. Check. Portable Wood-Oven pizza. Check. Ice Cream. Check. Meatballs. Check. Sliders – yes, so many of them that you wonder how someone hasn’t told at least one of the vendors that sliders are now hopelessly out of fashion. After you’ve slid enough – and I have – it’s time to say “enuff.”

The seafood bisque from Luke’s Red Hook Lobster Pound was exemplary…

…and so was the ice cream from Steve’s.

The cannolis from Stuffed Artisanal Cannoli were called into question…

…and Mexicue’s slider wasn’t all that it could be.

The pizza ($9) from Roberta’s was perfectly turned out, which means about the same level of char you’ll find at the Bushwick mothership. But do they really need that many guys to make pizza? The ice cream from Steve’s was top notch, and we enjoyed scoops of salty caramel and blackberry ($4 for two).

But then quality took a nosedive. The BBQ beef brisket slider ($4) from Mexicue was made with meat that had been sopping on a steam table for a good long time, and had absolutely no smoke flavor of any sort. The smear of guac was a boon, and the thing didn’t really taste that bad, except that it frustrated all your expectation for how good it could be.

Even worse were the tiny, prefilled cannolis ($2 apiece) from Stuffed Artisan Cannoli. The texture of the filling was gritty, and one tasted discouragingly of cinnamon, while the other was flavored with what tasted like artificial pistachio flavoring.

On the positive side, the seafood bisque ($4) at Luke’s Red Hook Lobster Pound was great, with plenty of seafood in its depths, and Sunday Gravy turned out some very nice eggplant bruschetta with goat cheese.

The eggpland-and-ricotta bruschetta from Sunday gravy was wholesome and tasty.

Wild-style food court directory for Urbanspace Meatpacking

The pizza menu at the Robeta’s stall

Mayhem & Stout (peddling braised meat sandwiches) and Little Muenster (toasted cheese specialists)

Sobar, specializing in “Farm to Table Seasonal Small Plates,” which includes a crab cake slider.

New favorite Sunday Gravy, and that guy isn’t bad looking, either!

Pretzels and rice balls are two further choices.

Urbanspace Meatpacking
Washington Street and 13th Street
Open 7 Days a Week, 11AM – 10PM