Day Two • 12 Tastes of Brooklyn
THE FEAST OF THE SEVEN FISHES is an Italian Christmas Eve celebration with as many interpretations as there are families and regions of Italy—and Brooklyn. If you want to create your own feast, you have a treat in store: Mermaid’s Garden, Brooklyn’s first CSF, or Community Supported Fishery, is opening its holiday store to the public. (CSF members—including some Brooklyn Artisan folks—sign up for a weekly drop of delicious sustainable fish and seafood, much of it caught in local waters.) The holiday store will have live Montauk lobsters, Montauk Pearl and wild Maine Belon oysters, fish fillets, clams, squid and more. How about Siberian sturgeon caviar?! The online store is open from Saturday, December 8 to Monday, December 17. Pickup will be at four Brooklyn spots on Saturday, December 22.
For full details about the fish (and fishermen), how to buy, and addresses for pickup, go to the Mermaid’s Garden website. And on the Mermaid’s Garden Facebook page, you’ll find wonderful recipes from co-owner and chef Mark Usewitz.
If you’d rather someone else do the cooking, Chef Saul Bolton will be serving a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Dec. 24 at his Michelin-starred Saul Restaurant in Cobble Hill, as he has for the last eight years—and for the first time this year, he tells us, at his new Italian restaurant, Red Gravy, in Brooklyn Heights. Call 718-935-9842 for more information on menus and for reservations.
Don’t forget, too, that Brooklyn is known as the smoked fish capital of America. Acme Smoked Fish has been at the center of that world since the early 1900s when Harry Brownstein, an emigrant from Russia, took a job as a “wagon jobber,” picking up hot fish from smokehouses with his horse-drawn wagon and hand-delivering them to small grocery and appetizing stores. Eventually he got his own smokehouse, which four generations later has grown into a Brooklyn institution that smokes, cures, slices, packs and ships 7 million pounds of fish a year.
The fish, which except for the sturgeon is certified kosher, is sold all around the city (Zabar’s, Costco)—and well beyond. But for a real feel for where it comes from—and great bargains—get yourself out to the Greenpoint plant on a Friday morning between 8 and 1, the only time sales are open directly to the public. A room just off the plant floor is filled with racks of smoked whitefish, boxes of brook trout, smoked salmon laid out on the table—all perfect for holiday entertaining.
140 Smith Street, Cobble Hill
Acme Smoked Fish Corporation
25-56 Gem Street, Greenpoint
Photographs by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Mrs Eaves, by Zuzana Licko, Emigre, 1996.