2350 12th Ave, New York, NY
In terms of high end grocery shopping, there are a few well known outlets in NYC, such as Citarella, Dean and Deluca, Whole Foods, Gourmet Garage and Zabars, but for my money, if I’m going to do groceries in Manhattan, my pick would be the Fairway Market on 125th Street on the West side.
Fairway is one of the few places in Manhattan that makes sense to shop if you are coming in from the ‘burbs and you have a car. There’s a huge parking lot right off the 125th Street exit on the West Side Highway (and right across the street from the very excellent Dinosaur Barbecue, if you want to make it a shopping and dining trip) so its a good option for us bridge and tunnel folks. The produce and cheese and meats and fish are excellent, if not a tad expensive. However the quality is excellent and I would venture to say there are few places in the entire metro area that have the selection and variety that Fairway has. Perhaps Stew Leonards is comparable in some aspects (I love the meat section) but it’s not in Manhattan.
A new type of ovoid-shaped mediterranean onion.
One of the many ethnic grocery sections. This one is for British foodstuffs.
Bread and cheese area.
Fairway imports a number of different olive oils under its own brand. I particularly like the Greek Kalamata oilve oil ($15)
Now, on to the bad points. There are NUMEROUS ACCOUNTS of people having horrible experiences with the rudeness of customers and staff at Fairway. I myself on my last visit had this particular experience, just last week:
I completely forgot that Fairway prohibits photography within the store. So of course, like a dumbass, I was snapping away like a Japanese tourist on speed, getting photos for eG and Off The Broiler. I had gotten to about my 20th picture when I hit the bread/cheese area where they have the olive oil tastings set up, when a short man, that was conversing with the Kosher supervising rabbi that was there, who proclaimed to be the General Manager, got up right in my face and said
“Put that goddamn camera away now!”
I said “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize” and shoved it in my pocket. I profusely apologized further and explained to him that I wanted to take pictures for OTB and eGullet, and he said “I don’t give a damn who you are or what web site you have. Unless you want to get me excited, and you don’t want to do that, you’ll stop doing what you’re doing right now.”
I walked away about 20 feet and went into the cold room
(where, unfortunately, I did not take photos because of the reasons above) for a few minutes to escape the guy, where Rachel was looking at the oysters. After explaining to Rachel what had just happened I then headed over to try some olive oil at the tasting area. A few other customers were there looking at the olive oil, where there’s a sign that says “only dip once”. Before any of the customers could put a piece of bread in the oil, he starts yelling at the top of his lungs at them.
“NO DOUBLE DIPPING! THATS GODDAMN DISGUSTING!”
The guy turned bright red and then yanked a few of the plastic containers away, I guess to refill them with uncontaminated oil.
If this was the guy’s normal state, I don’t want to see him when he gets excited.