Need a reason to get over to High Line some evening or weekend this summer? Like, a reason besides the cool public art, such as the Lilliput exhibition (a great treasure-hunt-y show, with small sculptures scattered throughout the grounds); and Jordan Betten's illuminated installation, the High Line Zoo; and the huge new murals by the TED Prize-winning JR (a portrait of Brandon Many Ribs up around 30th Street), and Eduardo Kobra (a colorful, almost-cubist take on Alfred Eisenstaedt famous photo, V-J Day in Times Square, on 25th Street, pictured below)? And besides all of the usual High Line greatness, like the landscaping and design, the views, the relaxing, the people-watching? Because in case all of that's not reason enough to visit the High Line, now there's also this: plenty of new, first-rate, picnic-worthy food.
This summer marks the opening of several new excellent spots on the West Side near or on the High Line where you can get a terrific picnic lunch, dinner, or, of course, an anytime snack. In fact there's a whole new "food court" situated along the Chelsea Passage between 15th and 16th Streets, including stands from two of our favorites, Northern Spy Food Co. and Bark Hot Dogs. The Northern Spy on the High Line slings the same sort of high-quality, fresh ingredient fare we've enjoyed many times at their very good East Village restaurant. There are several sandwiches on the High Line Northern Spy menu, but we went straight for the Kale Salad, loaded with carrots, almonds, and chunks of cheddar, tossed with a lemon dressing, dusted with pecorino. Too healthy-sounding for you? Then dive in to the amazing Pork Sticky Roll, which is a meaty version of the breakfast sweet treat, loaded with chunks of pig, made gooey by a ribbon of maple-dijon glaze, then topped with parsnip frosting. So good.
The Bark High Line menu features about what you'd expect from this Brooklyn-based, organic, sustainably-sourced hot dog and burger joint. We love Bark proper (a solid pre-BAM meal choice, by the way), and, given the Classic Dog with sauerkraut we wolfed the other day, are pleased to report that we love Bark High Line, too. There's also a new Taco Truck stand in the High Line food court, a sit-down table-service outpost of Terroir on the "porch", Blue Bottle for coffee and, for dessert, you can choose from the frozen treats of La Newyorkina, Melt, People's Pops, and/or L'Arte del Gelato. The hours for all the above are generally 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 or 9:00 p.m, daily.
Finally, a special picnic-food shout-out goes to the brand new Rocket Pig, a counter-service/take-out place just opened up by Chef Ralf Kuettel behind his fancy Trestle on Tenth restaurant. The Rocket Pig menu is dominated by one item: the Rocket Pig Sandwich, which is one of the best sandwiches we've had in a long time. This is a hefty treat, filled with smoky slices of well-brined pork, topped with a red-onion jam and mustard sauce, all in a terrific, chewy ciabatta roll that stands up nicely to all of the juicy goodness. A side of hot sauce and house-made pickle complete the deal. And if $14 sounds like a lot for sandwich, well, it is. But a single Rocket Pig sandwich filled us up for the night, and it was really, really good. If you dine in at Rocket Pig (read: stand at a counter) you can get oysters, cheese, and charcuterie, which is fine and probably tasty, but the pork is the thing here.
Northern Spy High Line, Bark High Line, and Rocket Pig details
The HIgh Line Northern Spy and Bark Hot Dogs are located on the park itself between 15th and 16th Streets, and are open every day from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. For more information and complete menus, please go here and here. Rocket Pig is located on 24th Street, just east of 10th Avenue, right behind Trestle on Tenth, and is open daily from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Last weekend, their first, Rocket Pig ran out of pig. This will be popular, guaranteed. For more information and the complete Rocket Pig menu, please see here.