The Bronx is busy stealing New York’s hipster crown from Queens, and roving culinary crew Ghetto Gastro are playing their part in taking the borough’s cool scene global. The four-man team (Jon Giay, Malcolm Livingston, Lester Waikerand Tashon Hairston) started by throwing the hottest underground feasts in NYC, including Waffles x Models. Now they are staging the most sought-after dinner parties at Raris fashion week and Art Basel Miami.
The group take their ideas from the streets, mixing hip-hop beats from live DJ sets with Michelin-style creations. One favourite hangout of theirs is City Island, which is part of the Bronx but feels like a New England fishing village; it’s been dubbed the Hamptons of the Hood. The island has inspired dishes such as Crab and Cornbread (crab veloute with a crunch of freeze-dried com bread and caviar) and Swerve and Turf (Kobe beef with saffron-butter-poached lobster tail). Here are Ghetto Gastro’s go-to spots there.
CRAB SHANTY – This dope spot isn’t on the water’s edge, but the architecture of the building and the friendly staff make up for it. In the 1900s it was a cinema, and then fora while it was a post office. Be sure to get the Alaskan king crab legs. We always end up going through at least two loaves of the fresh garlic bread they make here. It’s potent, so keep something minty on deck for after the feast.’ onginalcrabshanty.com
JOHNNY’S REEF – The vibe at Johnny’s is always right, and looking across Long Island Sound at the houses that inspired The Great Gatsby is incredible. Order platters of fried shrimp and dip them in tartar sauce mixed with cocktail sauce. Seriously. After that, wash it down with a Cognac Colada – one part Hennessy, two parts Pina Colada, topped with a maraschino cherry and an American flag toothpick -and you’re all set. The seagulls are locals too, so throw them an onion ring or some clams.’
CITY ISLAND LOBSTER HOUSE – ‘For those who aren’t familiar with how things go down here, driving along the main street and making it to the far end can take nearly an hour in summer. But if you take the first left after the bridge, you’ll hit the Lobster House. If the weather is in your favour, take advantage of the tables on the marina and enjoy a whole lobster with garlic butter while thinking about the time you just saved yourself.’
SAMMY’S FISH BOX – ‘This is the king of City Island. We have a friend who has celebrated every graduation, from kindergarten to university, at Sammy’s. The most memorable food for us is the bread they send out with cheddar cheese and pickles, which we devour. These days we stop off here to grab a drink and watch a ball game.’
LICKETY SPLIT ICE CREAM – ‘Don’t skip this old-school ice-cream parlour, which serves all-natural flavours. It’s a tiny spot that matches the charm of the island. Our recommendation and go-to is the classic lemon ice; you can’t go wrong when you stick with something this simple. It’s a good palate cleanser too. Duck in and grab something, then go for a walk along the harbour.’