Harvest in the Square Festival Comes to New York City's Union Square

The 18th annual festival brought more than 50 restaurants to the park
Dan Myers

More than 50 restaurants were represented at the grand tasting event.

On Sept. 17, more than 50 of the finest restaurants located near New York City’s Union Square set up shop under a huge tent on Union Square North for the 18th annual Harvest in the Square. Not only did it raise funds for the Union Square Partnership's ongoing maintenance and beautification of Union Square Park as well as free community programming, it was a whole lot of fun.

Chefs from the restaurants were each provided with a prep station and a table under the tent, and the hundreds of guests were able to sample their dishes as well as offerings from a handful of local wineries. And when it came to the food served, these chefs pulled out all the stops: Blue Water Grill’s chef Danny Lee served red snapper ceviche tacos, Hill Country Barbecue Market’s chef Ash Fulk served fatty brisket with sweet potato bourbon mash, Knickerbocker’s owner Ron D’Allegro served slices of the classic T-bone steak, short rib sliders were served by Vic & Anthony’s chef David Gates, Tocqueville’s Jason Lawless served roasted baby beats with goat yogurt, Union Square Café’s chef Carmen Quagliata served an Italian summer garden focaccia, and representing Casa Mono and Bar Jamón, chef Anthony Sasso served pork albondigas with marinated sepia. Everywhere you turned there was more food to sample, and plenty of wine to wash it down with.

While not many household names were present, the event was a fantastic and rare opportunity to meet the chefs behind these great restaurants who usually toil in anonymity. A few familiar faces were on hand, however: Hill Country’s Elizabeth Karmel was there, as was Kenny Callaghan, Blue Smoke’s (soon to be former) pitmaster, who told us that he’s got a new gig lined up but was mum on the details.

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Harvest in the Square is not only a great way to sample fare from some of the city’s finest restaurants, it’s also a great opportunity to help support the park and those whose job it is to keep it clean and vibrant. And as the event approaches its 20th year, there’s certainly no sign of it slowing down.