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Celebrity chefs bring a taste of Spain to New York’s new neighborhood

José Andrés and the brothers Ferran and Albert Adriá have teamed up to create Mercado Little Spain inside the mega-development Hudson Yards

One of the areas in the new Spanish market.
One of the areas in the new Spanish market.

New York City has a sprawling new neighborhood, Hudson Yards, which extends from 30th to 34th Streets and from 10th to 12th Avenues. Already known as the “Far West Side” and dominated by six huge skyscrapers, it combines office and residential space with shopping, art, food and entertainment options, and even a school.

Hudson Yards’ new dining hub, which opened on Friday, March 15, includes an area dedicated to Spanish food. Known as Mercado Little Spain, it is a joint project between the US-based chef José Andrés and the brothers Ferran and Albert Adriá, who jumped to international fame with their elBulli restaurant, which closed in 2011 after popularizing “deconstructivist” cuisine.

Hudson Yards, a new neighborhood in Manhattan.
Hudson Yards, a new neighborhood in Manhattan. AFP

Andrés, a celebrity chef who was born in the small northern Spanish region of Asturias, owns restaurants across the US and is the founder of WorldCentralKitchen, a non-profit to help feed people affected by natural disasters.

Hudson Yards is the largest mixed-use private real estate venture in US history, and is expected to create twice as many jobs as the failed Amazon project in Long Island City. Located on a railway yard that was rezoned 14 years ago with an eye to hosting the Olympic Games, the project will not be fully completed until 2022.

Other prominent chefs who are represented at the Hudson Yards dining hub include Thomas Keller, David Chang and Michael Lomonaco, making this an unprecedented project in a city that is already considered a global food mecca. 

A taste of Spain

While the development is still incomplete, Hudson Yards is ready to offer New Yorkers a dining experience that includes a taste of Spain. Rather than a single restaurant, Mercado Little Spain is a collection of restaurants and food stalls taking up 3,200 square meters on the ground floor.

Some of the Spanish dishes on offer at the market.
Some of the Spanish dishes on offer at the market.

The concept recreates the look of real markets in Spain, with three restaurants – Leña, Mar and Spanish Diner – offering dishes made with Spanish products, including paella made over a wood fire. There are drinks bars and 15 stands serving a variety of tapas and other small dishes, from patatas bravas to churros.

From left to right: Ferrán Adrià, José Andres and Albert Adrià.
From left to right: Ferrán Adrià, José Andres and Albert Adrià.

The mercado partially opened on Friday with the Bar-Celona drinks bar, a dry goods shop called Colmado and a couple of the food stalls. The rest will open gradually between now and April.

“We are bringing the culture of Spain to New York,” said José Andrés on Wednesday, during a private tour of the facilities for the media. “The most delicious things from each corner of Spain.”

English version by Susana Urra.

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