The Eddy
 

Lángos (fried bread)

 

Mussels paprikash (photo: Jacob Goldberg)

A young chef turns Hungarian food on its head in the East Village

By James Oliver Cury

In his quest to prove that Hungarian food does not have to be meat-centric or heavily sauced, Jeremy Salamon—executive chef at The Eddy in the East Village—has created a menu so eclectic and so driven by greenmarket finds that it’s frankly tough to pin down. Think of it simply as Euro-Mediterranean cuisine bursting at the seams with modern touches and subject to change depending on what’s in season.

All meals here should start with lángos, a Hungarian fried bread—sort of like mini-pizzas minus the tomato sauce, and covered with Pecorino, wildflour honey, and gremolata. They’re so addictively sweet and salty you’ll want to ask if they sell them by the dozen. Things get healthier thereafter; a short selection of vegetable-driven appetizers remains relatively uncomplicated: roasted beets come with tart cherry sauce and cilantro, and semolina fried green tomatoes are paired with sour cream.

Salamon, who’s just 24, learned to keep things simple while working under Gabrielle Hamilton at Prune (he also spent time at Andrew Carmellini’s Locanda Verde and Jody Williams’ Buvette). Though Hungary is known for its soups and stews, Salamon serves his proteins—fish, chicken, lamb, and steak—with delicate sauces that are so delicious you may want to drink them with a spoon. His kreplach, thick potato dumplings sometimes described as Jewish ravioli, sit in a bowl of roasted barley dashi and egg yolk—a novel combo.

Two of the best dishes are the mussels paprikash, which comes with blistered tomato, red pepper, and agretti, aka saltwort or friar’s beard, and the pan-seared brooktrout with nettle pesto, cashew, and lovage butter—big, boneless, and bearing wonderfully crisp, charred skin.
At the end of the meal, as your lift your eyes from the plate and reacquaint yourself with the surroundings—white brick walls, exposed beams, wood tables, and modern industrial lamps—you’ll have to decide if you want dessert, like the palacsinta crepes with strawberry and toasted meringue, or an after-dinner drink. In addition to 75 wines by the bottle, this small spot packs in more than 80 bottles of gin, rum, brandy, whiskey, tequila, vodka, and Amaro, plus seasonal cocktails.

Did I think I’d be chugging what amounts to an alcoholic smoothie with my Hungarian fare? I did not. But the Zoot Suit—Denizen aged white rum, blackberries, Boomsma Cloosterbitter, lime, absinthe, and coconut—was so good we asked the bartender to make a mocktail version for my wife. And it, too, was a hit.

Palacsinta with strawberry jam and toasted meringue (Photo: Jacob Goldberg)

hours

Sun–Wed 5:30 PM–10 PM; Thu–Sat 5:30 PM–11 PM

price range

$24 (kreplach) to $34 (charred hanger steak)
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