Last Friday I went to lunch at the Monahan’s Seafood Market in Ann Arbor for the first time. It is an Ann Arbor institution and I think the best community resource for seafood. I had a great experience and plan on going back often-as it was top notch on the service, food and atmosphere front but being there made me miss Mermaid’s Garden. I feel like I am first starting to carve out a niche in my community here and it is odd to me to go to a great food establishment and not have a relationship with the people there-but the beauty is that it is never too late to do so. Anywhoo, back to Mermaid’s Garden. As you can probably tell by the name, it is a pretty special place now located on Vanderbilt Avenue in my former BK neighborhood. It is the only place in my former hood and really within a many mile radius (which is a lot for the NYC boroughs), that I would buy seafood at. That or the farmer’s market which is limited by days as well as not getting there at the crack of dawn to compete with all the Park Slope yoga Moms and running Dads. I first met Mark, one half of this wonderful couple, a couple years back via #amazesaltyballs (CortezBottarga). At the time, Mermaid’s Garden was a CSF (Community Supported Fishery)-a model that connects fish eaters to fishermen and works similar to a CSA. My mind was blown! Bianca & Mark were doing something, and still do, that no one else does-the way they source and do business is on such a high standard level-you simply can’t get better seafood unless you are on the fishing boat or catching it right-off a beach. I learned so much through them about fishery practices and truly sustainable sourcing and luckily, got to shop at their store for a few months before I parted ways for the Mitten. They make a great team and have to be two of the nicest people I know with great personalities and an awesome work ethic to boot! Bianca introduced me to my favorite food retail shop customer service experience ever-with each fresh seafood purchase, you are offered a lemon or lime from a bountiful basket that sits behind the desk where you pay. I mean enough said right? Read below to learn a bit more about Bianca & Mark and please reach out to them should you need some sourcing consulting or wholesale resource, or better yet go visit!
644 Vanderbilt Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11338
How do you know BigBellyBloch?
We met a few years back when we made an inquiry about Cortez bottarga.
What do you do in life?
We own and operate Mermaid’s Garden. A sustainable fish market, CSF and wholesale operation in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
What food or drink most closely represents you and why?
Favorite herb or spice:
Just picked cilantro that has been touched by a bit of frost.
Build a sandwich that represents ultimate deliciousness and describe it here:
Some kind of fatty smoked fish, very ripe tomatoes, mayo and something pickled.
What is the biggest challenge you face on a daily basis?
Performing many unrelated yet related tasks and doing them all well in a tight time frame.
How do you overcome it?
We’re still figuring it out but somehow it happens.
3PM snack, go:
A handful of salted almonds.
What are four things you are grateful for?
What are you doing for dinner?
Is paper work an answer here?
Thoughts on leftovers?
Yes please…depending on what and how much of it there is.
Please feel free to share a favorite BigBellyBloch moment if you have one.
Being pleasantly surprised that the Cortez Florida bottarga rep. is right here in Brooklyn!