"It's a dream come true," Vongerichten tells USA TODAY.
But the Tin Building, which held its grand opening Wednesday, is different. The culinary marketplace is one of Vongerichten's biggest and most innovative projects yet. The food emporium spans 53,000 square feet at the site that used to be home to New York City's Fulton Fish Market. Vongerichten says he used to purchase fish there, in the 1980s, after he arrived in New York.
In its renewed form, the building houses six full-service restaurants, six food counters, four bars, markets and private dining options. Each concept is inspired by memories from Vongerichten's world travels.
Visitors will be able to feast on everything from lobster rolls and cheeseburgers to sashimi omakase and pizza limone. Shops are stocked with fresh breads, candies, flowers and hard-to-find imported goods.
"It's something really special," he says, noting that what's great is the cycle of food through the Tin Building — if there are live scallops being sold at the market one day the next they will be on the menu at a restaurant. "It's really the freshest you can buy, so it's a very ambitious project but I'm so excited about it."
While The Tin Building is officially open coming off a soft opening, the grand opening hours aren't the market's full hours. Expect longer hours in November, says Vongerichten, who plans for it to be open from morning until late night.
"It's any chef's dream, the project we put together," he says.
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With so many places to eat in one spot, we asked Vongerichten to recommend a dish to order or experience to request at each of the six sit down restaurants located in the Tin Building. Here's what he said:
“A dish you think would be heavy but is remarkably light. It has the perfect balance of crunch, salt and is completely plant-based. The Saffron Rose Aioli is the cherry on top and the perfect dipping sauce.”
“This has to be one of my favorite dishes at Tin Building. After many experiments, we finally found the perfect recipe. Tartness from the meyer lemon, the saltiness of the preserved lemon mixed with creaminess from the cheese and a slight char from the dough, what more do you want!”
“Nothing says a seafood restaurant/counter like a Lobster Roll. We devised a recipe with tomatoes and tarragon that makes it different to most traditional preparations."
“The Fulton’s Gruyère Cheeseburger au Jus has proved to be extremely popular with our guests since we opened in 2019. At T. Brasserie, we wanted to offer this iconic dish but make it different. The puff pastry bun makes this dish stand out and balances out the burger.”
"Nothing is more Cantonese for me than steamed fish with ginger and scallion and black sea bass is one of my favorite fish so it's a match made in heaven."
“One of my favorite dining experiences to enjoy is Omakase. I love putting my trust in the hands of the chef and being surprised with the freshest fish. It’s always a learning experience for me, seeing different preparations and methods. I thought having this experience at Tin Building would be my gift to guests, one of my favorite dining experiences."
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tin Building by Jean-Georges is the chef's 'dream come true'