My search for the best pickles in New York continues….
Even if you’ve never stopped there, odds are if you are a New Yorker you are familiar with the pickle stand right outside the West 4th Street subway station. In many ways, it’s in the center of the Village – just steps from the iconic basketball courts, very close to the food tour magent of Bleecker Street, and outside all the tattoo parlors lining Sixth Avenue. Pickle tattoos, anyone??
The name of the stand is Horman’s Best Pickles and it’s worth stoping by for a container of pickles or even one pickle on a stick to walk with down the block.
Nick Horman is the brainchild and owner behind the business, but he is following in the footsteps and pickling tradition of two generations. He even pickles the vegetables at his family’s production facility in Long Island.
I would imagine most of their business comes from people who are on their way home and want to pick up a quart or pint. I just wanted three pickles.
There is an opportunity to buy a pickle on a stick for $2. I asked the guy to hold the stick and just give me three pickles. I went with the most classic: new, kosher dill, and sour. I was pleased he only charged me $1 each (I guess that stick costs a dollar on its own!)
I found my way to a nearby bench to begin the pickle tasting. I started with the new pickle, which had quite a few blemishes and cuts throughout. This poor cucumber had not been treated well.
Of course, aesthetics are not as important when it comes to NY pickles. But I found the little guy way too salty. Pickles and salt obviously go hand in hand, but this was like taking a big bite of the ocean. It had no balance and it was impossible for me to finish it. It also didn’t have that super crunch I expect from a pickle, especially a new pickle that has not been fermenting as long as others.
The kosher dill fared a bit better. Strangely, it was more crisp than the new pickle and provided a good deal of vinegar acidity that helped tame the salt levels. There was also a hint of sweetness that was nice.
Bold and balanced, I actually liked the sour pickle the best of the three. The crispness was a bit uneven as some bites had a nice crunch and others got slightly mealy. But the flavor was intensely garlicky and sour.
I wasn’t completely sold on all the pickles so as I walked by the stand again, I had a strong urge to try one of their spicy options. While the brown mustard variety sounded intriguing and different, it’s hard for me to resist a horseradish pickle.
Again, I forewent the stick, but this time I got charged the full $2 for the pickle. I guess you can sometimes get a discount if you buy more than one.
The horsereadish pickle was incredible. Full of sinus-clearing heat and a rich tangy earthiness, it might have been the best example of a horseradish pickle I’ve tasted. The bites were also juicy and crisp. Most horseradish pickles are mild, but this thankfully tasted like someone used lots of real grated horseradish root. My favorite yet.
Horman’s has a way with heat. The more intense and spicier a pickle, the better. This stand is not for those that don’t like serious pickles. So next time you’re walking by (and I know you do), it’s worth stopping by for some acidic, tart, intense pickle heat.
Does Horman’s Best Pickles have the best pickles in NY? If I didn’t try their horseradish pickle, they wouldn’t have made an 8 out of 10 since some of the pickles were inconsistent and overly salty. But when you throw in the heat and sourness, this little pickle stand stands up tall.
|HORMAN’S BEST PICKLES|
|Corner of Sixth Avenue and Carmine Street,