Liza Queen Is Back and at Smorgasburg

The Sunday Night Dinner in Astoria
Those wondering what happened to Liza Queen after she closed the Queen's Hideaway in 2008, wonder no more.

The chef, who arguably was the first to make Greenpoint a dining destination with the kind of quirky, seasonal, vaguely Southern-accented food that would soon come to define vast swaths of Brooklyn, is resurfacing at Smorgasburg this Saturday.

This news comes courtesy of The New York Times, which reports that Queen has a new concern called Queen's Dahn Tu. After closing Queen's Hideaway, she went off to Vietnam, where she studied the country's cuisine. She'll be selling some of the fruits of her newly acquired knowledge, including banh xeo (an omelet-crepe stuffed with meat or vegetables) and banh tran tram, a concoction of shredded rice paper, fried shallots, hard-boiled quail eggs, and shredded green mango.

Smorgasburg, with its profusion of meticulously wrought goods from both established chefs and scrappy vendors, would seem to be a logical landing place for Queen, both in spirit and sensibility. And between her and the other 99 or so Smorgasburg vendors, we may very well bear witness to the most pure distillation of Brooklyn's artisanal chauvinism to date. It is sure to be a sight to behold, and digest; we're already anticipating the untold number of blog posts and trend pieces that will undoubtedly follow with no small degree of awe, and fear.

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 Dear Rebecca Marx,

First off, thank you so much for recommending my stand among the many at The Brooklyn Smorgasburg.  I truly appreciate your kind words and encouragement.

Yes, $7 is a little steep, but please keep in mind that this price includes so many things besides rice paper.  If you could see me slicing and frying enough shallots and peeling enough quail eggs for 100 portions, my guess is that you would immediately recommend that I charge a million dollars per dish.

But more seriously, there are so many hidden costs of running even a little stand beyond food costs: weekly rent on the flea spot, permits, paying back all start up costs for equipment, sales tax, rent on my prep kitchen, pay for the folks working, car services to cart my groceries back from Chinatown, Jetro, and to and from the event, endless four dollar bags of ice, to go containers, some pay for me and so on and so on. .

It breaks my heart a little every time I hear that somebody is not happy with my prices.  I can only imagine that somebody is picturing me going home with sacks full of money laughing like a lunatic at all the poor suckers out there paying 7 bucks for rice paper.  I promise you, and everybody else out there, that if I could charge less I certainly would. 

Best regards, Liza Queen

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