This week, the foodie site Epicurious stumbled across one of our neighborhood’s best kept secrets. Bath Beach’s NetCost Market (8671 18th Avenue) is a wonderland of Russian products that has the selection of Whole Foods but without the sky high prices. Quail eggs, whole pigs, gefilte fish, buckets of caviar, and sausages for miles await at the 18th Avenue superstore.
In the Epicurious article and accompanying video, Adina Steiman, who grew up in the area, revisits the store as an adult with fresh eyes, dusting off her halting Russian, and reluctantly sampling some kholodets, or jellied chicken, from the buffet.
Once she gets over the exoticism of the place, Steiman comes to the realization that the expansive grocery story is not that dissimilar from your average Trader Joe’s — only better:
After the culture shock wears off a bit, I always realize that NetCost isn’t the Mysterious Russian Other. It’s actually O.G. food nerd. That rock-solid baby pig that’s staring at you from the freezer section? That’s nose-to-tail cooking, without the hipster markup in price. The rows of swampy bottled kvass? It might give off Superfund vibes, but it’s pretty much proto-kombucha. The frozen bags of sea buckthorn berries? They’re the darling of Dr. Oz and the visionary chefs at Copenhagen’s Noma, and you probably won’t find them anywhere else. The whole pickled pears at the prepared foods buffet? Thanks to their long winters and short growing seasons, the Russians were pickling anything they could get their hands on centuries before “Portlandia”.
Do you agree that NetCost the best supermarket in the world? Share your thoughts in the comments!