Yesterday I took a few students to New York to spend sometime downtown. We started off at Chelsea Market, which was the original Nabisco biscuit building. I have fond memories of the market because of our cheftalk get together there a couple years ago. Not much has changed (except the food network and O network are upstairs) After spending sometime in Buon Italia nibbling on 20 month old procuitto de Parma and enjoying the aroma of Italian Tartuffe Blanco we headed over to the fat witch to buy some of her amazing brownies and then quickly to rolling brook dairy to buy some of the best milk to wash down our chocolate nuggets. We were lucky enough to bump into Sarah Beth (of her namesake bakery) and chat for a while of what goes into producing the kind of breads, pastries and jams she's famous for. She was very down to earth and eager to offer her insights (look for upcoming restaurants and bakeries) and we had to stop into Amy’s breads to buy as much of her incredible offerings as we could carry. After a couple hours we walked a few blocks to The Spice Market. The room/rooms are very large with a feeling of marakesh/oreint. There have a large open kitchen with 16 spaces to dine in front of it. Exposed wood with very high open ceilings. The service is based on sharing dishes which I enjoy, it a good way for everyone to get a bite of everything. Each table is offered a basket of papadom crisps with a harissa style dip. They we’re crisp and very well seasoned. We had chicken somasa with a cool yogurt dip that was rich with chili flavor with a touch of heat, the wrap was crisp and greaseless (a tad salty) next were spicy and fragrant mushroom spring rolls with and herb/tamarind dip that were good, not great. An excellent pork satay with pickled vegetables was next. Veggies included cauliflower, jicama and thia bird chilies. The pork had just enough fat to coat your palette and carry the spicy flavors. The veggies carried a nice contrast of sweet and sour. Chili rubbed beef satay pleased most of the crowd, but I found the texture to be almost like ground beef with a mushy texture, but the lime/turmeric and cilantro dipping sauce was excellent. Next was spicy chicken wings served with slices of pickled mango and a hot and sour tamarind glaze on the wings, excellent and moist, great balance. A crab salad came adorned with pomelo sections, cilantro, lime and cellophane noodles with a sharp ginger infusion which was excellent and refreshing. A fried calamari salad with fresh water chestnuts, papaya and chiffonade of cabbage was very good. The calamari was perfectly cooked. Light batter with a crispy mouth feel and tender squid. All in all we had a very good lunch (we all drank beer) and enjoyed the ambience. I know Amanda Hesser gave Spice Market 3 stars, but I don’t think it really was serving food at that level. More like 2 stars, especially after dining at Jean George’s flagship 4 star restaurants. The prices were reasonable $7-22 for lunch. Service was fair.