Scouting: Kalustyan's

  Kalustyan's, Kips Bay, New York  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Kalustyan's, Kips Bay, New York | Image: Laura Messersmith

few weeks ago, before the tree lots appeared and a random trip to the Kips Bay seemed like a good reason to leave my cozy spot on the sofa, I took a little journey south to check out Kalustyan’s. I came across the listing for this specialty food shop on Yelp and the reviews were glowing, so naturally I had to visit this foodie haven for myself.

   Kalustyan's, Kips Bay, New York    | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Kalustyan's, Kips Bay, New York | Image: Laura Messersmith

   Kalustyan's, Kips Bay, New York    | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Kalustyan's, Kips Bay, New York | Image: Laura Messersmith

One of the distinctive features of New York grocery stores is the space, or lack of it really, and Kalustyan’s is an outstanding example of efficiently using every square inch to offer a huge selection in a relatively tiny space. Narrow little aisles packed floor to ceiling with boxes, jars, and cellophane packages of tea, dried fruit, whole grains, mushrooms, seasonings, jam, and sauces. I can see why Saveur consistently refers readers to the shop for help sourcing ingredients not commonly found in American grocery chains, and a Bon Appétit writer mentioned it in an article about creating custom spice blends.

   Kalustyan's, Kips Bay, New York    | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Kalustyan's, Kips Bay, New York | Image: Laura Messersmith

   Kalustyan's, Kips Bay, New York    | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Kalustyan's, Kips Bay, New York | Image: Laura Messersmith

Honestly, you could lose entire days examining the options in each category, especially the house-brand spice blends. I left after more than an hour feeling a little dazed by the possibilities and carrying a small sack of farro and a jar of mango chutney. I have ideas for both items and I have this amazing shop to thank for the inspiration! So, while a trip to Lexington and East 28th isn’t always the most convenient for me, you better believe that I’ll be keeping Kalustyan’s in mind the next time I’m looking for something a little out of the ordinary.

Kalustyan’s | 123 Lexington Avenue; New York, NY 10016 | Mon - Sat 10:00 am – 8:00 pm; Sun 11:00 am – 7:00 pm