In the gritty shadows of the Port Authority terminal, this small Hell's Kitchen market specializes in imported spices, staples and delicacies for the adventurous home cook. On a table adjacent to the cash register, a ceramic jar of Indonesian octopus (a favorite of renowned foodie David Rosengarten) sits within tentacle’s reach of an open carton of bulk Israeli couscous, which shares floor space with a tall drum of lava-red Hungarian paprika, a contingent of wildly-hued Indian spices, and housemade platters of Greek baklava, spanikopita, halvah, yogurt and feta cheese.
The compact, easily-navigated store is owned by two Karamouzis brothers, offspring of a Greek clan that has presided over this real estate for more than 30 years. The brothers are knowledgeable and chummy, chiding loyal customers with well-traveled lines like, "Malabar peppercorn? What, American peppercorn not good enough for you?" The market's a primary neighborhood source for loose herbs, honey, pastas, olives, pitas and a limited array of cooking utensils and metal pans, which, strung from aged wooden rafters overhead, lend the room an air of a sparkling Mediterranean bazaar.