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Garden of Eden

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I stopped by the one on 14th street and was amazed by the array of fresh produce, the specialty products, the prepared food and all the vegetarian/vegan choices. Did I mention that they had a huge selection of chocolate?
What do chowhounds think of this place? The prices seemed reasonable (for vegetables, comparable to say Agatha and Valentina, cheaper than whole foods). How is the fresh fish? Any other items or recommendations for the store? And where are the other outposts located? Thanks chowhounds!

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  1. I know there's one on 23rd st between 7th adn 8th ave. adn one in Brooklyn heights on Montague st. off court. They do have a great selection of chocolate. But Whole Foods does too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rita

      Garden of Eden (based on Brooklyn Heights and Morningside Heights) has a far better chocolate selection. Among others, you can find several single-origin Michel Cluizel chocolates that Whole Foods doesn't carry.

    2. Garden of Eden is pretty awesome when it comes to produce and breads - and there are more of them than Whole Foods.

      But the way they treat their employees is dubious. I stopped going there a while back when I learned that they don't give full-timers any health benefits, among other things.

      5 Replies
      1. re: piccola

        You may have "learned" this from the union agitators who were picketing a while ago. Posters put up by GOE itself said otherwise.

        Time to go back.

        1. re: statman

          My take on Garden of Eden - the cheese selection is very fine and the produce is solid too. I find their prepared foods icky.

          1. re: statman

            Yeah, but both sides are biased - the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

            In any case, I've switched to an organics delivery system and find I'm perfectly happy with that. :-)

            1. re: piccola

              Posters displayed prominently in the store window are more likely to be accurate than claims by picketers out front -- management is more likely to be held accountable for the accuracy of its public statements by the Powers That Be. Note also that the picketers were outsiders, not GOE employees on strike.

              The Greenmarket is my first choice whenever possible, but GOE is very good for produce, cheese, charuterie and coffee. They seem less busy since the opening of WF, so I would hate to see them further hurt unnecessarily.

          2. re: piccola

            I am far more concerned about the way the employees treat the paying customer.

            At the GoE in Brooklyn, most of the guys behind the food counters, except for cheese , smoked salmon etc. barely speak English and know nothing about the products they are selling. They are untrained and inexperienced. They never get the weight correct. Ask for half a pound of shrimp,coleslaw,whatever, and it is always more. Dirty looks follow.

          3. I think its a great place...especially this time of year. They have a great variety of fruits you can't get anywhere else. I miss the one on 3rd Ave.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dkstar1

              dk i agree. i miss the garden of eden on 3rd. great store. now i do most of my shopping at todaro bros, grand central market or the greenmarket. wish there was something a lot closer to me though with the variety and goodness that was garden of eden...

            2. Too pricey, IMO. Not different from Whole Foods--you end up paying top dollar for the stuff they sell. I would much rather go to farmer's markets, Fairway or Gourmet Garage for fancy stuff. Just feel like I'm getting ripped off at GOE or WF.

              1. g
                guttergourmet

                Whole Foods is great...if you live in Idaho. I get better cheese at Murrays or Artisanal, better meat at Jefferson Market, better fish at Citerella, better produce at the farmers' market in union square and the best charcuterie at garden of eden on 14th street. Try the hand made dulce rotundo proscuitto di parma. Also the best mushroom selection. Besides chanterelles try the lobster mushrooms.

                2 Replies
                1. re: guttergourmet

                  I couldn't agree more. And tho the cheese at Garden of Eden can't compare to Murray's or Artisinal, in terms of variety and price and helpfulness of the experts at the counter, it's much better than at Whole Foods.

                  1. re: guttergourmet

                    Amen to that! I'd add Florence Meats on Jones St. for beef and veal. Balthazar for bread (Pain d'Siegle). Kalyustans on Lex for nuts (Persian pistachios!), spices, rices and exotics.

                    GOE is a bit "coporate" for me; pricey and while many employees are friendly and helpful, I dont think it compares with Jefferson or Florence.

                  2. Can only speak for GOE in Brooklyn Heights. The store is well presented but the quality of the produce is just a notch above Key Foods or Gristedes but way more expensive. THey use some type of special lighting to make the produce look fresh.

                    The seafood section is expensive, qualtiy average at best. Once bought spoiled food from their prepared foods section. At least they gave me a refund!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: aragon

                      The produce is reasonably good, but not worth the exorbitant cost. Other departments have frequent problems with freshness--I've seen lots of expired items, moldy baked goods, plastic-wrapped cheese sitting out for a couple of weeks, stale bread, etc. Be vigilant and check everything. I avoid the Brooklyn Heights GoE entirely now.

                    2. The one in Morningside Heights has the neighborhood's best prices on produce, especially since the greenmarket there is super limited.

                      The breads are pretty awesome, too, as is the selection of veggie products. But all the nonperishable stuff is WAY overpriced.

                      Also, I love the Healthy Delites muffins that they sell, but a few times I've found them to be moldy and bad. The store didn't refund or anything.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: piccola

                        I'd add that the butcher section has very reasonable prices for fresh cut meats - like $12/lb for lamb loin chops, rib steaks about the same price. Granted, far from prime, but thick enough to put on a nice char without drying the steak, and with decent flavor.

                        Andrew

                      2. A store opened in Hoboken NJ I believe yesterday. I was thoroughly impressed. Fresh fish, produce, meat, bread, etc. Got tons of good stuff

                        Have many 'gourmet' items that are hard to find in one place like hen of wood mushrooms, porcini's, fois gras, prime aged beef, large selection of oysters, etc.

                        1. There isn't a better mushroom selection in the city than at Garden of Eden on 14th Street. I live very near Union Square and have time to shop every day, so I go to the Greenmarket, Food Emporium, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Garden of Eden nearly every day. Prices are wildly variable, so I manage to save a lot of money. Whole Foods's in-store line, 365, generally has the best prices in town. Both Eden and Food Emporium need to adjust their prices considerably, because Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are conspicuously less expensive, on the whole.

                          Whole Foods practically CRIPPLED Garden of Eden when it first opened. It's still the most populated food store around. I can remember waiting in lines at Eden that stretched all the way back to the meat department. Now there's seldom a line at all.