When Fresh Direct first opened apartment dwellers loved that we could click for our groceries. As Fresh Direct's territory has expanded so has the enthusiasm for the quality of their food, their customer service and their urban (okay, let's get specific -- New York) grocery point-of-view. There are still NYC neighborhoods that have almost no nearby markets so to have Fresh Direct and all its excellence always there, well, aren't we lucky?
They're as much about cooking as eating. There are lots of recipes plus the meat/poultry and fish/seafood sections include "how to cook it" with photographs and step-by-step instructions that are amazing resources for cooks regardless where you buy your groceries.
But here's the thing: you've got to trust them to do right by you. Otherwise you'll just be stressed that there may have been a more beautiful lemon in the bin that you would have chosen instead of the one they sent.
They'll let you specify the thickness of a chop, they sell what's in season, and I've never been disappointed in a piece of fruit. The prices are extremely competitive. There's tremendous brand depth in most grocery categories. And if you're feeling unmotivated in the kitchen, they sell "ready to cook" items so you can take their meatloaf and go direct from a Fresh Direct box to your oven. It may not be as good as you'd make it, but it is an outstanding alternative on those nights when take-out is tempting you.
They sell wine through a collaboration with Union Square Wines & Spirits, one of New York's best wine stores.
They also respond to special needs and preferences like organic, local, Kosher and gluten-free, and they offer many of the ethnic foods and ingredients that New Yorkers have to have.
What to avoid:
Remember that some foods are particularly perishable. Here I'm talking about fish. So if you're having a delivery made and you won't be home, it's common sense to leave the salmon off the order.
What to know:
If an item they normally carry happens to be out of stock, or it's out of season, the site will show that it's "currently unavailable" so at least you'll know they normally sell it. Sometimes mistakes happen with an order and if you call them, they'll either get you what was left out or else issue an immediate credit. The outstanding recipe section gives some special NYC nods as with recipes from Molly O'Neill's New York Cookbook. They let you "buy big" which means cans and bottles by the case or value packs of meat, fish and produce.