I like food; I dislike crowds. So it was with mixed feelings that I descended the escalator into DeKalb Market Hall, the Albee Square food-court-on-steroids that opened today in downtown Brooklyn.

I arrived on the earlier side of the lunch rush – actually right at the stroke of noon, when civilized people like myself take luncheon – but the market was already bustling with people eager to sample from some of the 40-odd food vendors.

You could say DeKalb Market Hall is a high-concept take on a mall food court. Instead of the normal offering of somewhat tired fast-food options, however, Market Hall is more like what you would get if the most ambitious and snobby food trucks in New York joined together into a small city. Or, of course, indoor Smorgasburg.

This being Brooklyn, I was somewhat fearful the Market Hall would turn out to be a swarming mass of effete, emaciated vegans, anti-gluten fanatics, and those grubby organic types who hang around farmers’ markets. But if anything the food on offer tilted heavily to the meaty, caloric end of the spectrum — I imagine Anthony Bourdain would approve, were he not working on his own food court project.

Two of the biggest draws were A Taste of Katz’s– the deli’s first-ever satellite if you don’t count the knockoff that popped up at Art Basel— and Fletcher’s barbecue. But there was truly something for every palette: paella (Paella Shack), assorted seafood (Fulton Landing Seafood), Korean barbecue, rotisserie chicken (Foragers Rotisserie), crepes (Eight Turn Crepe), arepas (Arepa Lady), burgers (Hard Times Sundaes), pierogis and borscht (Pierogi Boys), Belgian-style frites (Home Frite), noodles (Hana Noodles), Turkish kebab (Kotti Berliner Doner Kebab) key lime pie (Steve’s), even a pickle counter (Guss’).

The crowds began to swell as I wandered around. Most vendors soon had queues of anywhere from 10 to 30 people. The only vendors that seemed a bit sparsely attended were the bagel shop and the French bakery, who were no doubt finding it hard to stand out against big-flavor crowd-pleasers like pulled pork and paella.

I got in line at Fletcher’s. After a good 15-minute wait I finally reached the counter. I ordered a brisket sandwich, and, in an extraordinary display of self-discipline and sacrifice, declined to accompany my meal with fries or soda. Then there was another excruciating wait. Even with the staff working frantically — one woman of admirable good humor was tasked with slicing up all the meat and individually preparing each sandwich — the food took forever. I waited patiently with the other huddled and hungry masses. Next to me a beefy-looking man paced anxiously in front of the counter like a bull straining against his pen.

Finally I got my order, which precipitated the next dilemma: it turns out there are almost no places to actually sit down and eat one’s food. There were a few picnic benches in one corner of the food court, but nothing, as far as I could see, besides that — leaving most diners to eat standing up or, since many are professionals who work nearby, to heave themselves back up the escalator, stoically dragging their tasty prizes like so many latter-day pizza rats.

I was by now very hungry. I snatched an open seat at one of the picnic tables and immediately consumed my brisket sandwich, rapidly and without pretense of foreplay. I should say that the sandwich was excellent. After finishing it I decided I ought to sample some food from at least one or two other vendors. On the one hand, I’m on a diet; on the other hand, I had practically a journalistic obligation, no?

Unfortunately there were offputtingly long lines at most of them. After a lot of aimless wandering I settled on Ample Hills — incidentally a curious name for an ice cream store, like a frat brother’s idea of a witty euphemism — where I got a small cup of pistachio. (Again, I really should be commended for my attitude of near-monastic self-restraint.) The ice cream was delicious, though for some reason it tasted like every flavor except pistachio.

Like Sartre, my idea of Hell is other people, and by this point the crowds had grown into a maelstrom. Between that and my roiling heartburn it was time, I decided, to take an Irish goodbye. I beat my way through a throng of people toward the escalator’s promised freedom. From there I emerged onto the ground floor of the mall above, blinking in the sunlight like a parolee released from some decadent culinary underworld. I set off for a drugstore to buy antacids and ask penitence.