Last night, the 17th annual New York Taste event, hosted by New York magazine, took place at The Waterfront, a reconverted warehouse on the way-West Side. This year’s event marked a personal milestone for me personally. I managed to sample each and every of the roughly five dozen morsels offered. It was no mean feat, but duty called, and I answered.
I am happy to report I survived. And I am here to tell you there were no losers, other than those who made the mistake of staying home.
This year, there was a marked emphasis on fish and seafood among the savoring offerings (a nod perhaps toward healthier eating on the New York restaurant scene).
Among the more captivating items tasted was a delicate salmon quenelle in a rich reduction of coconut milk (and probably heavy cream), perfumed with Thai basil. The miniature masterpiece was the work of David Waltuck, who achieved fame at Chanterelle in the 1980s and now holds court at Élan in the Flatiron District. Equally praiseworthy was veteran Aureole’s Australian hirama with rhubarb, avocado, and Meyer lemon: A compelling study in textures and flavors.
Lovers of red meat were by no means forgotten. Witness a melange of boneless braised short ribs, baby carrots, mozzarella, mustard, and fried Tuscan kale — one of the more substantial portions, served up by Casa Lever.
No food fest would be complete with ramen, a need handsomely answered by Koa’s chashu ramen, featuring slivers of pork belly along with strands of homemade pasta in a stock tasting of long-simmered bones.
There were plenty of celebrity chefs on hand this year, including Sam Mason, late of Tailor and currently dishing up scoops and sundaes at Old Fellows Ice Cream Co. Mason has always operated on the cutting edge of molecular gastronomy, and his current frozen wares exhibit that same passion. Last night he was serving miso apple pie ice cream. I found myself wanting to lick the cup.
Those who sprung for VIP passes got a chance to sample Bouchon Bakery’s phenomenal peanut butter cream sandwiches (think sublime NutterButters).
One of the most inescapable aspects of the Taste events is the care that goes into creature comforts. Waste receptacles are in grand abundance as are strategically placed tables, which obviate the need for grazers to do a juggling act with their wine glass and current snack.