This past Saturday was essentially a very busy weekend packed with so many activities to do in New York City. One of the better things to do, especially during the evening was The New Taste of the Upper West Side: 5th Annual The Best of the West. It showcases best restaurants and chefs of the Upper West Side.
This year’s Honoree Gael Greene with Event Chairman Don Evans
The New Taste of the Upper West Side benefits the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District, to improve the neighborhood’s streetscape and ongoing support to help the creation of a Greenhouse Classroom at this location. John Fraser from Dovetail restaurant adjacent to the school, will be the chef-liaison to the project. Additionally, a portion of this year’s New Taste of the Upper West Side events to Citymeals-on-Wheels, founded by Gael Greene, the honoree of this year’s event, to help guarantee that West Side Senior citizens will continue to receive meals throughout the year.
Here’s my favorite 5 dishes and offerings (of the 41 restaurants and a number of wine, beer and spirits) represented that evening:
Gastroarte‘s Tomato Six Ways blew me away. I love tomatoes, especially when it’s at its best during the summer. Chef Núñez set out technically (cooking-wise), the most complex dish by treating the tomato six ways: a confit tomato (that’s wonderfully sweet, salty, and kind of sour), tomato marshmallow (the sweet, fluffy cube on the dish), green tomato made with olive oil gel, pure roasted tomato, tomato water gel, dried tomato, and heirloom tomato. The various textures and treatments of the tomato shows the complexities of this delicious fruit and the chef did a great job with that.
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill‘s hand rolls were one of the most popular (e.g. longest line) of the event and the wait was worth it. The two chefs making these hand rolls did a pretty good job making it on the fly and with five different choices (spicy tuna, spicy salmon, salmon, tuna, and yellowtail) of fish that every attendee wants, it makes sense why you’re waiting for 10 minutes during the General Admission time (during the VIP hour, it was only 3 minutes tops). Also Japanese soy sauce and freshly grated wasabi root accompanied these delicious hand rolls.
Shake Shack‘s SmokeShack burger was a cheeseburger topped with Niman Ranch Applewood smoked bacon, cherry pepper relish and Shack sauce. It’s a very decadent burger. The original Shake Shack cheeseburger is rich already but with the addition of a lot of bacon and cheese it’s over the top and one of the popular offerings of the event.
Salumeria Rossi Parmacotto‘s salumi was simple but excellent. They served hand-sliced prosciutto, mortadella, prosciutto cotto, coppa and coppa picacante. I don’t mind having platters of these everyday.
Bar Boulud‘s Mangalista pork agnolotti, Louisiana crawfish, fava beans, mushrooms, and spring peas were a great balanced dish from Executive Chef Damian Sansonetti. It’s not too heavy and not too light. The agnolotti were perfectly cooked and meaty and the spring vegetables balanced out the heavy pasta.
There were many good to very good offerings at this event and you are certainly bound to be stuffed here and the plentiful number of premium wines and spirits will make you happy, too.
To view more of my photos of this amazing event, please scroll through the slideshow below (or click through my Flickr set):
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The New Taste of the Upper West Side
Best of the West VIP ticket $200
General admission ticket $125
We agree with all five of these excellent restaurant choices. Each dish looks so picture perfect and packed full of flavor. No doubt these are some of the best in the city – we might have to go try some of them soon.
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