Tuesday night brought a much-anticipated annual event for NYC food lovers: The The Village Voice's tasting event, Choice Eats. Now in its seventh year, the event was held at Basketball City at Pier 36, an enormous venue with views of the skyline and plenty of room to shuffle between food booths. 6pm, VIP hour, was the magic time to arrive, when lines for food and drink were not too long, and VIP guests could enjoy Doughnut Plant doughseeds, a giftbag with food treats, and full bottles of beer.
84 restauarants participated in this year's event! Representing the outer boroughs, and even Jersey City, restaurants brought bites of cuisine from 35 countries all over the world, from Australia to Greece to Nigeria to Texas and everywhere in between!
As with any food event, the trick was to come hungry, pace yourself, and take advantage of all the fun and exciting flavors. Arriving preemptively famished, I was beyond satiated sooner than expected, tempted too easily by almost every restaurant booth.
Atomic macaroni and cheese, from Queens Comfort, a cheesy, crispy treat doused in hot Sriracha was a great way to wake up tastebuds. Tabata Noodle Restaurant served a dan dan noodle soup in broth, a twist on the traditiona Chinese dish, that was just spicy enough, and offered a nice contrast to the wheat noodles which are not always so flavorful. Bunker, the traditional Vietnamese restaurant in Ridgewood served up a longbean salad, a nice contrast to heavier dishes, but packed with flavor. Luke's Lobster attracted some of the longest lines for its crab rolls, which always hit the spot. Seafood fans could also line up for Red Hook Lobster Pound's lobster bisque, one of my favorite dishes of the evening. Max, the downtown Sicilian restaurant, served hearty, creamy slices of lasagna, and though it was heavy, it was too hard to resist a second portion. The Meatball Shop, another regular staple in my New York diet, served their plump traditional meatballs sprinkled with parmesan in red sauce, one of the simplest, tastiest dishes in the city. Mooncake Foods provided what they deemed the world's best wontons (and I don't disagree), steamed fresh and stuffed full of shrimp, pork, and shitaake mushrooms, drizzled with chili oil.
BBQ, perhaps because of its ability to serve people en masse, was another popular item. Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue, Jimmy's No. 43, John Brown Smokehouse, Mable's Smokehouse, Morgan's Barbecue, and more featured their tender meats, sauces, and sides, for carnivores to enjoy.
The Village Voice's next tasting event, Choice Streets, a food truck tasting will be held on Wednesday, May 7th. Tickets will be available here.