Posted by: Orlick | April 1, 2009

Village Voice Choice Eats 2009 Wrap-up

Another tremendous success at Village Voice Choice Eats last night. Who else would you trust to put together a showdown of restaurants on the edge?

I only think in superlatives. Here are my awards:

Best in Show: Cafe Glechuk – Those jerk-offs. They put up a piece of sausage on toast and it was probably the best thing in the house. The lady added a piece of napolean cake to my plate. It was creamy and flakey and amazing. I don’t even like dessert. The piece was the biggest portion of anything I got at the event. I didn’t want to finish it, being mindful of stomach real estate, but I did. It was worth it.

Runner up: Roberta’s. Again, jerk-offs. They offer up a freakin’ piece of bread with butter. WTF? It was amazing and they were cutting and chatting the whole night.

Hometown Hero Shoutout: Tortilleria Nixtamal. The tuna filled pepper was the only thing I had a hard time with in regards to heat. Unexpected, wow. Unfortunately, more than a few people tried their plates without the tortilla. The man behind me finished his tuna relleno without the tortilla and I told him that the tortilla was one of the reasons they are so remarkable. He swallowed the tortilla quickly. They put in a lot of care to every dish, giving the event the respect it deserves. Good job there.

Too cool for school: Momofuku. They ran out about half hour into the process. Left business cards with no promises for discounts. I think they should have offered complimentary samples to the good citizens of Choice Eats. Seitsema, Don’t invite them back next year.

Most Gracious Selection: Margon, Cheburechnaya and Pam Real Thai. Che was tremendous. They gave me this big egg roll looking kebab. Again, greedy with stomach real estate. There were at least 6 options. Not a sampling, more like a schmorgas board. Margon was like 2 restaurants in one, with 4 people working the end table giving shrimp and octopus salad on one side and lots of rice and chicken and others on the other. Pretty much brought a typical steam tray selection to the event.

Sad Plate, big smile: Kampuchea. They gave chicken wings in the middle of a choice eats small plate. Looked pretty lonely. Most other restaurants had a mix of giveaways and packed at least half the plate. Some put garnishes and one had mini chinese food containers to contain their samplers (Mooncake). It seemed like Kamp just didn’t think of it.
The wing was spicy and savory and I loved it. Bones are hard to manage at this event, so I would like to reserve a set of wings at another time.

Maybe Semite-Conscious: Mama’s Food Shop had mac and cheese with some parts of the pig they were particularly proud of. They said it loud what was in it, it might have been a warning, actually. Maybe they took a look at my nose and beard and thought pork in cheese would be especially dis-religious. It was one of my favorites.

Why did I go here if I can get the real thing in my neighborhood? : Pam Real Thai Food. Part of the reason was that I wanted a rest and the line was long. The selections were broad, I had duck tamarind and tofu green curry over rice, and a dumpling and something else dumpling-like. I was impressed. This food and the employees had a lot of character.

Side note: These were mostly new restaurants from last year. What will happen next year? Can they sustain?

I missed it: I didn’t wait in most of the tremendous lines. I waited for my spot. I was extremely full at the end but I didn’t overdo it. I missed BBQ Pork Cheek from Fette Sau. Sheep Station lamb sandwiches. Smoked salmon at Smorgas Chef.

I thank the Village Voice for putting on this show, offering so many new restaurants for people who love to eat and search for new excitement. It’s an exhibition and an orgy. See you next year.

Links:
Nice pictorial review of the event from Kathyylchan and her blog review
Set from Jzderf
Yelp reviews of Choice Eats 2009
Margon offerings from Midtown Lunch
Serious Eats review – great pics as always. Very similar opinions as I have.

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