Thrillist hosted the “Fest of the Best” last weekend, rounding up over a dozen of their favorite restaurants who served up their best dishes. Despite the rain and dismal weather, guests eagerly trekked to Brooklyn’s Villain event space, which allowed for more than enough room for everyone to mix, mingle, and feast.
While on the main floor is where all the food action was, Samsung hosted a VIP “Food Porn Lounge” where Chloe Wynne of THEPICURIST and Alexa Mehraban of EatingNYC taught guests how to style their food for Instagram and hashtag #foodporn properly. Also present was Vengo, a social media mini vending machine that guests uses to select prizes, such as Fest of the Best oven mitts, spatulas, and gift certificates to the participating restaurants.
To wash down all the food, Saranac IPAs and Caleb’s Kola were flowing freely, while cocktails were sponsored by Grey Goose. Guests enjoyed Grey Goose Martinis and Moscow Mules while DJ Kasey Berry spun tracks, accompanied by saxophonist Kareem Wilkes who meandered around the venue space spreading his smooth tunes.
A few of our favorite dishes included the “next day fried chicken” from Seoul Chicken – double fried chicken thighs, served with habanero spiced honey, kimchi pickles, and miso mustard aioli. Another notable slider were from Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue with all-natural organic beef, salt, pepper, and burger sauce on a potato roll.
For a few healthier options, Randolph served a warm grain and kale salad with bulgur wheat, quinoa, brown rice, mushrooms, asparagus & charred tomato. Sweetgreen served Rad Thai in a cup with organic arugula, mesclun, sprouts, carrots, shredded cabbage, spicy sunflower seeds, cucumbers, basil, citrus shrimp, all in a spicy cashew dressing.
For some seafood, we scarfed down a few oysters with wasabi peas and nori from BLT Fish, and Crave Fishbar served a salmon crudo with charred cauliflower, lemon prawn oil, and prawn dust. Though a bit delayed, it was worth the wait for the seared octopus from The Monarch Room with fennel, celery, and citrus.
Emily served smoked chicken with a potato puree, sunchoke chips & house-made pickles, and Horchata gave out plates of delicious guacamole with house-made corn tortilla chips. For a different spin on things, French Louie served snails with bordelaise sauce, mushrooms, and grits.
For dessert, we loved the chocolate budino from the Marlton Hotel topped with Sicilian olive oil and sea salt. Two Hands served delicious avocado toast on thick-cut wholegrain pullman loaf with olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper and chili flakes. They also served made-to-order Outback Caps: double shots of espresso with steamed milk and topped with chocolate powder. Who could resist a good and strong pick-me-up, especially from these adorable guys?!
In the end, Bacchanal took home top honors of the People’s Choice Awards for Best of 2014 with their confit lamb shoulder with a mint-olive-caper relish. Congrats to the Bacchanal team! But really we were all winners with this delicious food.
Photos by Kimberly Mufferi for Thrillist