The New Taste of the Upper West Side this past weekend was a fantastic evening of delicious indulgences showcasing all the best eats by New York City’s finest chefs.
The eating fest kicked off on Wednesday, May 27th with a Soirée in the Park, followed by the Comfort Classics on Friday, May 29th. The main Best of the West event took place on Saturday, May 30th where over 40 of our favorite restaurants served up some of our favorite dishes all night long, along with tons of entertainment.
The evening was hosted by Marc Murphy, Chef + Owner of Benchmarc Restaurants (Landmarc and Ditch Plains) and judge on Food Network’s Chopped, as well as Anne Burrell, co-host of Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America. Guests also were delighted with a special guest appearance by Food Network‘s Katie Lee, who happily signed copies of her new book, Endless Summer Cookbook.
For those lucky guests, the VIP reception was presented by One West End with exclusive access to a champagne and beer bar. Other key sponsors included Celebrity Cruises, Ford, Sysco, Samuel Adams, Angry Orchard, and many more. Throughout the night, everyone got to enjoy the sounds of Joe Battaglia & the New York Big Band.
To highlight some of the astounding food, one of my favorite dishes of the night was the toasted ricotta gnocchi with white truffle cream from The Smith, as well as the rabbit and pancetta ragu cavatelli pasta from Tessa. Continuing the pasta trend, Leopard at des Artistes served lasagna with artichokes and provolone.
While not exclusive to the Upper West Side with new locations popping up everywhere, it takes a stronger person than me to resist Shack Shack and their signature cheeseburger, with a side of frozen custard and Stumptown Coffee. Parm served sliders with house-roasted turkey sliders, while Ed’s Chowder House took the seafood route and served Skuna Bay salmon sliders.
For more seafood, another of our favorite dishes from the evening was the seafood paella from Andanada. To cool us down, we enjoyed the salmon ceviche from Atlantic Grill, as well as the heirloom tomato gazpacho with crab and cucumber salad from The Mermaid Inn.
For some snacking in between other dishes, Rosa Mexicano had a giant vat of their signature guacamole surrounded by a mountain of tortilla chips. The chicken and watercress dumplings from RedFarm were tough to stop at just one.
For hearty meat dishes, we tried the beef short ribs from Tavern on the Green, grilled hanger steak from Lincoln Square Steak, and boneless wings from Firehouse Tavern. Not only were we able to eat some delicious cured meats, we were also entertained while watching Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto slice up some salami right in front of everyone.
As with any amazing meal, we needed to round it out with some amazing desserts. We had some “healthier” fruit options in the form of Jean-Georges‘ strawberry tiramisu with white chocolate, as well as the strawberry parfait from Jacques Torres Chocolate.
Magnolia Bakery doled out their signature banana pudding along with mini ice cream sandwiches. We loved the lemon bar flavor, but the red velvet was certainly the crowd favorite. Alice’s Tea Cup showcased a glorious fondant cake, but the edibles included mini cupcakes, cookies, and brownies. And I absolutely loved Mille-Feuille Bakery‘s salted caramel macarons with cognac with just the right amount of kick.
To wash it all down, we moseyed over to the Celebrity Cruises bar for some cocktails and sampled some Angry Orchard cider – but my favorite drink of the night was from Barritt’s Ginger Beer from Bermuda. Throw that in pretty much any cocktail to bring it to life at your next party. It also helps to have a studly bartender mixing and pouring all the drinks!
Another fantastic year for New Taste of the Upper West Side, and we can’t wait to visit all these restaurants in person!