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Flatiron Chefs Recap
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Flatiron Chefs Recap

I’ve heard that the Food PR people in NYC have a list of the freeloaders and a list of writers that turn out great product. I’m determined not going to be on the freeloader list. I’m not going to take any comps from individual restaurants, but being invited to a food event as a member of the press is different – I don’t owe the restaurants anything and it’s my obligation as a journalist (can I call myself a journalist?) to offer a perspective free of slant.

I went to the NYC Food Film Festival, and the #SHUCKOFF was fantastic. Brad Farmerie’s Asian Street fair was great, and the films the first night were good, but I caught two completely terrible films the second night that should not have been in the festival. I said that in my write-up, and I didn’t garner any retweets from their Twitter feed.

My guess is that the organizers knew these were bad films, but they were the only ones that fit the theme that evening, so they got in. Even as filler, they were shitty. If all you read is praise about your event, there’s no progress; in the future, I’d hope the selection committee eliminates this crap from the docket.

That being said, I really have nothing negative to say about the Flatiron Chefs event aside from the price. I didn’t see any of the familiar foodie faces I usually see at these events, and this was a great one to attend. All proceeds go to charity, so if you came, you could write it off, which is a big plus when you’re spending $160-$260 on dinner. I don’t know how it works with taxes and deductions, but it seemed a bit high. I don’t know if the event was sold out, but it was very easy to move around and there were no lines when I was there, both big plusses.

I had just about everything here. The few places I didn’t check out had very low price points (ex. Rickshaw Truck, Shake Shack). If you’re going to spend stomach space on food, you want to spend it at the most expensive places possible, because you can always go back and try the cheaper ones without blinking.

I’ve set it this post up so the pictures tell the story. You can click to zoom in on all the images to see the exact ingredients in each of the offerings:

Chargrilled Mini Lamb Burger with Cumin Mayo from The Breslin. One of the event staff bit into this guy and lamb juice splooged all over his right arm and in a 45 degree trajectory toward his five o’clock. I gave him the heads up of what happened, but no one was in the vicinity of the eruption. I go grab one about ten minutes later and forget it ever happened, bite in and the same thing happens. Lamb grease all over my suit jacket.

Totally worth it – there was so much of it, and so many places to still try, but I debated finishing it. It ended up being my third favorite taste of the day behind the Crepe Monsieur and the Doughnut.

Lamb Gyro from Resto. Lamb fave #2. Pickles and Tzatziki – something I hadn’t tried before that really works.

Lamb Skewer on Crostini and a Watermelon and Tomato Gazpacho from Boqueria. I missed the Meatopia-winning lamb from Boqueria on Sunday, so I made sure to get this stuff. Third Place for me at Flatiron (only because of the Tzatziki and pickles). The crostini and lamb combo, however, were great. If you could get a crostini and lamb sandwich, that might put it over the top. The gazpacho was a pass.

Roast Pork and Watermelon from Ilili. Meh.

Tomato Salad Sandwich with Ricotta and Ramp Mayo from No 7. Sub. Here’s Tyler trying to get me to eat my vegetables again, and again I was surprised by how awesome it was. I really think it’s the homemade bread. I’ve not yet been to No. 7 Sub, but it’s now on the to-do list.

Estofado de Puerco from Cabrito. I realized that I didn’t get a pic of the Fatty ‘Cue dish I had when I was making this image. Damn.

This was pulled pork with cilantro and a chili pepper. I had a bite of the pulled pork by itself. Nothing special. Then I had a bite with just the cilantro. It was like night and day, then I took a bite with the chili pepper and it was at the same level of the cilantro bite. I had no more bites left on the plate and I figured the reason they were giving me the plate with the chili and the cilantro was to have it all together. I was wrong – the bites were much better individually.

Ribdiculous Wings from Craft. The flavor was great, the wings were huge, the chicken was cooked excellently, but part of the bone from the part that wasn’t supposed to be a wing was stuck onto one of the wings I was eating and it made it tough to eat. I was also talking to this girl who wasn’t eating anything. Wings aren’t the most attractive food to eat when you’re meeting new people.

Soy Roast Chicken from Pranna. Juicy, tender, flavorful, and there was a lot of it. I was surprised at how much I liked it considering I’d just had the wings from Craft.

The Charbay Green Tea Lemonade and the Canton Lime Cooler from Pipeline. I’d have put down a gallon of the Canton Lime Cooler. Domaine De Canton, seltzer water, and a squeeze of lime. The drink slaps you in the face and screams “SUMMEEERRRRR!”

Obviously, I have no idea what I got from The Hurricane Club. I promised not to compare the chicken cone to K! Pizzacone in anything but shape, and it bears no resemblance other than. For future reference, the lime is not a sufficient chalice for anything less than 100 proof. Maybe 10 of those would have done the trick.

Crepe Monsieur and Buckwheat Crepe Monsieur (the darker one – gluten free) from Bar Breton. This was my favorite bite of the afternoon. A crispy fried crepe with ham and gruyere. They were special; imagine a croque monsieur deep fried in a crepe. Come on. That shit is sexy as hell and you know it. These might have been the first things to run out.

Sausage and Fonduta Filled Arancini and an Aperol/Beer Cocktail from A Voce. Someone really fucked up their menu poster because Aperol is spelled incorrectly and there’s no such thing as Aperol-Beer. Of all the chefs I talked to yesterday, I liked Missy the most – she was having the most fun. I told her I didn’t like Campari and that I would have to try the cocktail. I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t like it, but she was. The arancini was great, the risotto was still firm and creamy inside; they were frying on premises.

Mini Doughnuts and Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad from ABC Kitchen – When I bit into this doughnut, I said aloud “Wow, that’s a fucking amazing donut!” I spell it Doughnut but I say it Donut. I wanted to appreciate the salad more, but look at that doughnut. Awesome.

Gelatos from Ciao Bella. I had a trio in a cup, and the Key Lime Graham/Blackberry Cabernet combo was excellent.

The Taste of Summer Melons by Eleven Madison Park. The most elaborate setup, dish, creation, presentation … apply elaborate to everything and they nailed it. The flavors were balanced well. You know when Danny Meyer pulls out “melon seed brittle” and “watermelon foam,” there is going to be some sex-in-mouth happening.

Roasted Corn Chat and a Kulfi Chipwich from Tabla. They did the chipwich right with the chocolate chips edging the ice cream part of the sandwich. Nice move. I was only going to have the chipwich (Kulfi is an Indian ice cream), but someone came by and raved about the salad. I had to try it.

Crispy Lavender Taco with Tuna Tartare from Allegretti. Alain was hanging with what I think was his daughter – she was the cutest. You can’t not like a Tuna Taco that is purported to have been created by a 12 year old.

Assorted Meats from Eataly. They didn’t bother to put their menu up because it actually said “Assorted Meats.” Not the sexiest description of the charcuterie they had on tap. They’re not open yet, but they know meat. I didn’t have enough from this table. This was the last thing I was able to enjoy. I was beyond full, here.

Porchetta from SD26. Withholding judgment on this dish, but it looks pretty cool, yeah?

Panelle Sliders from Bar Stuzzichini – It was like a chickpea tofu fried like a Filet o’ Fish. Give me that Filet o’ Fish. I had this second to last, so I didn’t even want to eat food at this time. I ate it just to say I ate it.

The Romli Burger from 230 Fifth. Don’t even remember how it tasted. Now I’m just punishing myself. Why was I still eating? I don’t know.

Again, awesome chefs, awesome food all around, amazing event, a bit pricey, but if you got here early, paced yourself, and drank a lot, you might just have gotten your money’s worth. I’ll be at next year’s for sure.

Flatiron Chefs
Madison Square Park
New York, NY
(212) 538-4071

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