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Harvest in the Square
September 18, 2008

Chefs and avid eaters gathered in the West Plaza of Union Square Park under a star-studded sky for an evening of food and festivity at the13th annual Harvest in the Square. The food and wine fundraiser, put on by the Union Square Partnership (USP), highlighted chefs from 40 restaurants around the city's Union Square area. Each participating restaurant prepared a tasting bite for guests using ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket. 

Pictured from left to right: USP Co-Chair Danny Meyer, Executive Director Jennifer Falk, Audrey Meyer, and Co-Chair Eric Seiler (Photo by Heather E. Smith)

Tasters enjoyed the warm night air as they wandered in and out of white tents to munch on an array of local delicacies. Executive chef Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern presented an easy-to-grab Smoked Kielbasa and Heirloom Tomatoes on a long skewer. Pure Food and Wine chef Neal Harden served a fun, flavorful, raw Pumpkin Seed Tart with spring onion and cashew cheese, heirloom cherry tomatoes, pickled baby okra and spearmint shoots, which added a kick! Chef David Suarez of Rosa Mexicano pounded a lava-rock mortar to prepare his signature Guacamole en Molcajete. And Tamarind served a big plate of Chicken Kolah Puri over basmati rice with cumin and green peas to gala guests. Tocqueville Restaurant chef David Coleman's Chilled Borscht with Smoked Blue Fin Paté had an acidic zing, but was light and refreshing in contrast to the heavier dishes.

Left: Blue Water Grill's Farmer's Market Martini "Caprese" Right: Gramercy Tavern’s Smoked Kielbasa and Heirloom Tomatoes on skewers (Photos by Heather E. Smith)

The crowd was a mix of foodies and restaurant industry regulars like Eric Petterson of the Coffee Shop and Danny Meyer of the Union Square Hospitality Group, who co-chaired the event and founded the USP. Television personality Ted Allen stopped by, as did past contestants from the “Top Chef” reality television show. While some guests gobbled on Seared Hanger Steak with Maytag Blue Cheese Fondue from chef Brian O'Donohoe of Primehouse New York, others enjoyed Lunetta chef Adam Shepard's Fluke Crudo. Also worth mentioning were the Maryland Crab Cakes from Chef Joe Vaina at City Crab & Seafood Company. They had a crunchy exterior with a creamy mayo interior and were loaded with blue crab.

In the backdrop of all the festive feasting, protesters from the Union Square: Not For Sale organization gathered at the entrance of the VIP tent in an effort to rouse attendees. Dressed in chef coats and toques they banged pots and pans in an attempt to boycott the USP’s plan to replace the park’s Pavilion with a privately-owned restaurant.

The USP is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. Proceeds from the Harvest in the Square event "benefit the organization's ongoing beautification efforts in Union Square Park."

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Published October 2008