See You in New York City for ICC!
New York is the StarChefs.com home base, yet so much of our editorial content focuses on our travels around the country and the world. But the next week is all about New York for us. First, we have the fourth StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress from Sunday, September 20 through Tuesday, September 22. We have an incredible line-up this year. Check out the full schedule here (it’s not too late to buy tickets!) and check back for daily wrap-ups of the event.
It will all culminate in the New York Rising Stars awards ceremony and gala on Tuesday night at the Mandarin Oriental. Tickets are still available, but hurry—the event is mostly sold out. To read more about this year’s class of highly talented young Rising Star winners, check out Why They Shine and their interviews, bios, and recipes.
As usual, New York City is packed with talent—from fast casual to ultra high end. We came across lots of farmer’s market-driven menus with an emphasis on both seasonality and innovation.
The team at Per Se is as impressive as ever. We tasted with Pastry Chef Elwyn Boyles whose desserts are playful elaborations using classic American flavors, like sassafras and popcorn. Each plate is carefully composed with multiple components of varying textures and shapes that make each dish a delight to see and taste. Sommelier Roxane Shafaee-Moghadam expertly pairs both expected and outside-the-box wines, and shares her thoughts on the pairings in an understated and well-spoken manner befitting the restaurant.
Chef Sylvain Delpique, Pastry Chef Gustavo Tzoc, and Sommelier Michael Shef all wowed us at David Burke Townhouse. Chef Delpique’s dishes are whimsical, colorful, and full of texture. Our favorite: Sashimi of Hamachi, Compressed Watermelon, Avocado, Honshemeji Mushrooms, and Red Curry Coconut Dressing, which Shef paired with a delightful Reisling that played well with the dish. Tzoc’s desserts are refreshing, light palate cleansers that flow effortlessly behind the rest of the meal.
We always enjoy Charlie Palmer’s Aureole, where 2007 New York Rising Star Chris Lee continues to impress us. Now we have one more reason to go—Pastry Chef Jennifer Yee’s fruit-focused desserts that are an updated ode to Americana. Her Rum Raisin Souffle with Cinnamon Oatmeal Ice Cream tastes like a comforting and elegant piece of maple French toast in the form of a light and airy soufflé.
Chef Ed Cotton is no stranger to us—we had last enjoyed his food at Veritas. Now at BLT Market, he is preparing delightful dishes with a classical slant. We knew the meal was going to be fun when it started with pigs in a blanket and garlic bread, a treat that goes to every table to start. Dish after dish he wowed us and surprised our palates, from Roasted Saddle of Rabbit with Roasted Snails and Fricasse of Morels to Cous Cous Carbonara with English Peas, Pancetta, and Quail Egg.
Greenwich Village continues to be a booming dining destination. Tony Zazula, owner of local hotspot Commerce, has revived the landmark restaurant that has been home to a speakeasy, The Blue Mill Tavern, and Grange Hall. And Chef Harold Moore carries on the culinary torch, cooking solid food with a variety of influences; our tasting ranged from authentic Japanese Rare Beef Tataki to comforting yet upscale Whole Roasted Chicken for Two with Foie Gras Bread Stuffing. Just blocks away, Chef Gabriel Thompson of L’Artusi and Dell’Anima is preparing satisfying, rustic Italian cuisine like Grilled Octopus with Fingerling Potatoes, Chilies, and Olives. Beverage Director and Owner Joe Campanale paired an unusual and memorable white Lambrusco with Grilled Green Asparagus, Ricotta Salata, and Fried Egg. At just 24 years old, Campanale already has two restaurants under his belt—he’s definitely someone to watch.
The Brooklyn culinary scene continues to shine with chefs successfully turning out upscale casual treatments of familiar flavors and comfort food. Of course, we loved Dressler (owner Colin Devlin, also of DuMont and DuMont Burger, won this year’s Rising Star Restaurateur Award); check out the recipe for Chef Polo Dobkin’s Warm Artichoke Heart, White Beans, Arugula, Parmigiano, and Garlic Dressing, which he will serve at the Rising Stars Gala.
At Fort Greene’s No.7, Perry St. alum Chef Tyler Kord marries clean flavors with multi-textured compositions to produce an American bistro feel. A fillet of grilled salmon served with cold summer squash and an orange habanero gastrique was cooked to a melting, medium-rare contrasted by a crispy charred skin. Kord’s pastry chef Amanda Clark matches the bistro fare with comfort-turned-haute dishes like her house-made cornflakes with freeze-dried strawberries.
An ex-Le Bernardin cook, Chef Kevin Adey transplanted his skills to Park Slope’s Bussaco, where dishes like his cured foie gras torchon and grilled octopus with house-made chorizo are making Brooklyn an outpost for modern American cuisine.
Over the summer we also enjoyed impressive tastings with Chef Joel Dennis at Adour, Chef Justin Bogle at Gilt, Chef Gregory Pugin at Veritas, Chef Julia Jaksic at Employees Only, Chef Bobby Hellen and Beverage Director/Owner Christian Pappanicholas of Resto, Chef Joe Dobias and Mixologist Jill Schulster at JoeDoe, Chef Alain Alegretti at Alegretti, Chef Marc Forgione at Marc Forgione, Sommelier Belinda Chang of The Modern, and Sommelier Thomas Combescot at Adour. Don’t miss the photos from all of these tastings in the photo galleries!
If you’re going to be in New York for The Congress or Rising Stars, take a peek at the first installment of our New York Restaurant and Bar List [link to feature] for some of our favorite recently tasted places to eat and drink in the Big Apple.
As always, we love hearing from you! Be sure to become a fan of StarChefs on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to keep up with where I’m going and what I’m eating.