Blog: Time Out New York Food and Drink Awards 2014
The dimmed down purple and red lighting inside of Marquee‘s main ballroom Monday night was hardly the norm for a typical awards show. But with the Time Out New York 2014 Food and Drink Awards, typical gets thrown out the window. Moving into a slightly larger space for this year’s festivities, the popular New York magazine and heavily trafficked website brought together some of the City’s most inventive dish and cocktail makers, handing out ‘best-in show’ style awards for the 2013 year in consumption. And naturally on this night, the event itself featured some of the finest tastes available anywhere under one chic roof.
The space opened up with a crowded variety of participating restaurants, two bars and a photo booth and promotional area that was perpetually mobbed throughout the evening. Seated in the upstairs lounge area were the requisite VIPs. Each table was equipped with buckets of beer from event sponsor Stella Artois for the likes of the Time Out staff and the award winners and nominees, all of whom shared a glance down at the assembled crowd below. Behind the bustling bar were an array of eye-catching bartenders, each slinging signature cocktails that capably suited the small food samples being doled out around the room. Among the highlights were Attaboy‘s tequila based “Tommy’s #2″ and Betony‘s gin infused “Milk Punch,” before Golden Cadillac took the proverbial cake wth their sweet “Lychee Negroni,” a citrusy taste explosion with each passing sip.
Before the awards presentation began, the mini mustaches and fake cigars flowed freely at the photo both where guests were welcomed to print out three copies of pictures at a time or upload them to their social media accounts instantaneously. Meanwhile, we perused the list of A-list food vendors to ensure that we tasted all of the great eats inside. To no surprise, Dominique Ansel Bakery’s much bandied about “Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Shots” came and went the fastest. With rumored lines in excess of three hours at the bake shop each day, the selection was gone after roughly twenty-five minutes. Filled with sweet milk, the soft cookie shell enveloped the vanilla flavoring and with decadent drips of chocolate sauce inside of the cookie, this was perhaps the single greatest dessert that we could have hoped for. The very appearance of the ‘Milk Shots’ stirred up a bit of a ruckus as guests were literally pushing through folks to get their hands on one.
Though many of the attendees were left empty-handed, there were plenty of alternative options available to appease the hungry eaters inside. Newcomer Toro was serving a smoky “Chorizo Flavored Pork Butter with Fried Garlic” atop a crunchy crostini. The lacquered hunk of pork although flavorful, had us yearning for sticks of gum as the evening wore on to mask our garlicky breath. Betony‘s intensely nutty “Foie Gras Bon Bons” looked piping hot but were actually served cold yielding an unparalleled rich flavor profile while Golden Cadillac’s “Monte Cristo Minis” paired succulent smoked duck with ham and swiss in a deep fried bite and Bunker‘s “Popcorn Shrimp and Bay Scallops” were on the lighter side and a bit messy, but damn were they tasty. Topped with a lotus root salad, the portions were very generous and the sample was undeniably refreshing. The star of the night came from Bowery restaurant Pearl & Ash whose perfectly cooked “Lamb Belly” plated with a touch of black garlic and hazelnut proved to be the most complete serving that we had the pleasure of tasting- remarkably tender and savory at once.
The brief awards presentation allowed all of the evening’s big winners and their renowned chefs to pose front and center for a photo opportunity. Flashbulbs illuminated the entire room as luminaries like Wylie Dufresne (Alder), Ivan Orkin (Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop), Danny Bowien (Mission Cantina), Mario Carbone and Jeff Zalaznick (Carbone), Bryce Shuman (Betony), Richard Kuo (Pearl & Ash) and Dominique Ansel (Dominique Ansel Bakery) took pictures on stage and off along with some excited patrons who frequent their restaurants, which rank among New York City’s most popular. We’ve got the full list of winners below alongst with the exceptional dishes served at the Food and Drink Awards on Monday evening, a stellar event that deserves to come around more than just once a year.
Toro - Chorizo Flavored Pork Butter with Fried Garlic
Golden Cadillac – Monte Cristo Minis with Smoked Duck, Ham and Swiss
Betony - Foie Gras Bon Bons
Bunker - Popcorn Shrimp and Bay Scallops with Lotus Root Salad on Vietnamese Crab Chips
Dominique Ansel Bakery - Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Shots
Pearl & Ash - Lamb Belly, Black Garlic, Hearts of Palm and Hazelnut
The Time Out New York 2014 Food and Drink Reader’s Choice Winners
Best New Sushi – Sushi Nakazawa
Best New Import – Toro
Best Brand Extension – Lafayette
Best New Cocktail Bar – The Dead Rabbit
Best New Southeast Asian – Uncle Boons
Best Restaurant Bar Program – Pearl & Ash
Best New Steakhouse – M. Wells Steakhouse
Best New Beer Bar – Torst
Chef(s) of the Year – Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi, Carbone
Best New Restaurant – Carbone