Blog: New Taste of the UWS 15 - Soiree in the Park
The 8th Annual New Taste of the Upper West Side would kick off in style on Wednesday evening, undaunted by the persistence of rain despite being held outdoors. The “Soiree in the Park,” held in a particularly striking setting under the stars in nearby Theodore Roosevelt Park would combine live music and delectable eats from a handful of locally acclaimed restaurants during the festive two hour affair. Proceeds from the evening would benefit the park’s continued upkeep as it sits in the picturesque shadows of the iconic American Museum of Natural History.
Champagne flutes would await the some 250 arriving guests filing in from West 79th Street, some with and some without umbrellas to shield them from the passing storm. But despite the rain, the uplifting spirit of the evening would not be suppressed- and most supporters would stick around until the evening’s conclusion. Grabbing refreshing pours of “Lavender’s Blue” cocktails courtesy of LOCL Bar, we joined our fellow attendees by taking a quick lap around the space to survey the many exquisite hors d’oeuvres.
Hunger pangs were quickly quenched by the delicate and decadent three-bite “Maine Shrimp Roll” from the Luke’s Lobster team. A smear of rich butter lacquered each side of the fluffy hot dog bun enveloping the chilled, tender hunks of fresh shrimp. Despite appearing at most local food events, we can’t say that we’ve ever grown tired of their handheld delicacies as the dollop of mayo and sprinkle of pepper makes this hefty portion a perpetual must-try dish. Washing down the seafood, we sipped on some nice Spanish wines from Somontano (the “2008 Enate Crianza” was particularly delicious) before continuing to taste some of the delicious seafood dishes being served.
A three-piece musical outfit played amid the sophisticated evening’s backdrop; the musical pace would keep folks’ feet moving from table to table as they indulged on more of the appetizing fare. The “Citrus-cured Salmon” served by The Milling Room brought out some of the freshest tasting salmon that we’ve tasted in recent memory, admirably adorned with a seasonal vegetable salad and edamame as suitable accoutrements. Caffe Storico meanwhile tugged at our hearts with their lightly “Seared Tuna.” The accompanying drizzle of creamy ramp and tomato aioli paired brilliantly with the chilled pink slice, allowing the tasty array of flavors to complement each other.
As the evening wore on, we noticed more and more of our fellow guests standing in appreciation of Theodore Roosevelt Park, often seconding our own sentiments. “The park is what makes this neighborhood beautiful,” they’d say to the agreement of their small surrounding party. Food samples like Calle Ocho‘s earthy “Quinoa Salad with Pickled Shrimp,” Savoury Indian Restaurant‘s vegetarian “Aloo Tikki” and delicious desserts from Sarabeth’s and Gastronomie 491 (their “Cashew Gelato” was incredible) did nothing to dissuade our undying love for the restaurants that comprise the desirable neighborhood. As tasty and tasteful as the evening was, the 2015 New Taste of the Upper West Side is just getting started- and the “Soiree in the Park” was just a precursor for two of the season’s best eating events slated for the weekend. Limited tickets remain, but have a look at what you can expect on Friday and Saturday at their website here.
- Alexandra Fetsey
Gastronomie 491: “Homemade Gelato” & “Il Caproso”
Luke’s Lobster: “Maine Shrimp Rolls”
The Milling Room: “Citrus-cured Salmon with Spring Vegetable Salad”
Caffe Storico: “Seared Tuna with Ramp and Tomato Aioli”
Savoury Indian Restaurant and Bar: “Aloo Tikki- Spiced Potato Cake with Chickpeas”
Calle Ocho: “Quinoa Salad with Pickled Shrimp” & “Coconut Macaron”
Sarabeth’s: “A Sampling of Four Classic Cookies- Rugelach, Linzer, Chocolate Chubbie & Chocolate Marmalade”