Events — 02 June 2015
New Taste 2015 Closes with “Best of the West”

Blog: New Taste of the UWS 15 - Best of the West

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Capping off another wildly successful weekend, 2015′s 8th Annual New Taste of the Upper West Side concluded in grand fashion with Saturday evening’s “Best of the West” event. If some of the neighborhood’s most established eateries didn’t sufficiently draw an audience to the event, surely the event’s lineup of hosts would do the trick with NBC4′s Lauren Scala and Food Network personalities and Chefs Marc Murphy, Anne Burrell and Katie Lee all on hand in celebration of the festivities. This year, proceeds from the weekend would be graciously given from the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District to local community staples like the O’Shea School Complex, the Columbus Avenue Streetscape Project and the picturesque Theodore Roosevelt Park Fund- host of Wednesday evening’s kickoff to the weekend with the 2015 “Soiree in the Park.” But before the weekend’s real triumph would be realized, there was a party in which to revel on Saturday night.

Conceptually, “Best of the West” was established a few years back as a showcase of some of the neighborhood’s finest chefs and with names like Bar Boulud, Dovetail, Jean-Georges and Parm participating, the annual affair has certainly managed to continue along in its esteemed lineage. Though “Comfort Classics” would similarly emanate from the same space on the previous evening, the lineup of restaurants would be completely refreshed as would the night’s musical act. The immensely talented 16-piece collective of Joe Battaglia and The New York Big Band would festively flood the air with their eclectic musical repertoire as guests filing into the space would load up on some of the affair’s most sought after dishes.

Among the more unique fare being served, Cafe du Soleil‘s piping hot “Escargots Bourguignonnes,” deliciously lacquered in garlic and oil atop a slice of rustic bread and Caffe Storico’s “Pork Belly in Charred Scallion Vinaigrette,” a thick fatty hunk of charred pork over a strand of treviso, were two of our immediate favorites. Parm meanwhile managed to showcase a masterful take on a traditional dish with a spectacular “House Roasted Turkey Slider,” sandwiched between two halves of a soft brioche bun with all of the requisite accoutrements. Flavorful and juicy, the three bite sandwich was accompanied by a tomato-pepper spread that perfectly complemented each white meat slice. Plenty of beer, wine and spirits were stationed around the space making the pours of refreshing wines like Pere Ventura “Cava” and cocktails from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, both easy to find and delicious to sip on as we paced around the setting.

VIP guests were offered exclusive access to an outdoor lounge and bar, where the warm weather atmosphere outdoors further enhanced an already lavish and chic setting for guests under the stars. Back inside though, sizable “Shack Burgers” from Shake Shack Upper West Side, rich “Chopped Liver on Rye Crackers” from The Ribbon, “Chicken and Watercress Dumplings” from RedFarm and creamy bowls of “Rabbit Cavatelli” courtesy of Tessa seemed to be attracting swarms of folks who continued to make the rounds as the affair progressed. For our money, our favorite dishes were prepared courtesy of Porter House New York, whose tangy sauce and slaw covered “Bourbon Braised Short Rib Mini Bun” yielded an intense and complex sea of different mouthwatering flavors with each hearty bite and Tavern on the Green’s “Maple-Braised Boneless Beef Short Rib,” which tore apart seamlessly with each touch of our fork. Plated with a handful of edamame and chilled slaw, the slightly sweet and sticky sauce intensified the taste of the impeccably cooked slab of beef.

In all, more than 40 restaurants and hundreds of attendees would attend the 2015 “Best of the West,” a refined and tasteful glimpse at the fine cuisine that the Upper West Side has to offer. There’s a reason why the neighborhood is amongst the most desirable to inhabit in all of New York City, the beautification and continued upkeep of which serves to reinforce the area’s sense of community. With its fantastic fare and celebrity guests, New Taste of the Upper West Side’s Saturday event was a conclusion befitting an event of this stature- the only unfortunate circumstance is having to wait until 2016 to enjoy its next grandiose weekend of festivities.

- Jane Van Arsdale

Food Highlights from New Taste of the UWS: Best of the West 2015

Cafe Tallulah: “Truffle Crab Salad


Tavern on the Green: “Maple-Braised Boneless Beef Short Rib


The Mermaid Inn: “Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho, Crab & Cucumber Salad”


The Leopard at des Artistes: “Braised Baby Artichoke & Provolone Lasagna”


The Smith: “Toasted Ricotta Gnocchi”


Candle Cafe West: “Chipotle Grilled Seitan”


Dovetail: “Barbecued Turnips, Avocado & Pumpkin Seeds”


Tessa: “Rabbit Cavatelli”


Parm: “House-Roasted Turkey Slider”


Ed’s Chowder House: “Skuna Bay Salmon Sliders”


Cafe du Soleil: “Escargots Bourguignonnes”


Jean-Georges: “Strawberry Tiramisu”


Good Enough to Eat: “Silver Dollar Pancake”


A.G. Kitchen: “Cubano”


Firehouse: “BBQ Mild Bubba Chicken Wings”


Andanada: “Fresh Sliced Iberico Ham” & “Paella Mixta Chicken”

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Caffe Storico: “Pork Belly, Treviso & Charred Scallion Vinaigrette”


Porter House New York: “Bourbon Braised Short Rib Mini Bun”


Cafe Luxembourg: “Buttermilk Fennel Vichyssoise with Kippered Salmon”


Magnolia Bakery: “Assorted Ice Cream Sandwiches”

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Lincoln Square Steak: “Grilled Marinated Hanger Steak”


Sysco Metro NY: “Grilled Shrimp over Farro Salad with Spring Pea Puree”


Nice Matin: “Short Ribs Provencal”


Shake Shack Upper West Side: “ShackBurger”


Boulud Sud: “Grilled Lamb Merguez Kebab”


Bar Boulud: “Chilled Pea Soup”


Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto: “Giorgio’s Salami”


Henry’s: “Fried Chicken ‘Chicharrones’” & “Shredded Kale Salad”


Atlantic Grill Lincoln Center: “Shaved Asparagus, Spring Peas, Saffron Pickled Mustard Seeds”


Rosa Mexicano: “Guacamole en Molcajete”


Cesca Enoteca & Trattoria: “House-made Stracciatella”


The Milling Room: “Chilled Cucumber & Yogurt Veloute”


The Ribbon: “Chopped Liver on Rye Crackers”


Bustan: “Lamb Merguez”


Calle Ocho: “Ceviche Mixto”


Carmine’s: “Eggplant Parmigiana”


RedFarm: “Chicken and Watercress Dumplings”


Alice’s Tea Cup: “Brookies”


Ocean Grill: “Acacia Honey & Ricotta Crostini”


Voila Chocolat: “Artisanal Chocolate”


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(1) Reader Comment

  1. What an exquisite array of food wow