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Eat Cetera: Choice Eats, Local Bread, and Kenmare

<em>Gothamist</em><p></p>Last night was the <a href="http://choiceeats.villagevoice.com/2010/">Village Voice's 3rd annual Choice Eats</a> tasting event. Held at the 69th Regiment Armory, restaurants from all over the city were invited to serve some of their popular dishes to the hungry masses. Most of them made pork. We did our best to try them all before our pants split, and here are our top five favorites:<p></p><ul>t<li><a href="http://www.kumquatcupcakery.com/">Kumquat Cupcakery</a>: These mini-cupcakes were just the right size, made to be enjoyed in one sweet bite like a bonbon. Their three offerings were classic red velvet, chocolate pistachio and chocolate blueberry. The blueberry, out early since it's only sold April-August, consists of chocolate blueberry cake and blueberry cream cheese frosting, which adds a savory balance. It would have been rude to eat just one, so we consumed many, just to be polite.</li>t<li><a href="http://www.lukeslobster.com/">Luke's Lobster</a>: Though they decided to serve their shrimp rolls instead of lobster, they easily showed why they've been so popular <a href="http://gothamist.com/2009/10/01/new_restaurants_lukes_lobster_summit_bar.php">since opening last October</a>. The fresh, cold shrimp was served on a buttered piece of toast with a hint of mayo, some lemon butter and spices. It barely needed the dressing.</li>t<li><a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/patacon-pisao-2-elmhurst">Patacon Pisao:</a> This Venezuelan street food place served a whopping six different plates, and pretty much all of them were good. Though they have arepas, the cachapa are the sandwiches worth going for. Made with corn meal bread, butter, mozzarella, sour cream and parmesan cheese, they're almost as sweet as a dessert, though definitely messy. Also popular were the namesake patacons, green plantain sandwiches with meat and garlic sauce.</li>t<li><a href="http://cheekysandwiches.com/">Cheeky Sandwiches:</a> This New Orleans sandwich shop sadly didn't have their oyster po'boy, but made up for it with a marinated pork chop sandwich with caramelized apples and onion on challah. The apples gave a nice tartness to the mound of pork, which was surprisingly tender for a pork chop. And challah bread never hurts. They also had a butternut squash sandwich with beets and goat cheese for the vegetarian crowd.</li>t<li><a href="http://www.xianfoods.com/index.php">Xi'an Famous Foods</a>: The "No Reservations" favorite showed up with their famous Liang Pi "Cold Skin" Noodles, made with wheat flour, seitan, cilantro and spices. It was chewy, spicy and refreshing, with absolutely no need for meat.</li></ul>


<strong>Pain D'Avignon</strong>: After selling their bread and pastries to restaurants like Dean &amp; Deluca and Momofuku Ssam bar for years, the Long Island wholesale bakery has opened its first retail location at the Essex Street Market. They'll sell all of their favorites, like croissants, baguettes, cranberry-pecan rolls and rye bread, and will soon be offering coffee and sandwiches. All of their dough is cut and shaped by hand, and they use organic ingredients whenever possible. You can see their full list of products here [<a href="http://www.firstpresspr.com/Product.pdf">pdf</a>]. Who knew there were that many types of baguette?<p></p><em>120 Essex Street, 212-673-4950</em>


<strong>Kenmare</strong>: Though they had their "soft opening" <a href="http://gothamist.com/2010/02/18/new_restaurants_6.php?gallery0Pic=3#gallery">back in February</a>, we're now informed that Kenmare is officially open for business. Paul Sevigny's 100 seat restaurant now has a Mediterranean-American menu to go with the <a href="http://gothamist.com/2010/02/24/kenmare_obnoxious_not-open_club_alr.php">basement dance club</a>, with dishes like basil gnocchi, crispy halibut with chive mashed stroganoff, and of course meatball sliders. Sevigny insists this is a serious addition to NYC's "culinary landscape," not a party hole like the infamous <a href="http://gothamist.com/2009/11/05/is_the_beatrice_inn_making_a_comeba.php">Beatrice Inn</a>. That's on the way, though; he <a href="http://www.wwd.com/lifestyle-news/eye/kenmare-opens-for-dinner-3005746">tells WWD</a>: "We have a very exciting space we’re working on right now...Hopefully within a month or two it’s going to be open, and people will forget the Beatrice ever existed." NEVER!!! Eater <a href="http://ny.eater.com/archives/2010/03/eater_inside_kenmare.php">has the menu</a>.<p></p><em>98 Kenmare Street, 212-274-9898</em>