Michael Psilakis, Amanda Cohen and 300 gallons of cachaca spike the mood at the Grand Tasting
With all the tequila, rum, bourbon, boxed wine, still wine, bubbled wine, cachaca and mezcal being swilled along a half-mile stretch of pier, it's curious that anybody even thinks about the food (the constant smashing of glasses was a reminder of the high spirits in the house). We skipped the hooch with aims of trying many of the dishes, served by some of our favorite NYC restaurants.
But first, some news. Michael Psilakis tells us he's opening Fishtag in three weeks—his high-risk/reward project with the talented (and wandering-eyed) Ryan Skeen (our chef of the year in 2008). "We hit it off right away," says Psilakis of his new colleague. Also, Angelo Sosa tells us he wants to expand his Xie Xie empire to South Brooklyn. Soon. Stay tuned.
As for the Grand Tasting, we really enjoyed Dirt Candy's shaved celery salad with pesto—a dish that resembled calamari in texture. "We were prepping for seven days for this one," says the always-spirited Amanda Cohen. Kittichai also impressed with a smoked-trout tartare (both bitter and sweet) wrapped in an astringent shiso leaf. Wall & Water (which we've slept on, even with their very kind Times assessment) seared a giant, sweet, buttery scallop, topping it with preserved lemon. Tipsy Parson was also a big winner with barbecued pulled pork sliders. The owners prepped 2,500 for Saturday's sessions alone. They run a 40-seat neighborhood joint. Their kitchen has not expanded. Do the math. —Matt Rodbard