Jesús Núñez | Graffit
On Saturday night, the New Taste of the Upper West Side showcased just how much the neighborhood has changed from a culinary no-man's land to a vibrant community of talented chefs serving great food. And all for a good cause to boot! One guest remarked that had this event been held 20 years ago, it would likely have featured three diners. (And boy do we remember those days!) Now it's hard to decide among all the delicious options, and the venue—a tent at the corner of Columbus and 77th—was packed with ever greater crowds in the four years since it started.
Some of our favorite bites included Bill Telepan's potato pierogi with chives and scallions, and Marc Murphy's (Ditch Plains) shrimp toast (which disappeared faster than his crew could plate). Newcomer-to-the-'hood Jesús Núñez, from Graffit, had one of the prettiest and inventive offerings: a Manchego cheese toast dotted with a row of unique pairings, starting with a red wine gelee and ending with quince and honey. We thought we'd died and gone to heaven and the Rapture had happened when we spied Rosa Mexicano's giant molcajete filled with their excellent guacamole.
But the standout plate came from celeb chocolatier Jacques Torres, who served a bombolino that wasn't even chocolate! Light, airy, not greasy and filled with a delicate cheese custard. We'll take a dozen, please.