Marc Murphy with his Ditch Plains dog topped with mac and cheese | Ditch Plains
Much respect to Village Voice lead restaurant critic Robert Sietsema and his team of food scholars (adventurers, obsessives, taste-masters). Yet again, your annual Choice Eats event brought together an impossibly eclectic range of restaurants from this wonderful restaurant city we live in—and without a Danny Meyer, Jeffrey Chodorow or Drew Nieporent joint in the mix. It was mostly about the little guy here—dishes from a Portuguese marisqueiras and Windsor Terrace's favored pad kee mao parlor were featured. To speak Bourdainian, it was all about the good stuff. True, this is a bit of paper bag-to-mouth hyperbole. We were simply very excited to try new things.
And some of the highlights? Clinton Hill's Buka—one of two West African representatives—did peppery goat soup enlivened with mint and a special spice pouch the owner buys at a secret market. North Williamsburg's Egg served country ham bread (a kissing cousin of the Italian lard bread), topped with pimento cheese, pickled mustard seed and touch of honey. Dressler's simple grilled octopus plate, dressed with white balsamic and chilled beans, was a nice change from the heavier fare. But speaking of that, Resto chef Bobby Hellen, a master of pig parts, did their rich tête de cochon sandwich with pickled jalapenos and sour cream. Other sandwiches of note: Court Street Grocers corned beef (two weeks in the making), No. 7 Sub's cold broccoli and City Sub's mayo-less BLT with pancetta and honey Dijon yogurt sauce. This serious sandwich trend is not really a trend anymore. It's the way we eat. Nice job bottling the zeitgeist Village Voice. —Matt Rodbard