More than 80 restaurants—and one local firehouse—dished up their best small plates and decadent desserts to benefit two local public schools at the popular outdoor festival Taste of Tribeca.
The May 21 event, now in its 17th year, stretched down Duane St., with the smell of pulled-pork sliders, crab cakes, s’mores cookies and so much more enticing the hordes of attendees.
The highlight for us was Nobu’s black cod on butter lettuce, prettily topped with shredded phyllo and a sweet miso sauce. The flavor of the fish itself was smooth—well-accented by that surprisingly pleasant, sweet touch.
Sarabeth’s dished up plump crab-cake sandwiches with a touch of tartar sauce served on miniature buns. The juicy crab cakes were lightly fried and had a distinct flavor that wasn’t overwhelmed by the sauce.
“They’re fresh, they’re homemade, and there’s nice, big chunks of crab,” said sous chef David Holtzman. “With tartar sauce, it’s a really good sandwich.”
The apple brown betty, topped with whipped cream from Bubby’s Pie Co., was just what a crumbly, baked fruit dessert should be: sweet yet not cloying, with the natural flavors of apples and cinnamon shining through.
Walkers Restaurant and Bar offered up heaping servings of moist Carolina pulled pork wedged into dense but fluffy Portuguese rolls.
Co-owner Jerry Walker described the appeal of the dish best: “It’s kind of sweet. It’s kind of sour, [and] it’s got a little bit of heat.”
Thalassa Restaurant served beautifully presented diver sea scallops cured in olive oil with caviar mousse. The dainty treats, drizzled with bright roasted red pepper sauce, were served on toasted crostinis and garnished with citrus micro greens, shredded phyllo and lipstick-red tobiko caviar.
Billy’s Bakery had a plethora of tiny vanilla, chocolate and red velvet cupcakes on display. The red velvet variety was moist, topped with a dollop of sugary cream cheese frosting.
The traditional sandwich from Zucker’s was a tasty creation consisting of Nova Scotia salmon, cream cheese, red onion, tomato and capers on a mini bagel. The fish was tender and smooth. Its flavor was complemented by the smear of cheese, with the capers adding just the right touch of saltiness.
The unforgettable tomato sauce on Da Mikele’s mushroom pizza would stop any true pizza aficionado in his or her tracks. It was light, spicy and just slightly bitter—in the best possible way—spread on a chewy crust and topped with mild cheese.
“It’s lighter than your typical pizza,” said Da Mikele co-owner Tony D’Aiuto. “It is all imported ingredients.”
Landmarc passed out its s’mores cookies, a mouthwateringly decadent dessert. The main attraction was the chewy marshmallow that lent pizzazz and balance to the rich dark chocolate speckling the cookie, which was salted just right.
The hickory-smoked rib eye with creamed spinach and horseradish cream from the Palm Restaurant was disappointing. The meat was moist and well-cooked, but the smoky flavor added little to the dish. And unfortunately the horseradish cream, which offered a creamy contrast to the meat, lacked spice and kick.
Weather Up’s roast beef sandwich with pickles and five-spice mayo tasted the way a roast beef sandwich should. The meat was flavorful, and the pickles added a nice briny touch to the unpretentiously pleasant sandwich.
The thick, spicy stuffed mushroomscooked up by members of the New York City Fire Department’s Ladder 8 more than held their own against the fancy fare served up by many of the event’s lauded restaurants. The juicy morsels were flavorful and savory yet simple.
Our last stop of the afternoon was at City Hall Restaurant, which offered scoops of frozen blueberry yogurt and grapefruit and pineapple sorbet. The line for the restaurant, which proved to be very popular, extended all the way down the block.
The yogurt was grainy but had a fresh, tart taste. The unexpectedly large frozen blueberries elevated the scrumptious treat. For its part, the sorbet was refreshing with the flavor of pineapple-sweetened grapefruit shining through.
Savoring the frozen treats on the first warm, sunny afternoon in a long while was the perfect way to end to a gluttonous afternoon.
Additional reporting by Bryan Pace.