My buddy Jay from The Dishelin Guide hooked me up big time with a free pass to the New York City Wine & Food Festival‘s BBQ & Blues event, thrown by Thrillist and hosted by Adam Richman, of Man vs. Food fame. This shit went down at the Hudson Hotel last night.
Twelve vendors vied for support from hundreds of hungry BBQ fanatics, each wielding a single voting chip to cast their ballot for the night’s favorite food. All the while, old rag time and tin pan alley jug band music played to set the mood.
There was a nice open bar, stocked with vodka lemonades and hard root beer, to name a few items.
But the focus here was the BBQ, so let me get down to business… Here’s a quick list of the pit masters: BarBacon, Mexicue, Mile End, Sweet Chick, Kimchi Smoke, Miss Korea BBQ, Otto’s Taco’s, Tchoup Shop, Vermillion, Korilla, Pig Beach and Union Bar & Kitchen.
The dudes at Korilla really put together a nice spicy plate. I was told that this typically is MORE spicy than what we sampled last night, but take a look at the menu and see for yourself.
I snagged a nice shot of Adam licking a gun in this shot. Impeccable timing.
Right next door was Kimchi Smoke. I was psyched to see them using the Searzall at the table to melt cheese on top of their items.
Here’s a look at what they were serving up:
The brisket was super tender and flavorful. Perfectly done.
However the chonut slider was a bit too out there for me. It was a blast of every flavor known to man in one bite. Kimchi on a glazed donut with bacon and cheese! That’s on a whole other level.
I jumped a little out of order there because I was excited to talk about those items, but the very first thing we tried was one of my favorites of the night.
Tchoup Shop struck an amazing balance between sweet and savory with this crab and pork meatball slider. It had a hint of fish sauce to give it a distinct Thai or Vietnamese influence too. Jay put his chip on this as the best of the night.
My favorite of the night, which I thought just edged out Tchoup Shop by a sliver, was Mexicue.
Maybe it’s the nacho lover in me, but this was such an amazing bite of food. The chicken was deeply smoked to the point where it almost tasted like a pork item rather than chicken. The flavors were more on the savory side than the sweet side, which is what I like from my BBQ (I know that’s not normal). That may have ultimately been why I went with Mexicue over Tchoup Shop.
Another close contender was this classic pulled pork slider from Union Bar & Kitchen.
The pickle was nice and it cut the sweetness of the sauce nicely, but the meat was the star here – perfectly cooked and tender. A pile of that with the pickles, minus the sauce, and I am a happy man.
A nice outside the box item was this bacon and masa wrapped rib from Otto’s Tacos. Very creative and delicious.
My least favorite of the night was this hot dog. It just didn’t have the punch I was hoping for. I love a good hot dog too, so I was a little disappointed.
I had high hopes for Vermillion too, thinking that there might be a nice Indian influence going on. There indeed was, but it fell a little flat for me. The tamarind was a little overpowering, but the mango rice did cut the flavor nicely.
Miniature tacos are always a hit in my book. I might have to head back to this place (BarBacon) and try a few more items.
And there was a third Korean BBQ selection from Miss Korea BBQ. This pork was tender and juicy, with a nice light spice to it.
This joint offered up two items: a chicken chili and brisket.
At Pig Beach I was expecting starch based on the menu, but this baby was almost all meat. Nice!
One yeah – one more semi-celeb sighting from the food biz:
Definitely a fun night, and a very challenging one in terms of lighting and color for the photos. I was on my game though, so we did alright. Big thanks to Jay again for hooking me up with a ticket!