Last Tuesday evening in my capacity as the QEDC Foodie I had the good pleasure of attending Queens Taste 2015. More than two dozen restaurants from a broad range of cuisines—Thai, Italian, Mexican, Brazilian and haute Canadian steakhouse to name just a few—packed the New York Hall of Science, a venue better known for school field trips than tasting events. The venue along with people’s choice judging was a first for the annual gala.
The event bore the tag line: “The Best Food on the Planet.” While that statement’s certainly true of the borough itself, it was slightly disappointing, but only because it would take a hall as vast as the Javits Center to contain all the deliciousness that Queens holds.
Apart from the international nature of the event, including standbys like O Lavrador’s lovely Portuguese paella, one of the most intriguing aspects of the evening’s offerings was the presence of steak tartare, a first for the tasting event. Aperitif Bistro from Bayside prepared a lovely version along with duck in puff pastry. Huge Dufour of M. Wells Steakhouse also served up a magnificent tartare, freshly ground on the spot and formed into a meatball. It was so good I ate five.
Restaurant 144’s peppered beef tenderloin with onion bacon marmalade.
There was plenty of cooked meat too, including a delicious peppered beef tenderloin with onion bacon marmalade and balsamic glaze from Restaurant 144. Fairway served a duo of satisfying sliders as well.
Room 55’s Vinny Accardi getting his smore on.
If there was an award for showmanship, it would go to Chef Vinny Accardi of Glendale’s Room 55 who was making smores with a torch. His chilled spring pea soup with bay scallops was also amazing.
Sweet treats from Rudy’s Bakery in Ridgewood.
There were plenty of desserts on hand too including sweet treats from Rudy’s Bakery in Ridgewood, and Bittersweet NYC’s modern take on Indian methi. I particularly enjoyed the besan lados made with chickpea flour, cardamom, and almonds, but it was Rudy’s who took home the prize for best dessert.
Bareburger tied for best dish with Fairway.
Bareburger boasted the longest line of the night thanks to freshly grilled sliders with bacon jam and blue cheese. Along with Hugue Dufour’s tartare it was my favorite meat offering of the night. It tied for best dish with the sliders from Fairway. If it were up to me the night’s winners would be M. Wells and Bareburger, the raw and the cooked as it were. The real winner though as always was Queens itself.