I love the idea of tasting a borough. And of all of the boroughs to taste, Queens, the most ethnically diverse, sounds most delicious. (Tasting Queens also sounds the most regal and ribald, but that’s content for sites like delectablemonarchs.gov and diningwithdrag.org.)
Let me begin again: Queens Taste was a raw night. Some of the borough’s most wonderful offerings were served up in the Hall of Science.
The story commences with two little balls of steak tartare. M. Wells and Aperitif Bistro both served up their recipes of this raw meat and the intricacies were debated throughout the hall. Apertif’s version was seasoned lightly; M Wells speckled theirs with pickled mustard seeds and ground their beef at the table, giving them the nudge into first place. (But Apertif Bistro kept things close with duck strudel painted with apricot jam.)
There were other succulent raw offerings like the sumptuous oysters at Murphy’s Lobster Grill and the uncooked ingredients displayed at Paleo Factory’s table. Their paleolithic-diet-approved ice cream was made from Madagascar vanilla beans, coconut milk, dates, and cashews.
But there were also many things that I would have never imagined unless this were the Staten Island Taste. One vendor, hoping to attract the masses to his restaurant, showcased his culinary skills by lining up California rolls in a tin foil tray. Another sushi place provided variety by offering spicy tuna rolls and spicy tuna rolls with crunch. A steakhouse generously served mac and cheese. They did use a little meat though: pork. There were hot wings as hot as maple syrup and dumplings packed with peanuts. (New rule: Only peanut butter and chocolate should be packed with peanuts.) And was there ever penne a la vodka. Vendors galore served up this dish as if they had invented the one dish that every Italian restaurant actually gives away as a side when you order an entree.
Fortunately, DF Mavens coconut gelato and the new gin from Queens Courage left a pleasant taste in my mouth. Though I did find out that the former has only one shop in Manhattan–they produce in Queens–and the latter is eventually moving to Long Island City–aren’t we all?
While the raw offerings helped to make the night, I’d certainly skip it if Delectable Monarchs were planning to hold an event.