Upper West Side, NY -- The warm summer sun descended upon the Hudson to reveal a waft of the most tantalizing BBQ-infused smoke to ever grace the boat basin at West 79th Street. The star-studded roster included Amanda Freitag of Empire Diner, Dale Talde of Talde, Jon Benno (former chef de cuisine at Per Se) of Lincoln Ristorante, alongside a dozen of the country's top chefs. Guests were treated to surf and turf specialties from the delicious and mouthwatering clam bake from Joey Campanaro and Mike Price, to the perfectly cooked paccheri pasta with grilled pork spareribs from Benno and Richard Capizzi. Pizza master Roberto Caporuscio brought an authentic taste of Napoli via his Margherita pizza with housemade mozzerella, tomatoes, and fresh basil.
Our favorites of the evening included Freitag's grilled lamb slider with the buttery rich Brioche-encased patty of moist, juicy lamb, topped with Green Goddess Dressing and a zesty Tomato Chutney, Talde's lemongrass pork slippery noodles, with an abundance of fresh herbs, and the most perfect kick of heat, and Top-Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan's impossibly tender grilled squid dressed with chili and mint English pea coulis that kept us returning for seconds.
Saveur Editor-in-Chief James Oseland was as gracious and friendly as they come, taking a moment from the celebration to chat with us about the event. The turnout was exceptional, the Le Creuset "Selfie Wall" was a hit, and Verterra provided elegant plating and utensils via their sustainable yet ultra stylish line of green From Fallen Leaves dinnerware. Dana Cree's light and fluffy Cinnamon Concha topped the night off, as we reveled deliciously in the sweet Roasted Strawberries that paired so perfectly with our never-ending glasses of crisp Pinot Grigio from Channing Daughter's Wine. We wished the night would never end.