In the coming months, I hope to be able to report on several special food events going on here in the gastronomic city.
First, and the only one which I am already committed to attending, is the Village Voice Second Annual Choice Eats event on March 31. This event features tastes from over 50 restaurants from all boroughs (although I don't see any representatives from SI or the Bronx on the restaurant list yet) that the two VV restaurant critic have hand picked as some of the best of the new eateries and "best kept secrets." A ticket to the event gets you tastes from all the restaurants and beer/wine. Pretty sweet deal for only $35.
I'm attending Choice Eats with the usual crowd, which I shall henceforth call, "The Not Timid Eaters Club," or TNTE. In addition to myself, charter members include Donna, Susan K., Susan C., Reka, and Elizabeth. I'm sure we'll have new members join us from time to time - Laura L., Steve, Adrienne, and more. The more the merrier!
Second, I really want to go to Craft on Tuesday and Friday nights. Craft, which you may or may not know, is chef Tom Colicchio's flagship restaurant. In case you don't know who in the world Tom Colicchio is, in addition to being a top chef, he has risen to mainstream awareness via his role as a head judge on Bravo's Top Chef television show. I ate at Craft once in the pre-Top Chef days, but not since. Well, I hope to change that by indulging in a Tuesday night with Tom. Every other Tuesday night, the private dining room at Craft is designated Tom: Tuesday Dinner. For a steep $150 a person, a prix fixe menu of fresh, seasonal food is prepared by Tom himself. There are no choices, you get what he has fresh ingredients for and feels like making that night. This would be a sincere splurge for me to go to but I'd really like to do it once.
But on Friday nights, it's a different story. Craft's private dining room turns into Damon: Frugal Friday. Damon Wise is Colicchio's executive chef. For no more than $10 a plate, the menu offers small, tapas-style dishes that fall into nine categories - snacks, salads, pizzas, food in a jar, meat on a stick, small plates, offal, cheese, and dessert. Reportedly, wine and beer is well selected and priced in line with the low-cost menu. No reservations are accepted for Friday night, so it's a first-come first served situation, which in NYC, can often result in a very long wait time for a table. They open at 5:30 and don't close until midnight. Damon: Frugal Friday is much more my budget and I really love tasting many things rather than having to order just one entree and be stuck with it. Will have to meet Steve after work one Friday night and give this a try. I must credit the February 16 issue of New York Magazine for bringing Frugal Friday to my attention and for some of the information included in this paragraph.
In that same issue, in fact the same article, the Tuesday night dinner at Beer Table is also reviewed. Beer Table is more local - here in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. The Tuesday dinner at BT is also a prix fixe, three course menu for $25. An additional $15 for beer pairings, which NYM says is "highly recommended." Chef there is Julie Farias, and based on NYM's write-up, I'd call her food refined homey. If your food is being paired with beer, it's gotta be some version of homey, right? And it's gotta be good. Sounds like another place that is well-worth a Tuesday night visit.
Who knows, maybe Tuesday night will become the new hot night of the week for eating out. Steve and I have been eating out (or ordering in) on Friday or Saturday nights, but perhaps a switch is in order, so to speak. Also want to try the established Brooklyn fine dining restaurant, The Grocery, which is just down Smith Street a bit.