The Village Voice’s annual Choice Eats event essentially kicked off spring’s jam-packed food festival season last Friday evening—hosting 50+ top-rated restaurants from across all five boroughs in the bi-level Metropolitan Pavilion, attempting to favorably rep their eateries with a single, carefully calibrated bite.
And as expected, Brooklyn made an especially strong showing, whether they were peddling red meat (full points go to Fletcher’s spectacular, fat-rimmed burnt ends and honey cornbread, Boomwich’s pretzel bun-ensconced Reubenese sandwiches, and Mable’s State Fair Frito Pie, tucked into individual chip bags) or seafood (Spicy Bampa’s tingly and tender hot pot fish filets and Littleneck Outpost’s opaque wisps of squid, marinated with ginger, scallions and cilantro, definitely stood out).
As far as sweets were concerned, Brooklyn’s top donut purveyors, Dough and Doughnut Plant, went head to head (as far as size queens are concerned, the latter’s diminutive, cake-based creations couldn’t hold a candle to the former’s dulce de leche-glazed, yeast-raised rafts). And Ample Hills and Oddfellows similarly faced-off with their reliable out-of-the-carton ice creams—although, full disclosure, we remain permanently in thrall to Ample’s monumental Salted Crack Caramel.
But it was the two, all-out celebrations of starch that emerged as our hands-down favorite tastes of the night; we’re talking thickly-sliced, freshly-baked loaves from the recently-debuted Brooklyn Bread Lab in Bushwick, made with local, Magog wheat grain and topped with salty ribbons of Italian bitto cheese, and Detroit-style pies—cheese on the bottom, sauce on the top—courtesy of the upcoming, hotly anticipated Emmy Squared (a Williamsburg-based outpost of the enduringly popular Clinton Hill pizza parlor, Emily), who charitably offered a sneak peek of their wares to the lucky attendees of Choice Eats. Goodness knows, we couldn’t be more excited for spring.
All photos by Liz Clayman