We tend to view tasting events as dining speed-dates, a chance for eateries to plead their case to potential patrons with a single, carefully-calibrated bite. Park Slope’s annual Taste of Fifth celebration provides an especially excellent opportunity to weed through one of Brooklyn’s most restaurant-blessed districts—and we definitely scored a match with the following spots.
Stone Park Café
Undoubtedly one of the most elegant bites of the night, Stone Park’s flash-fried wedges of potato cake—topped with rosy fans of gravlax, orbs of salmon roe, and dabs of peppy crème fraiche—was also far and away the most delicious.
Props to chef Lien Lin for pushing the envelope by electing to serve pigs ears at a tasting event (where menu choices generally come down to mass appeal and whatever survives longest in a chafing dish). It doesn’t hurt that she used quality lobes — sourced from Niman Ranch — that have a pleasing, tender-crisp texture, after being marinated until supple in a spicy lemongrass sauce.
Practically going head-to-head with tasting event veteran, Palo Santo, with its seared-to-order masa tortillas and selection of molcajete-ground salsas, we still dug Calexico’s easy breezy Little Kahuna. It came piled with chipotle pork and pineapple salsa verde (and was made all the better since we didn’t have to stand on an interminable line for it).
Specializing in sausages with international flavor, this South Slope spot elected to showcase its Banh Mi-inspired links: a blend of char sui-flavored pork and housemade pâté, packed into griddled buns along with carrot strips, chile paste and cucumber.
The Chocolate Room
Akin to Thomas Keller’s famous bouchon (cork-shaped cocoa cakes), The Chocolate Room’s one-bite brownies could have stood well enough on their own—not that we would have turned down the offer to transform ours into a Lilliputian sundae, complete with housemade ice cream, whipped cream, and a river of warm fudge.
Du Jour Bakery
No matter that we had already stuffed ourselves on savories, as Du Jour’s display of pastries rendered into exquisite miniature (piña colada pavlovas crowned with sugar daisies, marble-sized crème puffs, strawberry cheesecakes on sticks), made it impossible to turn down second-dessert.