Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City
The thrill of attending the Village Voice’s Coice Eats is having all these food options right in front of you. The difficulty is your stomach’s limitations and deciding which dishes to try and which to leave for the mass crowds that descend onto the event.
And it’s a fine balance between re-visiting some favorite dishes I’ve tried before (like Buka’s Nigerian shrimp kebabs, Morgan’s stunning BBQ brisket, and Robicelli’s incredible desserts) and exploring new unchartered territory. I was most excited by some dishes that belonged to restaurants I had never even heard about. How was that possible?
The most surprising discovery came from a table in the back manned by the folks from Black Tree in the Lower East Side. I had never heard of this restaurant and sort of assumed it was one of the many hipster dive bars in that area that also happens to serve food.
How mistaken I was! This is actually a farm-to-table restaurant that focuses on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Looking at the affordable menu online has left me drooling.
But the taste I had at Chocie Eats left me disappointed for all the bites to come afterwards. They were serving a braised short rib that had been cooked with coffee and stout. Normally, it’s part of a sandwich with pickled pears, arugula, and spicy pear preserves. At the event, the bread was missing (a smart move for us trying to conserve stomach space) and the accoutrements were aside the meat.
Many steak dishes advertise a coffee or stout component, but very few actually deliver. Here, the impossibly tender short rib exhibited both flavors that played nicely with the fatty, meatiness of the cut. The sweet and spicy pears were a pleasant surprise that gave way to even more warming flavor notes. Very impressed. I’d love to taste an entire sandwich of this.
A discovery like Black Tree makes braving the crowds at these food festivals worth it.
|131 Orchard Street (between Rivington and Delancey Street),
Lower East Side