An incredible culinary experience came to Brooklyn’s Industry City last Saturday. Bon Appétit hosted a one-night event bringing in chefs from around the country for its Hot 10 party. It sprawled three warehouses showcasing the year’s best talent in food. Guests enjoyed endless small plates and drinks all night while running into the Bon Appétit team like Editor-in-Chief Adam Rappaport and Kitchen Manager Gaby Melian.
Since launching its Youtube channel in 2012 and its first popular series It’s Alive with Brad in 2016, Bon Appétit has become a media sensation with a kind of cult following. Its editors have become famous among viewers. Enthusiastic partygoers jumped at the chance to meet and take photos with their Youtube favorites.
Lines wrapped around one of the warehouses all night for a chance to try the party’s most popular plate, Texas BBQ brisket tacos from Matt’s BBQ Tacos. While the Portland gem certainly drew the biggest crowd, The Wolf’s Tailor’s miso pork with chile honey glaze and blue corn nixtamal polenta delighted guests and was my personal favorite of the night.
Kopitiam and Khao Noodle Shop both brought rice dishes that represented its restaurant’s roots. New York’s Kopitiam served Malaysia’s national dish, nasi lemak, which is a coconut rice base topped with fried anchovies, cucumbers, a hard-boiled egg and an anchovy peanut sambal sauce. Khao’s rice dish, Moutsayhang, came with a pork patty, cucumber, nori and jeow sam sauce and micro cilantro atop a bed of jasmine rice.
Two of the most creative and interesting dishes of the night came from Longhoven and Tailor. Richmond-based Longhoven skipped rice in favor of seeds for a new spin on a classic Italian dish, seeds risotto with fontina fondue and autumnal greens. Tailor, which serves South Asian American cuisine in an intimate Nashville setting, presented Bhel, a plate with an unparalleled textural experience due to Gujarati crispy rice. The crunchy, puffed grain paired with black chickpeas, peanuts, cilantro, tamarind, chiles and grapefruit excited partygoers’ palates.
Rounding out the party with sweets were Ochre Bakery and a partnership between Oddfellows Ice Cream and Guinness. Detroit darling Ochre brought a crowd-pleaser, vegan lemon pistachio cake with an optional poached quince and whipped cream topping. The treat, reminiscent of a pound cake, was packed with bright citrus and nutty flavors. Oddfellows concocted Guinness ice cream that could be enjoyed alone or served as a stout float with draft Guinness poured over. Guinness along with La Croix, Natalie’s Juice and Ciroc were all in attendance making sure guests always had a drink in hand.
One of the most unexpected surprises of the party was La Croix’s interactive pop-up shop set up to look like a grocery store with free seltzers and merchandise for the taking. There were hats, straws, key chains, koozies, PopSockets and even a chance to win a trendy “pamplemousse” shirt from a claw machine. Guests lined up all night for their chance to win the prize.
Other offerings came from Los Angeles restaurant of egg salad sandwich fame, Konbi, Baltimore’s Le Comptoir du Vin and New Orleans’ The Elysian Bar. Konbi served their signature item from 6-to-7 p.m. during the VIP preview then switched to carrot cruditeés with shishito pistachio dip. A more daring plate of the night was Le Comptoir du Vin’s Cantabrian anchovy crostino with tomato, Iberico lardo and marjoram while The Elysian Bar served grilled okra, a New Orleans’ cuisine staple.