Sitting on the East River with a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline, eating plates upon plates of some of Brooklyn’s best tamales, pasta, pizza, curry, sandwiches, and ice cream, is exactly where we always want to be. And thankfully, TASTE Williamsburg Greenpoint provided that experience during its fourth annual festival this year.
Adjacent from Sunday’s Williamsburg Flea, in East River State Park, local vendors lined up tents along the perimeter of the park, preparing small plates best representing their restaurant’s cuisine. In the center, local wineries, breweries, and bars created cocktails and offered samples of their beverages. In exchange for a ticket, ($25/ 4 tastes & 2 drinks), each unique taste was yours. Ticket sales benefitted Northside Town Hall, a community and cultural center to be located in a historic firehouse.
Countless small bites filled us up for the day, and many plates remain memorable reminders of remarkable Brooklyn restaurants. Last year, Maison Premiere stole the show, with its freshly shucked oysters and absinthe drip. The booth was abuzz this year, but it seemed that lobster was the dish of choice among Taste guests.
Extra Fancy’s lobster sliders were the first to disappear, vendors exclaiming that over 120 pounds of lobster had been served to hungry mouths, and their restaurant would be out of the crustacean for the rest of the weekend. In a token of customer appreciation, they offered shots to those who otherwise would have waiting for the acclaimed lobster roll.
There’s been a lot of buzz about The Elm, which served a fantastic salad topped with olive tapenade, a salty dressing in itself that fit perfectly in the corners and crevices of the baby lettuce and crudités.
Zona Rosa’s duo of tamales: one with queso and fresh salsa, the other with unbelievably tender chicken and homemade mole, brought us back for seconds, an impressive feat while being surrounded by so many other delicious options.
Parish Hall’s chilled corn soup, dressed with lip-shocking chili oil and shallots was a nice lighter dish. As contrasted with Fabbrica’s heavy yet satisfyingly tasty dumplings.
Mamak’s rendang curry chicken dish over coconut pandus jasmine rice, topped with colorful vegetables and a sambal chili egg offered one of the most complex flavors on the tiny dishes of the day.
On the 21+ side, Iweadored the Motley Cru wine from Brooklyn Oenology Winery, a unique bottle created from 4 types of high quality red wine grapes. Brooklyn Winery also offered their refreshing local wines, best followed up with an infamous Bloody Mary from McClure’s Pickles: topped with potato chips!
And in lieu of sounding like we drank our way through this food fest, The Natural Wine Company served our favorite cocktail: a sparkling Cava mixed with fruity liqueur from Greenhook Ginsmiths, a super strong and flavorful twist on a morning mimosa.
Overall, the event was delicious, fun, and above all, beautiful, with the sun in the sky and the fragrant scents of top-notch cooking immersing the beautiful surroundings. We can’t wait to return, and in the meantime, visit many of the restaurants whose samplings we loved. Next year, be sure to get there early, before lines get busiest and hundreds of pounds of lobster disappear into the mouths of hungry New Yorkers.