luke's lobster

eater's digest: new taste of the upper west side (part 2)

Last night was the first of two raucous culinary evenings under the tents at 77th & Columbus: "Comfort Classics", hosted by the Travel Channel's Andrew Zimmern and Adam Richman.

Upon hearing the name of this event, one friend drooled, "Burgers, mac 'n' cheese and sloppy joes! That's everything I love to eat!" His guess was not far off. There was not a sloppy joe in sight, but the battle for the best burger and mac 'n' cheese definitely in full force. My favorites, in each category, were:

  • Upper West Side newcomer AG Kitchen's slider - combined the best of a burger and a meatball sub, with a moist pepper sauce and mildly spicy red onion
  • The sorrel mac 'n' cheese by PicNic Market & Cafe - a grown-up spin on the classic, with flavors that evolved in waves as you chewed

But my top three bites of the night were less stereotypical takes on the comfort food theme:

  • The chilled pea soup from Elizabeth's Neighborhood Table - pickled ramps added balancing acidity to this delightfully green, springy soup
  • Mughlai's light and most semolina-lentil cake wowed my palate, thanks to a winning combination of fresh, zesty mint and spicy tamarind sauces
  • Luke's Lobster lived up to it's seafood renown with delicate, sweet baby shrimp tumbling out of toasted hot dog buns (sprinkled with an exquisite oregano/thyme salt blend)