Just approaching the armory prior to the 6:30PM start was an indication that the event was going to be a zoo. With two lines snaking around the block in each direction from the Lexington Ave. entrance, it was apparent that sold out meant that there would be many, many people at the event. The premise was quite intriguing: the very best ethnic restaurants from around NYC as selected by Robert Sietsema and Sarah DiGregorio would all be in one place serving samples of their cooking along with various craft brews, beverages and alcohols to accompany the food. All told there were 56 restaurants representing 37 different cuisines. It sounded good to me, presenting the opportunity to sample a number of restaurants that I had heard good things about, but would be unlikely to get to on my own.
So what was the problem? It wasn't that the food wasn't good. Much of it was, though certainly not all of it. For every item that I tried that was really good, there was at least another that I easily could have done without. The beverages were fine. Each food stand even had a suggested pairing to go with the food, though it was nearly impossible to find the beverage that was supposed to go with the food. The problem was that there was simply too many people and not enough food, at least at the more popular places. It was a zoo with long lines and crowded, cramped aisles. I simply couldn't get to some of the more popular spots before they ran out of food relatively early in the evening. Momofuku Milk Bar had already run completely out of food by the time I entered the event at 7PM despite the fact that they were serving nothing but dessert. I guess the majority of people attending follow the dictum of "eat dessert first!"
A sense of the crowd
Unfortunately I was unable to make it to Fette Sau or Braai in time before they ran out of food. Both enjoyed good reports from others, especially Fette Sau,the Brooklyn bbq specialists that some consider the best bbq in the city.