JMI’s favorites from Meatopia 2011

spicy lamb ribs

Ilili

Given a blind taste test, we wouldn’t have been able to tell these amazing ribs were actually lamb and not your traditional beef.  With a slight crisp and unique spice on the outside that stuck to your fingers, ilili’s rub was unique stemming from its roots as a contemporary Lebanese restaurant offering Mediterranean cuisine.  Cooked just the way we like ‘em, the lamb pulled straight from the bone and was just as soft and tend as you’d expect. Were they our favorite ribs at Meatopia?  Absolutely! An everyday item, head off to their Flatiron restaurant and grab some for yourself.

bacon and sorghum-glazed quail with watermelon-sweet corn salad

Seersucker

Serving something we haven’t had much experience with until recently, owner/master chef Robert Newton absolutely blew us away with this amazing Quail dish.  Known to be fatty plump birds, these farm raised from VT were sauced in a bacon and sorghum glaze with watermelon and corn salad below.  When combined, the salty, sweetness, hot and refreshing flavors made for one impressive treat. No surprise though, this Brooklyn based restaurant only serves the freshest and finest ingredients each day, with most coming from the Carroll Street greenmarket.  But beware, if you’re looking for this dish from Seersucker’s everyday menu, convince Newton because he’ still on the fence that enough people will adapt to the succulent pheasant.

whole goat monterrey- style tacos with pickled onion

Centrico

Located in the swanky Tribeca neighborhood, Centrico’s lead chef Aaron Sanchez (from Chopped TV fame) backed his claim of bringing tasty latin cuisine to the Meatopia masses.  What his chefs presented was a shredded whole goat monterrey style tacos with pickled onion and a green cactus sauce.  What might seem like a sub-normal dish, the simple addition of the unique cactus flavor gave this tasting two thumbs up. In a city like NY with so many cultures, it was a nice surprise to see a bit of diversity in such a stereotypical American minded festival. If you head to Centrico, be sure to take advantage of their full service wrap-around terrace.

smoked angus brisket

4 Rivers Smokehouse

Straight outta Florida, 4 Rivers was started by John Rivers, a saint (literally, read his bio) of a man that left his career in the pharma industry to perfect brisket which led BBQ fundraisers for people in need, then a sauce “…because its amazing!” to finally opening his first of two Smokehouses in Winter, FL. It’s no joke that this brisket literally melted in your mouth and was better than any brisket we’ve ever had at the renowned Big Apple Barbeque Block Party.  When asked why John doesn’t attend the event, he simply said, “It’s just not something we’ve tackled yet…”.  One thing at a time we suppose but how can’t you root for a man of modesty whose found his true calling, the good people at 4 Rivers served some of the best.

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Filed under Brooklyn, Festivals, Grille, New York City, Ribs, Steak

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