Hundreds head to Taste of Gramercy

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By Sabina Mollot

Taste of Gramercy, the first food tasting event to be held in the neighborhood on Saturday, was a success, with organizers selling over 400 tickets.

While the nonprofit group that organized it, Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, wasn’t yet sure how much had been raised, since some tickets were $30 while others were $40 depending on if they were bought early or not, the event’s turnout exceeded expectations.

“People seemed to like that everything benefits local schools,” said GNA member Gary Horowitz.

Money raised from tickets will go to two local schools, PS 40 and School of the Future.

For the price of a ticket, guests got to try five tasting plates of food from any of the 20 participating restaurants, with the event held street fair style under an open sky. Anyone could walk into the blocked off area, which was on one block on Irving Place, though to try the foods, guests had to have a ticket.

Some of the culinary offerings included tuna tartare cannolis from The Stand, compressed apple with smoked tomato from Gramercy Tavern, paella with shrimp from Casa Mono, oyster shooters in a chilled coconut ginger soup from City Crab and raw macaroons and other desserts from Pure Food & Wine. Paul & Jimmy’s was a popular stop with guests getting their plates loaded up with helpings of meatballs, gnocci and eggplant rollatini.

The event was coordinated with the company PTG, which has also organized events like Taste of Sutton and Taste of Tribeca.

“I just love this one. This is cute,” said Jackie Palmer of PTG about Taste of Gramercy. “For their first year, it looks great and we’re already talking about next year.”

The vendors also seemed happy with the event, which they donated their food to.

Adele Carollo, general manager at The Stand, a comedy club and restaurant on Third Avenue, said the event was a good opportunity to showcase the club’s menu, since most people don’t think of comedy clubs when considering where to go eat.

“Most comedy clubs have a really bad reputation for food,” said Carollo, adding that at The Stand, a focus has always been the menu as well as the entertainment. “So when we heard about this (event), we were into it.”

Eric Sherman, owner of the new Irving Place restaurant Ichabod’s, said it was a good opportunity to market the business to area residents as well as for the restaurant community to network.

“You create a camaraderie with local businesses. It’s nice to know your neighbor,” he said. Sherman, who became a restaurateur with Ichabod’s, which features an American bistro menu, in February, added, “Your neighborhood is everything. You’ve got to do what your neighborhood calls for. I’m looking forward to doing this next year.”

GNA board member Antonella Napolitano said the only downside to ToG was that a couple of local restaurant owners ended up feeling slighted when they weren’t asked to participate. However, she said this was only because the organization was limited to one block for the event.

“We’re probably going to expand it next year,” she said.

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