Taste of the Nation Marked by Uni, Performance Ham, Good Times

Top Chef's spike

You may consider these hats silly...Photo: Josh Ozersky

Share Our Strengths Taste of the Nation New York City event was the first massive tasting gala in many months, and Grub Street was on the spot to capture the festivities. The food was spectacular: If Jean Georges' uni with jalapeo on pumpernickel toast had not been present, we would have been caught in a deadlock between Arties pastrami sliders, Tailors miso-butterscotch pork belly, and Pegu's grapefruit-vodka-and-orchid-flower cocktail. (Tailors Eben Freeman let us try a secret batch of masala rum, but that wasnt available to the public.)

Spike Mendelsohn took Adam Platt's and our ribbing in a good-natured way, volunteering that these silly hats get me laid all the time. Thank you, Spike! Meanwhile, a model fed provocatively on ham on a raised stage, for no particular reason that anyone could fathom. Jeffrey Chodorow was all smiles talking about his new Maxim Steak franchise, currently launching in Atlanta. Well see what happens with the New York one. It might not go where you think, he said cryptically. Paul Liebrandt, clearly horrified at being asked impertinent questions about the launch of his restaurant, said hello and then ran away like a looter at the sound of police sirens.

eben freeman

Eben Freeman gets his shake on..Photo: Abbe Benson

ham eater

Haven't you ever seen anybody eat ham before?Photo: Abbe Benson


The greatest canape of all time: Jean George's uni and jalapeno on pumpernickel with yuzu and a little good butter.Photo: Josh Ozersky

jeffrey chodorow and wife

Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Chodorow, all smiles.Photo: Abbe Benson