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DINING OUT: Taste of Red Hook

Hundreds of people gathered at Pioneer Works on Tuesday, October 22 for the seventh annual Taste of Red Hook, a fundraiser featuring the best restaurants and purveyors from the community, benefitting the Red Hook Initiative (RHI).

This year was a testament to the strength of the neighborhood, taking place one year to the day after last year’s gala—held one week before Sandy struck, damaging the homes and businesses of participants.

Again, all 45 participating restaurants donated the comestibles being featured. Ticket sale proceeds go towards funding community programming with RHI.

“Almost every single business here was severely damaged and many were unsure they would reopen,” said RHI Executive Director Jill Eisenhard. “Our sincere thanks go to those here tonight who all donated despite still struggling to get back on their feet.”

Attendees ate their way through the space on Pioneer Street.

Dominic Palastro and Oliver Jevremov were giving out samples of their Kings Coffee, 37 Carroll Street. We tried the Bourbon and Cold Drip Coffee, which tasted almost like chocolate. Made with Widow Jane bourbon, which is filtered with limestone, the coffee takes 12 hours to cold drip. Their Hibiscus Tea is also an inspired drink, with a crisply sweet taste that is perfect for summer.

Mile End Deli, 97A Hoyt Street, served two popular sandwich pairings: Chicken Salad on Pumpernickel and Smoked Meat on Rye. The smoked meat tasted like silky pastrami. The chicken salad was simultaneously refreshing and earthy, with chunks of tender meat balanced with celery in every bite.

Hometown Bar-B-Que, 454 Van Brunt Street, recently opened after months of repair work. Owner Billy Durney was serving Smoked Jalapeno Cheddar Sausages with whiskey sour pickles made from Brooklyn Brine. It was warm, smoky deliciousness.

Erling Berner, owner of Brooklyn Southern, 126 Union Street, was serving up a Mufaletta sandwich, featuring d Italian meats including sopressata, mortadella, salami, capicolla and prosciutto. It was delicioso!

Brooklyn Crab, 24 Reed Street, offered raw oysters in a half shell and New England clam chowder. The oysters were grabbed as quickly as they could be shucked and the chowder was thick and tasty, made with celery, potato, cream, tender clams and seasoned with pork fat.

The Red Hook Lobster Pound, 284 Van Brunt Street, offered a smooth and savory Lobster Bisque that featured strong notes of sherry. We could have sipped a whole gallon.

Similarly, the Jerusalem Artichoke Soup from The Good Fork was a creative juxtaposition of textures, with the creamy artichoke pairing well with the crunch of homemade pickled vegetables.

Nightingale 9’s rice congee with braised chicken, green onions and a sprinkling of peanuts was a warm, comforting bowl of deliciousness that hit all the right nostalgic notes while adding contemporary flavors.

Jordan Burch, executive director and co-founder of Red Hook Volunteers, was polishing off a seafood taco from La Slowteria as he noted that it was “great to see the local businesses still going.

“I am happy to see everyone come back a year later and break bread,” he said.

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