Dining Out: Taste of the Ridge

Every day in Bay Ridge holds the opportunity for a gastronomic feast, thanks to the neighborhood’s ever-growing restaurant scene serving as home base for both decades-old local favorites and new bars and artisanal shops alike.

However, Sunday, April 27 was a special day when for just $15, diners could sample from the menus of over 40 eateries, all in one place and all for a good cause.

This year’s 18th annual Taste of the Ridge supported Saint Patrick Catholic Academy, said event coordinator Anne Strafaci, who noted that over 40 local restaurants—some of whom have been participating for all 18 years—donated food this year, providing everything from Chicken Marsala and Penne a la Vodka to Bread Pudding, Hummus and Zeppoli to be sampled for the cause.

Mike’s Deli’s offered up comfort classics, such as tasty Norwegian Meatballs, Stuffed Turkey Rolls that were like Thanksgiving in a bite, phenomenal Mac and Cheese, hearty Mexican Chicken and Rice, and a trio of creamy desserts: Rice Pudding, savory Rice Custard, and Tapioca.

Cathy’s Place also had a fantastic lineup of desserts, arguably the most memorable of which was the perfect Bread Pudding with Raisins, although the firm and creamy Rice Pudding and light and sweet Cream Puffs shouldn’t be forgotten either.

Pasta was well-represented and included standouts like Ponte Vecchio’s surprisingly hearty take on Penne Vodka, Circles Restaurant’s Tortellini with Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts, and Bay Ridge Manor’s Pasta with Shrimp and Scallops – perfect for those who prefer fish with a not-so-fishy flavor.

The meatier dishes also did not disappoint. Embers Steakhouse’s steak was sultry and savory while Kettle Black’s famous wings, Ho Brah’s Pork Empanadas and Lockyard’s Brooklyn Bratwurst with homemade beer-soaked sauerkraut and homemade spicy horseradish mustard just blew our taste buds away with their hearty flavors.

“I come every year from Staten Island and it’s the most delicious place in the world,” gushed Peter Killen, who has been participating since the Taste of the Ridge’s start. “When we started, lines went out the door and all around the corner. My favorite is Sancho’s Paella,” full of seafood, chicken, sausage and vegetables.

Betty Bartoloma came over from Marine Park for the first time to join her niece in the feast and said that Skinflints’ Chicken Marsala was a standout for her.

Bridgeview Diner’s Moussaka was something to return for, and Tanoreen and Karam’s side-by-side Hummus platters showed tasters just how diverse yet equally delicious the Middle Eastern dish can be, whether tangy and refreshing or creamy and mild.

The Taste of the Ridge is not only a chance for neighbors to sample food, but is also an opportunity for them to socialize with each other and with local restaurant owners.

“It’s great for [us] to come meet people,” said Tommy Casatelli, one of the owners of Lockyard, Kettle Black and Ho Brah. “We make new customers and new friends.”

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