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May 21, 2013

Uptown Flavor

By Ingrid Skjong | Food

Uptown Flavor
New Taste of the Upper West Side

In a city like New York, the multitude of food options is as varied as the numerous neighborhoods that populate it. The sixth-annual New Taste of the Upper West Side (May 29–June 1), which celebrates the robust restaurant and culinary scene of the uptown enclave, gives a nod to the chefs, restaurateurs and food that bring it all together there.

Two main events anchor the festivities. On Friday night, Comfort Classics will feature neighborhood chefs and eateries showing off their versions of comfort fare. Food Network’s Adam Richman will host and a People’s Choice Award will allow visitors to vote on what moves them the most. Saturday brings Best of the West, facilitated by Gail Simmons and this year honoring Danny Meyer and Randy Garutti of Shake Shack.

“Danny and Randy can take credit for contributing in a big way to several New York neighborhoods, from Madison Park to Downtown Brooklyn, but their impact on the Upper West Side is undeniable,” says Simmons, a Top Chef judge and special projects director at Food & Wine magazine. “By opening Shake Shack, they have created a vibrant hub for all ages and walks of life to gather and nourish themselves.”

Well-known chefs and restaurants will appear, including Marc Murphy from Landmarc (a six-foot porchetta hero sandwich with pickled vegetables and parsley pistou), Alex Asteinza from Cafe Luxembourg (lobster roll), Shake Shack (buttery caramel-cocoa-nib frozen custard), Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Daniel Boulud (of Boulud Sud and Bar Boulud).

Proceeds will benefit the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District’s Streetscape Project, the Wellness in the Schools program at the O’Shea School (where the New Taste tent is based) and Roosevelt Park at the American Museum of Natural History. Ultimately organizers hope that attendees walk away with a better sense of the neighborhood’s culinary charisma, from the farm-to-table fare at Telepan to the upstairs café at the Fairway grocery store. “I think the Upper West Side is characterized by a great mix of approachability and elegance in its dining scene,” says Simmons. “There’s lots to choose from for any taste.” Columbus Ave. btw. 76th and 77th sts.; 212-721-5048; newtasteuws.com.