Last Friday night 82 Mercer Street was decked in gold and black, dimly lit and rather romantic with love for SWEET things. Saturday the New York City Wine and Food Festival brought a little kick to the space with Tacos and Tequila, presented this year by Tequila Avión, hosted by Bobby Flay, and benefiting The Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength. The crowd was definitely a bit more amped, the bites had some bang! to them, and tequila competed with a pounding sound system for brass.
We ate a lot of tacos from some of our favorite NYC chefs and a few shipped in for the weekend (all in the name of charity, of course). And while there were definitely some tasty eats in the traditional form (think house-made corn tortillas, braised short ribs, salsa verde and arbol), our favorites actually ended up being those with some sort of exotic flavor flare: Einat Admony of Balaboosta has some seriously layered flavor with her Jerusalem mix of chicken thighs, merguez and sweet breads. Harold Detierle of Kin Shop turned Thai yellow bean sauce into an aioli and drizzled it over ridiculously soft braised brisket and bone marrow. And Lee Ann Wong of Unique Eats slapped us in the face with her Miso Braised Mangalitsa Pork Neck tacos, which were so sweet, smoky, and soft we're swearing off all other breeds of pig.
For 19 of the plates we inhaled and our crowned classic favorite (from a new joint opening in the west village next month!), check out the slideshow above.