At the conclusion of the first and second stages of the battle between Josh Cohen of Park Slope barbecue joint Biscuit and ChipShop's fry guy Chris Sell, the latter had moved ahead: Both chefs disgusted judges Ben Schmerler and Gabrielle Langholtz more or less equally when they alternately smoked and fried sushi ("Sushi is owed an explanation and apology by both of these methods," said Judge Gabrielle), and ChipShop figuratively battered Biscuit in the cod challenge. The question going into the final two rounds: Which method of cookery would prevail on rice pudding and (brace yourselves, cravers) White Castle sliders?
Yesterday, when we left the battle between new Park Slope barbecue joint Biscuit and batter-happy neighbor ChipShop to determine whether our off-the-menu requests tasted better smoked or fried, the competition was neck and neck: ChipShop's owner Chris Sell impressed judge Gabrielle Langholtz of Edible Brooklyn with his fried PB&J "My brain stem is like, 'Gorge on the fat while you can'" but Biscuit's owner Josh Cohen bounced back when onetime Iron Chef judge Ben Schmerler lauded his smoked ribs as "savory and primal." Who, then, will take the next two rounds?
Next time you decide that peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich could use something extra, know this: Not only will Park Slope's ChipShop deep-fry anything so long you make the request in advance (and suggest something that won't compromise the oil) — it's how fried macaroni and cheese wound up on the menu — but Fifth Avenue's new barbecue joint Biscuit recently announced that they'll "smoke anything!" (They charge $2 per pound and also require advance notice.) To help you decide whether that PB&J should be fried or smoked, we had ChipShop owner Chris Sell and Biscuit owner Josh Cohen prepare the sandwich both ways and invited a couple of local food obsessives Gabrielle Langholtz, chief editor of Edible Brooklyn, and Ben Schmerler, formerly a senior editor of the Zagat Survey and a onetime judge on Iron Chef to evaluate the results. And since this was clearly an exercise in excess, we didn't just leave it at peanut butter and jelly. Today, we present the first two rounds of this epic battle, with the remaining challenges (including White Castles, sushi, and rice pudding) to come tomorrow and Wednesday.