Grub Street is reporting to you live from New York City where an hour from now chefs from America’s two greatest food cities (that’d be San Francisco and New York) are facing off in a battle staged and sponsored by a French hipster food concern and a French champagne. It’s Le Grand Fooding, ladies and gentlemen, and even as we speak, NYC-based chef-lebrities like Dan Barber and David Chang are dicing their mise-en-place and chest-bumping in the locker room while Californians Daniel Patterson, Jeremy Fox, and Melissa Perello give pep-talks to their foraged herbs, chat about the muggy weather, and shout-sing Tupac songs to get pumped. But which city’s cuisine kicks the well-fed butt of the other? We’ve handicapped the chefs based on pairings from the super-aggro event posters; read on to see which city we predict will take the win.
Brian Leth (Vinegar Hill House, Brooklyn): Octopus, charred lemon, yogurt, taggiasca olives
Jeremy Fox (free agent, formerly of Ubuntu, Napa): Cucumbers in miso “bagna cauda”, whipped nasturtium flower, square roots & coffee, marcona almonds
Grub Street predicts: While Leth’s dish sounds tasty, in a Cal-Med way, this round will surely go to Fox, whose artistry with vegetables and unique flavor combinations are bound to impress. Point: San Francisco.
Dan Barber (Blue Hill, Blue Hill at Stone Barns): September vegetables grilled on carbonized pork bones
James Syhabout (Commis, Oakland): Scallops with smoked stone fruit emulsion, licorice herbs
Grub Street predicts: Syhabout’s smoked peaches and plums are a perfect summer-fall flavor bridge, but Barber is grilling on top of bones. Bones! Holy crap! Point: New York.
Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi (Torrisi Italian Specialties, NYC): Pickle salad New Yorkese
Laurence Jossel (Nopa, S.F.): Wood-grilled pork ribeye, smoked tomato jam
Grub Street predicts: By virtue of one being a salad and one being a pork ribeye, and given Jossel’s deft hand with protein, we’re calling this for Jossel. Point: San Francisco.
Robert Newton (Seersucker, Brooklyn): Tennessee-style fried chicken
Melissa Perello (Frances, S.F.): Suckling pig confit with summer fruit mostarda
Grub Street predicts: Suckling pig and fried chicken are the two untouchables of current culinary trends, so this will be won or lost in the details. Can’t call it ‘til we see it. Point: Draw.
Nate Appleman (Pulino’s, NYC): Beef cooked in beef fat, anchovy crostone, parsley, and fried garlic
Mourad Lahlou (Aziza, S.F.): Squab, ras el hanout, cherry
Grub Street predicts: Lahlou’s inspired use of Middle Eastern and African spices should delight palates a touch more than S.F.-to-N.Y. transplant Appleman’s competent hand with Italian. Also, no one likes a turncoat! Point: San Francisco.
David Chang (Momofuku, Ma Peche, etc): Beets, goat cheese, walnuts
Daniel Patterson (Coi, S.F.): “Vegetables on a plate”
Grub Street predicts: Patterson’s hilarious presentation is a direct reponse to Chang’s infamous dismissal of S.F. cuisine as “figs on a plate.” But will the message eclipse the medium? For all that Chang is a meat guy, he has a real way vegetables. Point: New York.
David Sclarow (Pizza Moto)
Charlie Hallowell (Pizzaiolo, Boot & Shoe Service, Oakland)
Grub Street predicts: We don’t know what kind of pizzas they’re making, but everyone loves pizza, and both chefs are well versed in wood-oven cooking. This one could be a draw, but Hallowell probably hopes it all comes down to penis size. Except it probably won’t. Point: New York.
Grizzly Bear (NYC)
Dan the Automator (S.F.)
Grub Street predicts: The music is as much a bicoastal match-up here as the food. Is it really fair to pit a white-hot, nationally recognized band against a producer/DJ? This one goes to the Grizzly Bear boys, on their home turf. Point: New York.
So who takes the whole thing? With four points for SF, four points for NY, and one unsolvable fried chicken vs. suckling pig draw, we call the whole thing a wash. Disagree? Let us know in the comments — or better yet, swing by the event (tonight and tomorrow night at P.S.1) and get a firsthand opinion. We’ll be reporting back from the trenches throughout the weekend — stay tuned.
Chang Isn’t About to Talk More Smack About San Francisco [Grub Street]
Patterson: Comfort Food, Bacon, and Tuna Tartare Are New York’s Figs on a Plate [Grub Street]
Earlier: Le Fooding Pits New York Against San Francisco [Grub Street]