Choice Eats Was Mighty Filling with a Few Midtown Representations


Last night, Village Voice hosted the 6th annual Choice Eats at the 69th Armory. The lines were massive, the food was diverse, and nobody left without a healthy case of the meat sweats.


I did my best to get my money’s worth and to sample a little bit of everything – which was impossible with nearly 86 food options. My priority rested on the barbecue options, which sadly is very underrepresented in Midtown. But I can say with all confidence that if Mable’s, John Brown, or Fletcher’s wanted to bring their smoked meats to this neighborhood, we’d write about them non-stop. Somebody please make this happen!

As for the lunch spots we can get to on a regular basis, Tabata reigned supreme in my book. They offered mini-versions of their namesake coconut-chicken broth based ramen. Food festival regulars Red Hook and Luke’s both served lobster rolls to long lines of people wanting to taste a usually expensive product. Both their trucks have been MIA for a while, but will hopefully be hitting up Midtown by the time the weather warms up. I somehow missed out on the offerings from the one other Midtown mainstay, Black Shack Burger.


Choice Eats is always a great chance to try some restaurants way out of our price range and our boundaries.  And I sampled some super spicy Liberian food from Queens (Maima’s Liberian Bistro),

a surprising pickled egg from Jersey City (Thirty Acres),


and even transcendent vegetarian food (yes, I said it!) from Dirt Candy in the East Village.


There was more than enough beer, wine, and desserts to go around. Robicelli’s showed off that they can do brownies as well as they do cupcakes, Ample Creamery brought some addicting ice cream, and Butter & Scotch brought Islay Scotch infused cupcakes.


With a full belly and a taste of the city, I was grateful to the Village Voice for bringing all these restaurants together under one roof. The event was sold out, which is reason enough to buy your tickets early next year.  Were you there?  Let us know what your favorite bite was in the comments…


  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    it was mighty filling…but was any of it delicious?

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Luke’s and Red Hook were serving shrimp rolls when I went to them around 7:30. I know this is a charity event, but the crowds are becoming overwhelming.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Edit: “addictive,” please.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    In my opinion, the best of the night were…
    1. Red wine-marinated egg (Thirty Acres
    2. Tomato Tart (Dirt Candy)
    3. Pate w/ spicy tomato jam and pig’s ears (Resto)

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    The line literally wrapped around the entire block. I started in line on Lexington, up 26th to Park, down to 25th, then back to Lexington to the entrance.

    That said, once inside it wasn’t too difficult to get around. Great event overall!

  • I have to agree with Gate321. The are overselling the bajeez out of this event now. I was one of the first people in the general admission line, so I got in right at 6:30pm, but I was ready to leave by about 7:45pm because it was just too much to deal with getting through the crowds.

    Awesome event, just wish it was taking place at a larger venue perhaps.

  • The crowding issue is part of what made me decide not to spend the money. In general, I think over-selling tickets vs making money for charity hurt the overall experience. I know the Big Apple BBQ is a Flatiron event, but I wonder if any other attendees are put out by the decision to make fast pass buyers choose Saturday or Sunday tickets in advance. I hope that cuts down on lines, but I also hope I didn’t pick the day that it pours.

    Also, that pickled egg dish above looked very interesting. I keep seeing the Urban Lobster Shack in lowest midtown east, and I’d love to see RHLP back on the streets even if they never came to 33rd and Park anyway.

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