Grand Gourmet Gave a Sneak Peek Into How the Other Half Eats

I’m typing this from inside a serious food coma, one that I hope to emerge from before lunchtime. The culprit was last night’s annual Grand Gourmet at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station. The food event featured over 30 vendors from the Grand Central vicinity and I somehow managed to eat a sample from just about every vendor.

Most of these restaurants are not typically on ML’s radar. For the most part, these are higher end restaurants and certainly surpass our $10 limit – even at lunch. But I still managed to find some new dessert options, some great bar food, and perhaps a few new spots for expense account lunches.


Sliders reigned supreme at the event – with most places putting in some sort of meat, lobster, or pork. The best were Pera’s lamb sliders. Makes me seriously wish the Turkish restaurant offered something within our price range. I was also surprised by Ruby Foo’s tasty roast pork banh mi slider.


Some of the pubs nearby did a good job with meat and carbs. St. Andrews braised short ribs and balanced it with sweet red onion jam and tangy horseradish cream. And O’Casey’s rueben roll is the first bite of a potentially delicious corned beef wrap.


Grand Central’s own venues offered some might tasty spreads. Grand Central Oyster Bar had both raw and fried oysters. Murray’s had an impressive platter of cheese and nuts. Drinks for all were poured by Beer Table, The Campbell Apartment, and Joe.


And while it’s way out of my usual price range, the standout dish for me was the rich veal and ham ravioli from Bice with a dark black truffle and rosemary veal sauce. It was worth the splurge! Well, I say that mostly because it was free.


All the usual suspects (Ciao Bella, Magnolia Bakery, Li-Lac Chocolate) had decadent dessert options. My favorite was a layered chocolate mousse verrine with strawberry compote from Financier. If they have these at one of the locations, I’m stocking up.

It was a treat to see the other options out there in Midtown. If anybody can swing the price tag for next year’s event, it’s a nice way to eat all the food you can’t afford the rest of the year.


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