The scene: Chefs and mixologists in every direction in a Ritz-Carlton ballroom studded with silver and red. Cakes that could win a competition, super tall drag queens, a silent auction with killer prizes and TIM GUNN! The Human Rights Campaign’s second annual Chefs for Equality event was spirited and extravagant. After all, there’s a lot to celebrate this year with the striking down of DOMA!
But as always with Best Thing on the Menu, we care first and foremost about the food. After sampling truffled this and that (including popcorn from the Inn at Little Washington!), a couple warm soups in little cardboard cups, boozy fudgsicles and too many canapés to count, a clear winner emerged.
The Best Thing at the Party was, without a doubt, Pabu’s Happy Spoon: Beau Soleil Oyster with Uni, Ikura, Tobiko and a Ponzu Crème Fraîche. This mouthful of raw seafood tastes like someone scooped out a little slice of Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. The uni flavor overwhelms but the texture and sweetness of the Pop Rocks-like tobiko and ikura complete the bite. This was by far the most delicate, complex, decadent dish of the night. We had more than our fill of spoons; we’re to blame if they ran out.
We are now officially inspired to head to Baltimore to visit Executive Chef Jonah Kim and the rest of the team at Pabu. It’s so much more than sushi! They have some of our favorite Japanese dishes including okonomiyaki, miso-glazed nasu (eggplant), Nagoya-style chicken wings and more. Loved grilled food? They even have authentic robatayaki cuisine grilled over Japanese white oak. Oh, and you can get the Happy Spoon! It’s on their regular dinner menu. If you’re a first time Japanese food consumer, take the guesswork out of it and get the Satori tasting menu for under $50.
Oh, and in case you’re curious, the mini Pop-Tart from Ted’s Bulletin was The Best Thing in the Swag Bag (BTSB)!
Pabu’s Happy Spoon not the Best Thing at the Party? Share your favorites in the comments section and definitely get tickets next year.