Everyone eats, and the food we eat intertwines with our background and lifestyle. Dish Crawl hones in on the idea that food is a part of us. Dish Crawl creates a business of combining socializing centered on culinary experiences by bringing together fifty diners to four restaurants in one neighborhood, over a course of four gluttonous hours.
With 45 minutes at each establishment, I had enough time to have substantial conversations with my fellow diners. Moving to a new location organically shuffled dish crawlers, and facilitated mingling. A ticket, starting at $26, included ample of good eats and opportunities to connect with people – the chefs, the managers, the servers, and the diners. The experience offered an intimate look at the people behind the food – their stories and their mission.
First Stop: Mooncake Food Asian Diner
Mooncake Food, self-identifies as Chinese American food redefined in the Spanish neighborhood of New York City. The staff at Mooncake Food presented a generous plate of teriyaki salmon, soba salad, chicken curry, garlic bread, and a little garnish of tomatoes and cucumber. The menu focuses on healthy, crowd pleasing, comfort food, and reflects the multiculturalism of New York City.
Second Stop: Mu Jun En Ji Traditional Korean Restaurant
Dishcrawlers were welcomed into Mu Jun En Ji with hospitality. Staff enthusiastically refilled the side dishes, and initiated conversation as a proud ambassador of Korean food. Mu Jun En Ji has passion for old heritage and traditional roots.
Traditions, roots, and history came in the physical form of kimchi. Mu Jun En Ji’s kimchi is grown, prepared, and left to ferment in the high cool mountain of Korea, then packaged and sent to our dining tables in New York City. Mu Jun En Ji is in the business of bringing old Korean tradition and spirit into the USA.
Our server summarized, “Kimchi and rice – that is life!”
The second server stated, “Kimchi and rice – that’s a (complete) meal for us (Koreans).” Yet, we were served much more than kimchi and rice: beef & pork bbq, panjun, bimbimbop, and soondubu jigae. We left Mu Jun En Ji with a full belly.
Third Stop: ilili Fine Dining Lebanese
ilili’s head chef, Philippe Massoud, shared with us his story, “The American Dream is very much alive here in NYC and in the kitchen here at ilili.” Chef Massoud immigrated to the United States as a young man, noted that Lebanese fine dining was not incorporated in the fabric of American restaurants. He took it upon him to be the pioneer of Lebanon’s cuisine.
Chef Massoud is on a mission to bring fine Middle Eastern cuisine to international limelight. He recognizes the potential playground for innovation: ‘ilili is 60% tradition and 40% fun’. At ilili, diners can enjoy traditional Lebanese food, and innovative new dishes.
Dish crawlers received a warm welcome from the Chef Massoud while enjoying the braised lamb on top of thin shavings of tomatoes and bits of fennel. Dish Crawl offered diners the opportunity of an intimate conversation with the people behind the food.
Last Stop: Ayza
The evening ended with some sweet and salty treats at Ayza
Dish Crawl is an event that highlights and supports the local businesses and creates meaningful dining experience, and a sense of community for both diners and the local business.