You already know how much I admire the Top Chef TV series and their contestants. And the judges at that! I have now had 25 dinners (or lunches) cooked by just these talented people, and I have no intentions to stop, because each and every time I am reassured in just how amazing they are. Here are my latest three, and rest assured, the next three are already on the horizon….

Naked Dog

Bostonian and chef Ed Cotton appeared on Season 7, and made it all the way to the end, being one of the runner ups! He’s been cooking right here in New York for a while, and I finally had a chance to get a taste of his food at his restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Brooklyn is the New Manhattan, and there are quite a few Top Chef contestants based here. For me (coming from the Bronx) is was quite a trek, but it’s so worth it.

His restaurant is fresh and modern, the staff friendly and engaging. The food? Of course it’s great. I have come to keep my expectations high when it comes to these guys, and haven’t been disappointed yet. I started out with a Frittura Mista, consisting of fried calamari, cod and shrimp with a chili citrus aioli, it was so fresh and delicious. Next I had a taste of the Ravioli filled with braised beef in a sage butter sauce, topped with parmigiano, so, so good. The main course was Pollo Arrostito, being a roasted chicken over Sardinian fregola and parsnip puree with Tuscan kale and blood orange. It’s a traditional dish incorporating new amazing flavors. I loved everything.

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Pop-Up dinner with Adrienne Cheatham

Ohhhh, we love us some Adrienne. She is the runner up on the very last season of Top Chef, that just finished. Rooted right here in the NYC, this city crossed our fingers and toes for her with heart and soul. This was probably one of my favorite seasons with a dynamite cast. So when I heard she was cooking dinner at the Red Rooster in Harlem (where she used to work), I was all in! She cooked, she hosted, she dazzled! What a sweetheart, and don’t get me started on the food!

After a serving of Red Roosters cornbread with honey butter and tomato jam (OMG) we were served our first course: Charred Octopus with bell pepper chow chow and squid ink grits, which is a dish she made in the finale of the show, it was just awesome. The next course was actually by Red Rooster’s executive chef Ed Brumfield. It consisted of a fried chicken ball stuffed with chicken heart gravy with candy stripe beets, pickled ramps and mushroom dashi, it was a little masterpiece! Adrienne’s main course was a Roast Pork Tenderloin with collard green duck sel, boudin and mustard jus. Our dessert was a banana pudding with vanilla wafer crumbles, candied pecans and meringue chips, holy smokes. Her vision of elevated southern cuisine was spot on and simply delicious. We also received a macaroon cookie filled with foie gras, a perfect mix of sweet and savory, which I ended up dropping without tasting it…. *#*^@…..

Bar Salumi

Adam Harvey appeared on Season 12 of Top Chef and made it to round 8, which is quite impressive. He’s a New Yorker with a restaurant that recently opened in Brooklyn. I just recently took the endless MTA nightmare trip to Brooklyn on a Saturday, which of course was well worth it. His Italian restaurant starts with a salumeria with quality cold cuts and cheeses at a deli counter. The restaurant itself is fresh and modern with small tables, community tables and a pretty bar, great and welcoming staff. The kitchen is open with seating, I love the setup of this place! And I will never tire of Top Chef quality food, this was another winner.

My appetizer was a Clam Casino, consisting of the top neck with bacon butter and lemon. I followed up with Bucatini, a fried meatball over a little bit of pasta, which turned out to be one of my favorite meatballs ever. Hallelujah. The main course was a Beef Braciole with Crimini mushrooms and spinach over polenta. Not only was this serving big enough for 2 people, but it was re-di-cu-lous. It was unbelievably good. I might have to move to Brooklyn……

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