A couple of weeks ago, I volunteered for the second time at Taste of the Nation Boston. Taste of the Nation events occur all across the country and are sponsored by Share Our Strength, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger. All proceeds from the event support Share Our Strength’s mission, and the event is made possible through the generosity of local businesses that donate their time, resources, and goodies to the cause.
Many of the Boston area’s most popular fine dining establishments presided: L’Espalier, Hamersley’s Bistro, Rialto, Gargoyles on the Square, Craigie on Main, Hungry Mother, Church; as did more casual places like Trina’s and Redbones. Shops specializing in desserts were also there in full force: Kick Ass Cupcakes, South End Buttery, Glutenus Minimus. The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts also decided to go the pastry route this year, donating an impressive pastry display filled with lots of colorful little treats.
Each restaurant served a small plate of its choice, and the offerings ran the gamut in size, daintiness, and flavors. But I pick up on some trends: hors d’oeuvres served on house-made potato chips, tartares, house-cured meats and homemade sausages, and pulled meats served slider-style. It seemed like there was a pretty clear split in thinking between restaurants who decided to go the comfort food route and those who decided to serve more refined plates. I thought one that bridged this gap beautifully was Brasserie JO, which served the most unctuous braised Kobe beef cheek on brioche: