Tuesdays with TT: Monday Edition: Meatopia

A couple of weeks ago, I got another Blackboard Eats email, but this time it was for Meatopia. I had no idea what that was but knew it wasn’t a restaurant. After some investigating, I found out that it was an upcoming BBQ festival on Governors Island. I was a little hesitant though since the most famous local BBQ festival, the Big Apple BBQ, has become quite the shitshow over the past couple of years and I do my best to avoid it; Yvo’s review from a couple years ago. However, I had a great experience on Governors Island at a moe. concert a couple of years ago, so I figured I would give this a shot. There was also the 30% off from Blackboard Eats, which helped seal the deal. Regardless, I knew it would be imperative to get on the first ferry to arrive right at the start since they expected 5,000 people there (still much less than the Big Apple BBQ).

The Island is only open on the weekends, but offers a free ferry from the terminal right next to the Staten Island Ferry downtown. CT & I got there just a couple minutes before the boat was about to shove off, so it worked out perfectly. As soon as we got off the boat, we met some friends to partake in this amazing display of meat.

After we traded in our tickets for our taste cards, we decided to do a quick stroll around to see what we wanted to try first. The first stand we came across was Hill Country, but passed on that since we were part of a group with a vendetta against HC. You know who you are and what the reason is!

Jonathan Waxman, of Barbuto and more recently Top Chef Masters fame, was there. I asked to take a picture of him, but he said we should come around so the three of us can be in the picture together(Sorry folks, that picture will stay private). He is as nice as he is on TV. Chef Waxman was offering Grilled Marinated Chicken with Pickled Green Papaya. I know what you are thinking, grilled chicken = BORING!, but since Chef is a grilling master, this was great. The chicken was super juicy and had a nice kick from the veggies on top.

CT says: I agree! I’m not usually a chicken-orderer, but the little bite was delicious!

Barbuto on Urbanspoon

Joey Campanaro (slicing the meat), of The Little Owl, was setup right next door, but we didn’t get a chance to taste his Baron of Beef. Check out Yvo’s review of The Little Owl here.

Next up was the team from Resto. Chef Bobby Hellen was roasting a whole mutton on the spit for his MLT sandwich. I loved the presentation of the skull on the table. The sandwich was quite yummy. I think it was some sort of bacon bits on top, but I never asked what it was. Check out Yvo’s review of Resto here and here.

Resto on Urbanspoon

Right next to them was the team from Bobo offering a Grilled Bacon Sandwich, Pickled Green Tomatoes, Napa Cabbage. Yes, you read that correctly, A GRILLED BACON SANDWICH! I am so glad we arrived early and were able to get one of these. Each sandwich had a HUGE slab of bacon on it. It was as good as it looks, if not better. Even CT liked it and she is not a fan of bacon on its own. This was my favorite of the day.

CT says: The bacon sandwich really was good – but I would’ve preferred fresh tomatoes.

Bobo on Urbanspoon

Chipotle was also there. I had no plans to stop at their stand until I saw that they were giving out free tacos. It wouldn’t cost you a “taste” on your card. The steak was good and got a nice kick from the salsa, but the tortilla could have used a little toasting on the flat top. Then again, who I am to look a gifthorse in the mouth?

Seamus Mullen, of Boqueria, was roasting a whole lamb. I planned on stopping by later for a taste as I was already getting quite full, but I did get a couple shots of the lamb on the spit. It was quite a beautiful sight.

Next up was the guys from The Meatball Shop, which has gotten a lot of good press recently. They had Wood Grilled, Mini Chicken Meatball Salad with White Beans and Watercress. Grilling chicken well, let alone, chicken meatballs is quite the feat. They did a good job by having a nice crunchy exterior and juicy interior. CT & I will have to move The Meatball Shop to the top of our list of places to visit.

The Meatball Shop on Urbanspoon

I guess China Grill wasn’t attracting that many tasters because they gave CT one of their ribs without marking her card. They made Lamb Spare Ribs, Plum and Sesame Glazed. I guess the butcher shop had a deal on lamb this week? There were so many lamb offerings. I didn’t like this dish at all. The glaze was super sweet. Check out Yvo’s review of China Grill here.

CT says: I liked the ribs. The sauce was a bit sweet even for me, but for a small portion I thought it was good. Also, a nice break from the pure “meaty-ness” of some of the other dishes during the day. And a free tasting!

Chef Michael Lomonaco, of Porter House, was giving out Grilled Skirt Steak Hoagies, Chimichurri & Roasted Corn. These were HUGE. I would have expected them to give portions half of the size. The steak was cooked perfectly, but the bread ended up getting pretty soggy. Overall, it was just ok.

Porter House New York on Urbanspoon

One of the other hot items(no pun intended) was the Honey-Glazed Baby Back Ribs with Thai Basil & Mint from the forthcoming restaurant, The Hurricane Club. This is going to be another tiki-themed place that seems to be the new trend in the NYC dining/bar scene. It also had a couple fried lotus root chips. They gave us 3 gigantic ribs, so much food. These were tasty, but still a little too sweet for my palate, but less so than the rib from China Club.

CT says: I loved these! And the lotus root chips were perfectly crispy; I could eat a whole bowl of those! Can’t wait for this restaurant to open.

Next up was Mile End, the newish Montreal-style deli, with their pastrami. It came on beer bread rye with a nice spicy mustard. Waterfront Ale House also had pastrami, but I was only able to get a small bite before they ran out. I liked Waterfront’s better since it was more unique than the better than average deli style pastrami at Mile End.

Mile End on Urbanspoon
Waterfront Ale House on Urbanspoon

Chef Amanda Freitag of The Harrison(also a recurring judge on Chopped on The Food Network) was also in attendance manning the grill, or should I say womanning the grill? I am here all week folks, don’t forget to tip your waitress. She made Char Grilled English Lamb Chops, but we were too lamb’d out to try.

Smokin’ Joe’s True-Blue Texas Barbecue roasted some pigs, but the line was one of the longest at the entire festival and we got over there towards the end of the day.

One of the nice touches was that bands were setup at various points throughout the grounds busker-style. It was a lot of fun to see someone playing a string(guy on the right).

There were a couple demos going on during the day. One of them was a bison cookoff between Norwood Club Head Chef Andrew D’Ambrosi (who you may remember from Top Chef a couple seasons ago) takes on Michelin-starred SHO Executive Chef Shaun Hergatt. Josh Ozersky, most recently of Weddingate fame, the founder of the festival was at this demo to say a few words (guy in the hat, center).

There was also an Italian Ice and an Ice Cream vendor there. The Ice Cream Vendor had three different offerings; maple-bacon, chocolate-stout, and a blueberry apricot sorbet. Johanna couldn’t decide so she got all three. Any ice cream that is topped with a big piece of bacon is a win in my book everytime.

Sixpoint was on hand to keep our thirsts quenched with a couple different offerings.

We also walked outside of the festival, to check out some other parts of the island and to help digest. We even played a couple holes of mini-golf, which was free with donations suggested. I found one hole to be particularly disturbing. Bye bye, Canada? There were also art exhibits throughout the island and bikes available for rental.

Since I had one taste left on my ticket and everything was quickly running out, we stopped at the I-Que BBQ for some Competition Style Pork Shoulder. It was super juicy and quite tasty.

All in all, it was a great day. It became quite busy with long lines as the day went on, but all of the chefs seemed to be on top of things and kept the lines moving. It was also nice to see how friendly everyone was as we picked up our tastes, even the ton of executive chefs/celebrity chefs that manned the booths. They really did want us to enjoy the food and I certainly did! The Blackboard Eats coupon didn’t hurt either.


  1. CT says

    YUM! I thought I would be too meat-ed out after this, but I’m feeling just great today! And Governor’s island is beautiful – i can’t wait to go back and explore some more!

  2. says

    Tuesdays with TT on a Monday?

    And how many tastes do you get with your ticket?

    Oooh, wish I didn’t have plans last weekend so I could have scarfed down more BBQ and met Chef Waxman.

    • says

      we decide we wanted to get a jump on the review!

      we got the choice tickets which had 6 tastes. After BBE coupon it was $33. The tastes were HUGE. CT & I each got a choice ticket, but we only able to finish 8 tastes. We were able to sell the remaining off. 🙂

      • says

        BTW, not that it matters now, but could you have paid with cash if you didn’t have any more left on your ticket? I would imagine they did things this way to streamline the process and make it so that there’s no need for cash exchange?

        Great post. Love the pictures. That one of the mutton sandwich is so inviting, I just want to dive right in. Thanks!!!

        • says

          yes, they had tables setup for those who didn’t buy tickets ahead of time.

          they also had tables selling beer tickets and took CC which was handy.

      • says

        You’ll have to bug me again next year about going to this!

        $33 not bad at all.

        And good job with the pics. Much improved!! Drool worthy now.

    • says

      Dude, I panicked thinking “Oh man, I can’t believe I didn’t go to work yesterday, I’m SO screwed!” Then I thought, “OH #@%&! Tomorrow is Wednesday and I haven’t finished my next post! Feisty Foodie is gonna KILL me!” Thanks for giving me a reason to go on blood pressure meds, TT!

      Those baby back ribs with lotus chips look drool-worthy! Even though it sounds like it was a lamb-fest, and despite my dislike for lamb, I really wish I’d gone.

      P.S. I agree with everyone else, your photos look amazing!

  3. MT says

    I would just also like to concur on the quality of these pics – muuuuuch improved, they all (food, place, people, sky, you name it) looked so good!!

  4. MT says

    By the way, totally just spent 5 minutes of my precious studying time on reading through this whole thing. You are welcome, TT 😉

  5. T.C. says

    Way to plump-up on Meats! Def. looks like it was worth the 33 bucks and good offerings. Glad you and CT had fun.
    Mmm interesting ice cream flavors. And the MLT and Honey-glazed ribs look delicious. *drools*

  6. says

    The High Plains Bison grilled bison with fresh kimchee salsa was great and I did not have to use a paid taste for it. The cook off was great fun and a real treat for top chefs fans like myself!had a great time at the event.

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