Foodies taste Queens at 12th annual culinary event

By Alex Robinson

More than 700 people flocked to Queens Taste Tuesday night to sample food from some of the borough’s newest restaurants.

Queens foodies navigated a sea of people at Flushing’s Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel to taste many savory and sweet treats that were offered by the event’s 49 vendors.

The annual event, in its 12th year, showcased a diverse array of food, from artisanal meatballs to freshly made sushi.

A panel of judges awarded best appetizer to Sunnyside’s Murphy’s Seafood Grill for its oysters. Zenon Taverna, a Greek and Cypriot restaurant in Astoria, received the honor of best entrée for serving a Mediterranean octopus dish, lamb meatballs and taramosalata. DF Mavens, which served ice cream, won best dessert.

Newcomers Pa-Nash, a Rosedale restaurant that serves what it calls “Euro Soul” food, the fusion of Mediterranean and Moroccan cuisine with Caribbean and soul food influences, proved to be particularly popular as most of its food was gone an hour before the event ended.

“A great time was had by all,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corp., which organized the event. “The food, the beverages, the networking and the upbeat atmosphere were simply fantastic. I’m already looking forward to next year.”

QEDC also took the opportunity to announce the winners of its eighth annual StartUP! business plan competition, which it gives to entrepreneurs who participated in a five-month challenge-and-instruction course.

Gamal Byfield, who runs a Rosedale martial arts studio called the Branch of Life, won first place.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.