You do not need us to tell you that Miami has a lot of great restaurants. So you probably also do not need us to tell you that nothing beats bringing together over forty of Miami’s best restaurants for a one night event full of said food, drinks and competition. We are talking about Miami New Times’ Iron Fork presented by The Miami Downtown Development Authority. The 5th annual event took place October 18, 2012, and was as great as ever before.
Thousands descended upon Grand Central Miami to sample bites as part of the grand tasting event, snag drinks from the open bars set-up both indoors and outdoors and watch the food truck and Iron Fork Chef challenges curated by Chef Alan Susser. Anticipation for the battle has been building up for months, all chefs have been diligently preparing and even some Twitter wars broke out as a result.
Chef Phillip Bryant of Yardbird Southern Table & Bar took on Daniel Serfer of Blue Collar Restaurant for the Iron Fork Award, while Hell’s Kitchen contestant Robyn Almodovar represented Palate Party and battled against Alfred Montero from Mr. Good Stuff for the Food Truck Award. Both events were judged by renowned chefs- Michael Gilligan of Rusty Pelican, Sean Brasel of Meat Market and Janna Wardle from BLT Steak. Each chef had thirty minutes to make five servings each of three different dishes. Mystery ingredients were presented on both challenges- bacon for the Iron Fork chefs, butter for the food trucks. In the end, Daniel Serfer of Blue Collar won the Iron Fork 2012 title and Palate Party’s Robyn Almodovar took the food truck win.
That competition took place on a bright stage, elevating these chefs to rockstar status that they deserve. Fans gathered in front to watch the competition and listen to the judges comments. Of course, they stayed satisfied too with bites from tables stationed around the spectacle. Outside the warehouse space, even more tables were set and a couple food trucks served up bites of their own.
The variety amongst the tables was impressive. Standouts include the braised beef cheeks on a bed of horseradish mashed potatoes from STK Miami, shrimp and grits from Whisk Gourmet and tacos from Latin House Grill. Two of our favorite places, Bolivar and 660 At The Angler’s were popular stops for guests, serving up bites that Miami Culinary Tours offers on our tours! In the smaller outdoor tent, there was live music that had guests dancing all night long to 80’s covers and more.
With the evident success of this years event, I have no doubt that this will keep returning annually. It is the ideal opportunity to go out and sample different types of cuisine in one night. Most places doled out menus and discounts to lure people to hit up their actual restaurant and I am sure it works. I personally got to try some of my favorite bites from places I love and also experience new restaurants that only peaked my interest in returning. It is only too bad we have to wait another year for it to roll around!
By Miami Food Critic, Cassie Glenn