If you’ve ever watched Top Chef, you’ve probably seen an elimination challenge in which the contestants served small samples of food to hundreds of people, who then voted on which dish was best while the show’s judges made their own decisions about which dish was best..
Big Taste of Fort Worth was something like that. A couple dozen or so restaurants had booths lining the walls of ballroom at the Omni Hotel for the Sunday-night event, which benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters in Tarrant County. The event raised more than $250,000 for the charity.
And diners at the event lined up at the booths -- with longer lines at some booths than others (never did get to the Del Frisco’s table, where the l ne never died down during the time we were there). The event was a sellout, drawing a crowd of a few hundred people that made it difficult -- for me, at least -- to sample everything, so I didn’t do any voting (I did love the Mac and Cheese with Jalapeños & Alderwood Smoked Bacon from Weatherford’s Wild Mushroom Steak House and Lounge and the Chile Verde -- stewed pork shoulder with green chiles -- from Fort Worth’s Salsa Fuego).
Celebrity judges for the event were U.S. Rep. Kay Granger; U.S. Rep. Roger Williams and his wife, Patty, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and her husband, Tom; and Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead and his wife, Kim.
The winners list:
Best Wine: Bethel Heights, Casteel Reserve, pinot noir, 2009
Best Culinary Presentation: Eddie V’s Prime Seafood for its tuna tartare (freshly diced Pacific ahi tuna seasoned with Sriracha, sesame and curry oils on a bed of mango with chopped cilantro, adorned with avocado and citrus filet, finished with Asian chile vinaigrette and house-made sesame lavoche crackers)
Best Kickin’ Decor: Bob’s Steak & Chop House
People’s Choice: The Grille at the Harbor on Possum Kingdom Lake for its smoked tenderloin with pepperjack cheese grits w/voodoo glaze)
Best of Big Taste: Ruth’s Chris Steak House for its New York strip steak skewer --a prime beef and savory mushroom skewer served on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes and popped with a brandy and peppercorn sauce.