Touch of Venice made a mushroom crostini with maitake, shiitake, oyster mushrooms, wild arugula, ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Grana of Jamesport made a bruschetta with roasted oyster mushroom, toasted walnut pesto and mushroom aioli dish.
While Shelter Island’s Vine Street Café served up a mushroom bolognese sauce with penne pasta, tomato, parmesan and parsley.
But the star of the shows was Noah’s with its duck confit and shiitake mushroom pan-fried dumplings, served with a mushroom and cabbage slaw in an orange miso sauce.
As many as 200 people attended the inaugural event, where guests sampled dishes made by local chefs using oyster, shiitake and other mushrooms grown by The East End Mushroom Company. One hundred percent of the net proceeds will be donated to C.A.S.T. and Maureen’s Haven.
“We can’t be any happier with the turnout,” said East End Mushroom Company co-owner Jane Maguire. “We wanted to do something to give back to the community, because they have embraced us.”
Originally set for early October, the mushroom cook-off had to be rescheduled due to the threat of a hurricane. Unfortunately rescheduling the event reduced the number of chefs able to participate in the event. Those five remaining restaurants were Claudio’s, Grana Trattoria, Noah’s, Touch of Venice and Vine Street Cafe.
Wine was provided by Macari, while beer was served by Greenport Harbor Brewing Company.
Both Grana and Noah’s dishes were popular with those who attended.
“Grana was really good, the bruschetta was my favorite,” said Eileen Cushman of Mattituck.
“I loved the pot stickers by Noah’s, they were delicious,” added Nicole Vanbourgondien of Southold.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone made a trip out east for the contest. He joined a panel of judges, who along with the public, voted on the best mushroom dish. They included Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell, Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, Southold Town Judicial candidate Bill Goggins and democratic nominee for Southold Town Supervisor candidate Damon Rallis, as well as local chef John Ross and staffers from Edible East End, which sponsored the event.
“This is a really exciting event and it’s for a wonderful cause,” Bellone said. “I skipped lunch today because I knew I’d be out here tasting all these incredible restaurants.”
While Bellone would not give away which restaurant he was leaning towards, he admitted to buying several jars of Vine Street Cafe’s mushroom bolognese sauce, which they were selling at the event.
Late in the afternoon Noah’s was announced the winner of the cook-off. Grana came in second and Vine Street Café placed third. The first place winner receives $2,000 worth of mushrooms for their restaurant plus a $250 prize for the chef. Noah’s Chef de Cuisine Brian Szostak was there to accept the prize and took it all in stride.
“Who knows, maybe we’ll go out and celebrate after work,” he said. “‘ll take the guys out from the kitchen.”