On a sweltering hot Saturday in July the crowds showed up to Pier 5 at Brooklyn Bridge Park for Meatopia to devour tastings of meat provided by restaurants in New York City and from across the country. The annual celebration was having its first year at Pier 5, moving from their location last year on Governor's Island. The new location, in addition to an adjusted ratio of chefs to attendees, worked out very well. The normally bare Pier 5 made for a stage ready to be set with grills, fire pits and smokers. All the Chefs were set up with stands, clearly marked with large red signs with their name, restaurant, and a shadow of the animal they were serving with the company who provided their meat. The maps that were given out included a full list of chefs and their menus, making it easy to find just who and what you wanted.
To start off my meat eating I headed with my lamby friends to try The Meatball Shop's Sloppy Joes, Lamb Belly Sliders from 42, Lamb Ribs from ilili, and Lamb Breast and rice from Sip Sak. Every single one of these lamb dishes was cooked to perfection, spiced with a balanced hand, and the portion was more than just a taste. My favorites were the lamb belly sliders and the lamb breast. The sliders were served on soft little buns with a pickle layered on the bottom. With streaks of lamb fat and crispy edges, the belly was tender and chewy. Sip Sak's lamb breast was served with fluffy rice and homemade bread. None of these dishes had the gamey flavor that sometimes comes with lamb. The sloppy joes were indeed sloppy, served piping hot, that made you want to take a fork to scoop up all the tangy meat that fell off your bun. ilili's ribs were crisp and chewy, a little hard to eat, but worth getting your fingers dirty for (served next to a basket of wet naps).