Cigars, charities, and ceviche were all the rage July 10 at the seventh annual Charity Off the Hook event at Ivy City Smokehouse. The industry fundraiser was a smorgasbord of local chefs serving up some of their best seafood creations for a sea of 500 guests.
The goal was to raise money for six charities expected to split the money evenly; funds were generated from the $65-per-person ticket sales (which included both food and booze — not a bad deal) and silent auction items.
Here were some highlights from the open-bar gathering, which was an aggressive order for a Monday night:
Chloe’s coming: Aspiring restaurateur Haidar Karoum says Chloe — his first solo restaurant — just started construction last week at Navy Yard and plans to open in October. The one-time chef behind Proof, Estadio, and Doi Moi tells Eater that taking off a year as a chef is like “a dog not being able to go to a park.”
Gravitas needs some cash: Chef Matt Baker says he’s now in fundraising mode via Kickstarter to pay for the final details needed to open his restaurant and urban garden in Ivy City this year. His current goal is $25,000.
Amazon Prime-Like Deals: Some of the auction items seemed like a steal. One good get: A framed and matted picture of John Lennon with Yoko Ono, signed by her, that was only going for around $200. Other cool items: A signed Caps hockey stick and Air Jordans.
The Point was on point: The longest wait of the night was for the non-local chef’s table. The Point in Arnold, a huge crab destination near Annapolis, was cooking up seared scallops over sweet corn. Chef Bobby Jones, who thinks no one has any idea where Arnold is, told Eater he came up with the recipe that morning. They’ve been sourcing from Ivy City’s Profish for the past decade.
Lessons learned: Atlas Brew Works was back this year and opted for smaller-sized kegs after dealing with too many leftovers in the past. One on tap: The 1500 South Cap Lager, the beer produced in partnership with the Washington Nationals.
Being fashionably late was a bad idea: Planners were calling for about 350 attendees, but that number soon ballooned to 500. As a result, Casolare and many others ran out of food hours early. And all of Rappahannock Oyster Bar’s 700 shucked bivalves on ice were slurped up fast. The event apparently wasn’t sold out at the door, but some attributed pre-event press for the sudden spike in sales.
Further evidence of high attendance: So. Much. Trash.
The pressure was on: Ivy City Smokehouse chef Alberto Bollera repped his host restaurant well with scallop and shrimp ceviche with melon sticks. “I feel like people want something sweet,” he said. There were also passed sliders, but one was plenty (carbo-loading is an amateur move at a big food event).
Most out-of-the box dish: Momofuku CCDC had kombu (aka, seaweed) cured fluke.
What the DJ was playing: Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” was on. And apparently the “Cupid Shuffle” is back (a bunch of people broke out into the proper dance for it).
Battle of the booze: New Columbia Distillers says out of the two cocktails it was mixing — negronis, and gin and tonic — the latter was the most ordered. Meanwhile, One Eight Distilling was pimping out its whiskey — claiming it’s the first grain-to-glass rye whiskey distilled, aged, and bottled in D.C. since Prohibition. Mini shots went fast.