5/08/2012 09:17:00 AM

The Best Thing We Ate Last Night: Crab Reuben at the Beard Awards

Someone give those sandwiches a medal! 
Last night, food industry heavyweights filled up Avery Fisher Hall for the annual James Beard Awards. Today we'll bring you coverage of the red carpet, the gala and (most importantly) the after parties. But first, let's start off with some food. The James Beard Foundation invites top chefs from around the country to prepare bites for gala-goers decked out in black tie. While you're supposed to wait until the awards show is over - no one does. People start sneaking out of their seats and stuffing their face as soon as the orders are up.

Our favorite (and much needed after too much Champagne) bite was a hearty Portland Dungess crab Reuben from JBF-award-winning chef Vitaly Paley of Paley's Place Bistro and Bar. The sandwiches were made on a sizzling hot plate at the station, filling the hall with the aroma of melting goat cheese. The amply stuffed crab sandwiches were cut into thirds and topped with a little sauce and Quinault River Steelhead Caviar. It might not have been the easiest thing to ingest while decked out in your best garb, but Paley's booth still sported by far the longest line. Maybe they should award a medal Top Chef style next year to the best on site dish?

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