Obika gets into the cigar event game
To look at this small Manhattan eatery, you'd never make the connection. Tucked in the atrium of the IBM building on the corner of Madison Avenue and E 56th Street, Obika seems like just another dine-and-dash joint to service the suited masses within a three-block radius. To judge this shop on a glance alone, however, would be a grievous error. In reality, its clientele consists of a mix of ardent regulars and tourists (mostly from Europe) who are committed to the magic made at this mozzarella bar. The customers' zeal was evident by their presence alone on May 21, 2009, when Obika catered the latest De La Concha cigar dinner.
Anthony Fauci, a partner in the restaurant, represented Obika at the cigar event, held in the store where he and his brother, James, have been regulars for as long as anyone can remember. In a new twist on what has become a regular occurrence for the Manhattan tobacconist, Obika provided a mozzarella and pasta tasting menu designed to complement the Camacho cigars featured.
The event was standing room only, as Obika took over the shop – lining the counters for food preparation and consumption. Instead of opting for traditional sit-down meals, store general manager Ron Melendi opted for a more fluid approach, in which guests could stand, sit at a boardroom style table at the front of the store or eat on available counters.
Gallery: Obika, Camacho and De La Concha
Obika, Fauci implied, is not afraid to toy with tradition. The most prominent move was to make pesto without garlic, in order to draw forward the native pesto spices. The prosciutto was among the best I've had, tasty without overpowering the accompanying mozzarella.
But, the evening was shaped by the cigars.
As with the dinners featuring Padron and Pepin Garcia cigars, the guest of honor at the Camacho event was the man behind the brand, Christian Eiroa. He introduced each of the four cigars served that evening, including the Triple Maduro and (my favorite from this company) the Camacho Select. Eiroa constructed a tasting event that began with a medium-bodied stick and gradually increased in intensity, ending with the potent Triple Maduro.
If you live in New York, another cigar event is coming up quickly. On June 8 (if you have time, given the short notice), Davidoff's three New York shops are working together to host a cut-and-light event at Bayard's. You can smoke as many Davidoff cigars as you like during the event. So, if you try a smoke and it isn't for you, leave it in the ashtray and find something else! The Davidoff 2009 Limited Edition launch will be the highlight of the evening, and you'll get a chance to meet Davidoff master blender Henke Kelner.
Ever wondered what an in-store cigar event looks like? Check out the video of the Padron event below, catered by Rue 57.