Sounds like the $60 ticket was the way to go. I've done quite a bit of damage (to myself) with all you can drink champagne, so I stuck with the cheap tickets. I think I would have appreciated the food and its intricacies in a more relaxed environment (I was also rushing from line to line). One hour of more sunlight and warmth couldn't have hurt either. I went solo, figuring I'd enjoy taking my own sweet time, but couples and groups had a great advantage in holding spaces in line. In spite of my gripes, the food was interesting and good and I bet they raised a bundle for a worthy cause.
I went Saturday night. I arrived at 5 minutes of 7, and the line stretched down the block. I stood shivering in the cold until about 7:45 when I finally made it in. I immediately was hit with a wall of people -- one line facing one way for the gelato, another line facing the other way for the Minetta burger. I managed to grab some cheese and bread and went to scope out the different stations, hoping to jump in the shortest line. Silly me. There were no short lines. So I grabbed some more bread, and just picked one. I didn't even know what I was waiting in line for, it was so dark out and the crowd was so dense. The bread was gone before I moved five feet. Sadly, for me, it continued that way all evening. I would wait about 15 to 20 minutes per line, grab the plate, then immediately jump in the next line. It was so chilly that the food was cold before I was done eating it. Then I had another 10 to 15 minutes to continue my wait in line, still shivering and with an empty plate in hand. Everything I ate was very good (my favorites were the taco and the Minetta burger), but nothing was awesome. And, I have to honestly say that the crowds, the cold and the loooooong lines made for a pretty unenjoyable experience for me. I didn't bother with the gelato and left immediately after I finished my last bite. Maybe if I had upgraded I would have had a better time. :-(
I also went on Saturday evening and did the VIP upgrade which was well worth it. It included Vueve for the 1st hour and no lines from 6pm-7pm. You could walk right up to any of the booths without having to wait. There were only about 75 people at the event from 6-7pm.
I also agree that the best dish of the night was Stephane Jego's simmered beef cheeks and camembert meringue. My friend wanted to originally avoid the dish and when I asked why she said it looked unappetizing and that it didn't even look like beef. Once I convinced her we should try it, we went back for 3rds! So I think bc the event was such a "scene" with a lot of people there who didn't seem to have a clue about food, maybe Stephane Jego's dish was avoided bc it was not as easily identifiable? Worked for me though. I went back numerous times and got to speak to him and his staff.
I got there 25 minutes early (thanks for the tip) so I got to enter with the first group. Upon entering, there was a horrendously long line for the Minetta tavern burger, so I skipped ahead to Daniel Boulud's couscous (not the most exciting dish of the evening). Alberto Herraiz's chicken skewer was, well, chicken, but the carrot gazpacho it came with was surprisingly rich and delicious. The steak with charred aubergine (Inaki Aizpitarte) had a long line, but basically tasted like excellent beef cut up into little bits. It was already dark, and I would have liked to get a better look at the dishes that were made up of many elements, especially because they were so carefully assembled. Julie Faras's barbacoa (beef head) taco was delicious ("I smoked it myself!" she yelled) but the tortillas could have been warmer. For some reason one of the best dishes had no line - Stephane Jego's simmered beef cheeks and camembert meringue. Very rich marbled beef, and a goofy but tasty bright green blob of camembert foam. I finally braved the line for the burger on my way out, and Lee Hanson, Pat LaFrieda, and Riad Nasr were manning the grills. Oddly enough, the Blue Ribbon burger suffered the most from the assembly line approach. My itty bitty burger was tasty but more cooked than I prefer (definitely a medium), and the delicious brioche bun was cold, but the caramelized onions were fantastic. The line for the ice cream was impossibly long, so I skipped dessert - should have gotten it on my way in when there was no wait.
Six delicious bites were worth giving $30 to a worthwhile charity in the end, but waiting in snaking lines got to be pretty tiresome. The crowd (largely 20-somethings on dates) seemed like they were there for the event more than the food. There were a few line jumpers, emboldened by their belief in their overwhelming adorableness, but the crowd was good natured. I didn't know that you could enter PS1 - I would have loved to have gotten a peek at the Christian Marclay. A little more light and a warmer night would have given us a better look at our food, and kept it from getting cold so fast, but I enjoyed getting a taste of some new stuff without the trip to Par-ee.
Bang on assessment, hungrycomposer -- was in the first group, in the first lines. Found it bewildering that one could often walk right up to Stephane Jego's table for unlimited helpings but that you had to wait a minimum of 10-15 minutes for a hamburger. (I went through that line but once, and nabbed two burgers. Maybe that is what everyone was doing, and why the wait was so long.)
The idea to place the General Greene ice cream cart by the entrance when people would be eating that later on in the evening goes down in the Worst Ideas Ever hall of fame. The event was not terribly well planned, but the crowd was almost entirely well-mannered, which made it a very pleasant experience.
Went yesterday and was one of the first people in line---so when we got in (about 7:15) there were no lines yet. Food was tasty and all the chefs were there having a fine time. David Chang''s shredded pork was superb as was grilled corn with scallop butter from the Diner in Brooklyn. A very cool event, with vibrant music and a variety of hipsters, foodiots, and trendsetters.
I went last night. Here's what you need to know. It's a semi-mob scene. If you didn't upgrade to a $60 ticket, get there early and get a place (6:30) close to the front of the line or else you'll wait forever to get in.
Instead of having one big plate and moving down the line to load up from every chef's station, you go to one station and get a little plate with their offering. You have to stand in line all over again at every chef's table to get another small plate of food. Which means that you can really only hit two stations at most, eat , and then go back for more. (Unless, of course, you happen to have 3 or more hands) Same with the drink stations.
It's outside. The food stations and most of the crowd is on the big lawn, a few tables are set up at the top of the stairs by the doors to the museum.
As for the food, it was good, but not exceptional. Last night they served chicken necks with yuzu marmalade (Wally Defrense) -very tasty, but they were necks, after all, so not much meat; shredded pork with a spicy sauce; pork sparerib with a pineapple sauce,;grilled cubes of steak; a strongly fennel flavored soup with sumplings from David Chang (surprisingly, one of the weakest dishes) and a really yummy deep fried ear of corn in a fabulously buttery sauce. Also had some cheese (too cold) with good bread. Never got to the ice cream dessert-the lines were just too long.Portions are small - really only a few bites, but if you have the patience to stand in line you can go back for more.
Also know that they have 2 D jays playing a very eclectic (and loud) mix of music (everything from hip-hop to game show themes) and a fun short multi-media show with images projected on the sides of the building.
All in all, certainly worth $30, but more of a scene than a food event.