Previewing the New High-End Dining Options at Citi Field
Members of the press were invited to Citi Field this week to preview a handful of new high-end food options being offered for the first time during the 2012 Mets season. Robert Flowers, Aramark executive chef at City Field, enlisted the likes of Scott Levine (executive sous chef of Union Square Sports and Entertainment), Drew Nieporent of Myriad Restaurant Group, and Dave Pasternack of Esca and Eataly to help craft the new dining options.
Citi Field is certainly not the first major league baseball stadium to offer fine dining options. In fact, this trend has already caught on at ballparks such as Yankee Stadium and Marlins Park. During the "Taste of the City" event, Flowers expressed that they intended to make the food selections at Citi Field world-class because they believe spectators will prefer fine dining options to more traditional ballpark offerings.
Below is a sneak peek of the new dishes being unveiled on Opening Day next month.
The first station included selections from Taqueria (photographed above), created by chef Scott Levine. The dishes included a fried mixed berry pie; vegetarian tacos with portobello mushrooms, zucchini, and poblano peppers; and a barbacoa quesadilla with chipotle and guajillo chiles. Levine also previewed a Buffalo dog, which includes an all-beef hot dog topped with Buffalo-blue cheese sauce, pickled carrots, and celery, and sweet potato fries with curry mayo and bacon aioli.
Across the aisle was a station boasting an impressive selection of sushi, sashimi, and nigiri from Daruma of Tokyo.
Next up was a handful of dishes crafted by Empire Suite, including buttermilk-marinated fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and cornbread. The chicken was crisp on the outside and moist on the inside.
Chef Julio Rodriguez of Metropolitan Hospitality served up eye-catching pastry cups filled with a variety of ingredients at his station (photographed below), such as tuna tartare with yucca chips and fresh seaweed salad, chicken and waffles with a maple demi-glace, and seared Long Island striped bass with braised fennel and pesto mashed potatoes.
Alas, a trip to the ballpark would not be complete without a good burger, and luckily Brooklyn Burger has taken on the task of providing a high-end version to Mets fans (this item has been available in past seasons). As a miniature, this was a disappointment — it was overcooked and the roll was too thick for the meat that was inside, though last summer we really enjoyed the 6-ounce version. Keith Hernandez’s Mex Burger comes on a toasted sesame seed bun with Cheddar and jack cheeses, topped with bacon, guacamole aioli, and jalapeños. It’s normally served with house-made kettle chips and Keith’s favorite candy, a Tootsie Pop.
Furthermore, those who just might pass up a burger might be more inclined to go the hot dog route, which were being served up at the Cholula station. The dish of the night was a Nathan’s beef frank with "red" onions and a Premio sausage served with sautéed peppers and onions, combined in a single bun.
Finally, it was time to try the Citi Field desserts. We somehow missed the Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches, but we did try the good banana bread pudding served with spiced caramel and Chantilly cream.