Today, Citi Field opened its gates to let the media check out the concession dining. Three leading New York restaurateurs, wearing honorary Mets jerseys, were there, representing their new booths, in addition to some Shea Stadium veterans like Mama's of Corona.
Danny Meyer will oversee the Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, El Verano Taqueria, and Box Frites booths behind home plate, as well as all the food and drinks at the Delta Sky360 Club, the premium-ticket-holder area with enough room for 1,600. Esca's Dave Pasternack will oversee the Catch of the Day fish shack just beyond right field. And Drew Nieporent of Nobu and Tribeca Grill consulted for the Acela Club, the 350-seat restaurant overlooking left field.
Photos, after the jump.
Much like spring training, everyone had bright hopes and chipper attitudes today, undeterred by long lines, wailing fans, or the threat of running out of food. No drama, not a bit. We'll see how this translates to real game days—this weekend, the Mets will host the Red Sox for two exhibition games—but with people coming into this with such low generic stadium food standards, they will probably leave impressed. And full.
Note: These portions may not accurately reflect the game day portions. Many were altered for today's press event.
Shackburger. The kind you know and love. Tastes the same, thankfully.
Belgian style frites that are fried on the spot—not frozen, like the Madison Square Park and Upper West Side locations of the Shake Shack. (Ed likes to raise his fist at this.) Dipping sauces included fire-roasted tomato chipotle ketchup and some bacon creaminess.
Pulled pork sliders, sauced up with the house Blue Smoke 'cue sauce, on mini brioche buns. These are extremely porky.
El Verano Taqueria
Skirt steak taco in two corn tortillas with chopped onion, cilantro, and roasted tomato salsa. During the season, they will sell a taco platter with three fillings: chicken mole, grilled beef, and carnitas.
Catch of the Day
Fried flounder sandwich: fresh-caught flounder fried in breadcumbs with a homemade tarter sauce on a Martin's roll. Yum.
Long Island clams and corn in a creamy dry vermouth chowder. One of the tastiest things of the day (hopefully they can keep it warm).
Not available today, but look forward to: Blackened shrimp po-boy. "When you bite into it, I guarantee you'll have a shot on the shirt," Pasternack said of the juiciness factor. He was also plugging his "Bayside Fries," topped with smoked sea salt, Old Bay seasoning, and sharp cheddar. During the press conference, he turned to Meyer and challenged his competition from Boxed Frites.
Mama's of Corona
Mama's special: peppered ham, salami, fresh mozzarella, with pickled mushrooms and peppers. You gotta love this one. Mama's has been a Queens institution for 80 years, and it was at Shea Stadium for eight years.
"This is on a whole different level from the old dining club at Shea," Nieporent said. Macaroni and white cheddar with pancetta (pictured above). There will also be: Heritage pork porchetta with kraut and grilled skirt steak.
Other Things We Learned
- How will they keep everything fresh? "During a test run, we stopped the Blue Smoke line after four or five orders to keep up," Meyer explained. "And at Box Frites, we threw out any fries that had been sitting for more than two minutes."
- Price points aren't too far off from the New York restaurants these booths are inspired by. At Meyer's concessions, everything is a buck more than it might normally be. Pasternack believes his $17 lobster roll is also a great deal—"it's all cooked, never frozen. That's like a $30 item at Esca."
- At Citi Field, you can actually watch the game while you're waiting in line. At Shea, you had to rely on the tunnel monitors, "which usually didn't even work anyways," as Pasternack pointed out.
- You can bring food into the stadium, but it has to be "reasonable." No glass, that's for sure. Meyer told a story about going to Enron Field in Houston (when it was still called that). He snuck in three kinds of barbecue but was frisked by guards, and tragically had to give up two. He talked his way into keeping his third.
- Meyer is the only New York restaurateur of the three spotlighted today that's not actually a native New Yorker. He's a St. Louis boy, but has been a Mets season ticket holder since 1986—only to see his Cardinals play, but still!
What we've nicknamed Danny Meyer Land, his amusement park-like territory behind home plate.
If we could just make one suggestion for additions to their concession stands, it's that they go hyper-local and bring in some dumplings or sandwiches from Flushing's Chinatown. Lamb and pork burgers from Xi'an Famous Foods, anyone?
Related: Citi Field Menus, Prices Included