If you're going to the U.S. Open this week, it's best not to arrive at the stadium hungry. If you're a serious eater, you know that most of the food is going to be overpriced and underdelicious.
Now if you insist on arriving empty-handed with an empty stomach, your two best bets are Tony Mantuano's tapas bar, new this year, and Curry & Curry. Mantuano will be cooking food from his book Wine Bar Food, which we featured on Serious Eats a few months ago. Mantuano is a fine cook (I have eaten his food many times), and I'm assuming they're giving him what he needs to prepare his tapas-style dishes well. But even if his food is up to snuff, it ain't going to be cheap. The people running the concessions at the Open, like at every other sports stadium and event I can think of, definitely subscribe to what I call desert-island or we've-got-you-by-the-balls pricing.
A cheaper, real food alternative might be the aforementioned Curry & Curry, a midtown mostly take-out spot that has somehow made it out to the Open as a sanctioned vendor. Serious Eats' Alaina Browne is going out to the Open tonight, so she will give us a full report.
But let's face it. If you want to eat some seriously delicious and cheap food, you've gotta eat before they take your ticket. There are a couple of solid choices within walking distance, and a number of others a subway stop or short drive away.
Flushing Chinatown Options
Flushing's Chinatown is only a 20-minute walk, and there are plenty of choices. Our own Robyn Lee likes No 1 East Restaurant and Happy Beef Noodle Soup, and you'll probably run into Joe DiStefano at the Golden Shopping Mall. If you are looking for fine Sichuan food, I'd recommend Spicy and Tasty or Little Pepper.
If you're willing to jump off the 7 train and grab a bite on your way to the Open, consider these delectable options:
Donovan's: The burger at this Woodside institution is thick, meaty, and well-seared. 5724 Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside NY 11377 (map); 718-429-9339
El Sitio: A seminal Cuban sandwich stop in New York, El Sitio has that pork,ham, swiss cheese, pickle, and mojo (garlic sauce) down pat. The roast pork sandwich is pretty swell, too. 6828 Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside NY 11377 (map); 718-424-2369
Sripraphai: If you haven't tried the Thai food here, this is your chance. You won't be disappointed. Sripraphai is definitely one of the top Thai restaurants in New York City. 64-13 39th Avenue, Woodside NY 11377 (map); 718-899-9599
Tortas Neza Taco Truck: Last year, Robert Sietsema did a Roosevelt Avenue taco hunt for in the Village Voice. None of his top-five picks were within walking distance of the U.S. Tennis Center, but Tortas Neza apparently has excellent carnitas tacos. Roosevelt Avenue, between 111th and 112th streets (map)
Mama's: You'll need a car to hit Mama's, one of New York's best hero spots. Yes, Mama's is a pain in the ass to find, but it's definitely worth it. Either the roast pork or the roast turkey hero with fresh mozzarella and brown gravy are among the handful of great hot heroes in New York these days. Parking at the Open is difficult, if not impossible, so if you do drive and go to Mama's, park near there and walk off your sandwich. 46-02 104th Street, Corona NY 11368 (at 46th Avenue; map); 718-898-6069
Friendly Warning: Do not try to bring any food into the Open. The tennis police (also known as the ticket-takers) do not look kindly on this gambit.
For more options look through our Flushing archives.