Frank Bruni will be leaving his post as the restaurant critic later this summer. That meant he had just enough time to offer his opinions on two of the biggest openings in town, although neither one is technically a restaurant. Citi Field and Yankee Stadium both boast an impressive array of dining options, and Bruni went to each in a battle to determine the winner of a culinary Subway Series.
His findings were long on ambition, but short on execution. A lobster roll at Citi Field is "a watery shipwreck," and a steak sandwich at Yankee Stadium was overcooked and soggy. Similar brickbats are hurled at a Mexican food concession in Queens and the Bronx's sushi concern, although Bruni found enough to keep him from wasting away at both stadiums.
His greatest complaint was one that fell on each stadium and is right in line with general criticism that's found both new parks to be fan unfriendly. Many of the new food offerings, Bruni argues, are too difficult to eat in your seats and there aren't enough places to set your food out to enjoy near the stands. That seems to run counter to the idea that the increased selection is really about more than finding newer ways to seperate fans from their money.
At any rate, the great ballpark cook-off came down to an item that, unlike those listed above, is familiar to those who have been to baseball games for a long time. The trusty cheeseburger has been outsourced at each stadium, and it seems that the Mets made a wiser choice when it came to signing their cleanup hitter.
The Yankees signed the nationally recognized Johnny Rockets and, per Bruni, were "rewarded with foil-wrapped, overheated, clumpy cheeseburgers that didn’t seem remotely fresh." The Mets stayed local and cast their lot with the Madison Square Park favorite Shake Shack. Their burgers are called "juicy, beefy and irresistable," which is enough to give them the victory.
Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.