Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tasting US Open 2013

For more years than I’ll admit, I have spent weeks at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships covering tennis. It’s one of my favorite times of year. I catch up players and friends from the media. I also get to sample tons of delicious food and drinks, a task that has become more prevalent since I’ve focused on lifestyle writing.

I got started this year at the U.S. Open Food Tasting Preview. It was enough to convince anyone to come to the tournament whether or not they wanted to see tennis and the tournament is ready. The restaurants are prepared to serve 27,000 people during the tournament.

The tasting included appearances by chefs David Burke, Tony Mantunao and Masaharu Morimoto. They showed off their signature dishes and also told us about what’s new this year.  Here’s what was sampled (my friends Melanie and Meredith took care of the seafood sampling for me) from each restaurant:

Wine Bar
Burrata Cheese on French bread-light, tasty and a perfect wine accompaniment.
Salumi Antipasto with marinated artichokes and tomatoes and rosemary breadsticks-a nice selection of flavors mixing perfectly on this small plate.

Village Market
Kale Salad with yellow and green beans, tomato, carrots and cucumber in honey Dijon vinaigrette-fresh and light for a hot day at the National Tennis Center, but not very filling without added chicken.

Patio Café
Curried Crab and Watermelon Salad on a bed of baby lettuces with a curry aioli-large clumps of crab meat and sweet watermelon is a perfect match.

Hill Country Barbecue
Signature Brisket, pit-smoked over Texas oak-tender and tasty.
Pulled Pork Slider-one of the best I’ve had.
Maker’s Mark Bourbon Pecan Pie-save room for this one. Too bad they don’t make a full pie to go!

East Gage Grill
Pat Lafrieda Steak Sandwich topped with Monterey Jack cheese, caramelized onions and au jus on a French baguette-rare filet mignon with a bit of tangy sweetness.

Champions Bar & Grill
Grilled Portobello Burger stuffed with ratatouille, low-fat mozzarella and roasted pepper and served with chipotle mayo on brioche-an excellent combination that will be calling more than just vegetarians to the restaurant.

Morimoto Sushi-a selection of fish and vegetarian sushi that gets rave reviews.

Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche-large shrimp in a nice presentation, but not one of the top choices.

Even the Players Dining is getting an upgrade this year.  They have added gluten-free sandwiches; a Juice, Smoothie and Espresso Bar; and a Chocolate Milk Bar. I’m looking forward to sampling some of those offerings.

Grey Goose was on hand to sample their Signature Cocktail, the Honey Deuce, during the meal and then we went down to the Moet & Chandon Terrace, where I greeted some of my friends from Moet who I was at America’s Cup with and enjoyed some of their great bubbly.

In addition to the Grey Goose and Moet champagne bars, the U.S. Open also has a Wine Bar (which offers food pairings) and the Heineken Red Star Café.

While I enjoyed trying everything new and will certainly seek some of these dishes out over the next week or so, I am happy to say some of my U.S. Open “staples” are back, including the Caprese Panini in the South Plaza, the Potato Knish from the Glatt Kosher Cart and, of course, the Chocolate Peanut Butter from the Ben & Jerry’s, where they also have a great variety of low calorie smoothies to keep me cool in the hot sun. Then again, you can never go wrong with the Classic Burger and Waffle Fries. 

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