For Met fans like myself, it has been a long, frustrating and downright unbelievable summer. With an astounding number of injuries decimating essentially all of their best players for most of the season, it is no wonder that they have lost more than they won. With high hopes and a brand new stadium entering the season, the disappointment has been particularly bitter. Despite their travails and the fact that I had been to the stadium at the end of March for a culinary preview, I still wanted to get to a game and so did my son. This past Sunday was our opportunity as we were down in the Metropolitan area over the weekend.
The one bright spot of the Mets woes was that tickets could be had for a fraction of their face value. The evening before the game I managed to get two tickets through Stub Hub just below the SNY broadcast booth for less than half of their face value including a ticket for parking. It also happened to be Francisco Rodriguez bobblehead day as well as a Dyno Dash at the end of the game!
Mets GM Omar Minaya watched the game from the booth right behind us.
It turned out that our luck did not stop with the favorable ticket price or the bobbleheads. We actually picked one of the most satisfying games of the year as the Mets took care of their old rival Chicago Cubs (I'm dating myself here) with a 4-2 victory on a day with mostly perfect weather. Other than the Met victory, the best part, though was being able to take advantage of some of the special dining options of the stadium. Our tickets enabled us access to both the Caesar's Club (very convenient bathrooms and concessions) and the Acela Club, the restaurant run by Drew Nieporent's Myriad Restaurant Group along with Aramark.
The glassed in Acela Club as seen from our seats.
I managed to snag a reservation for one of the outside tables overlooking the action. Looking forward to a four hour drive home after the game, we opted for a late lunch/early dinner and meandered over from our seats during the 5th inning. Much like the Patron's Club at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the restaurant provides a buffet followed by a main course. The price of the all-you can-eat buffet plus main course was a reasonable $41 (of course, when one considers the cost of a ticket to the game that allows access to the restaurant, the overall tariff becomes somewhat less reasonable). That they offered a children's menu for my son that included the buffet for $21 made the situation better yet. I generally don't like children's menus because they tend to dumb things down and play to the lowest common denominator, but in this case, my son was still able to have his clams and mussels as well as a decent pasta dish and I was able to save $20+.
For a buffet, the food was quite good, but wary of gorging myself, I limited my selection to same tasty Spanish style clams and mussels in a saffron/ chorizo broth and mozzarella di bufala with tomatoes and basil. The clams and mussels were flavorful, but somewhat overdone. My main course, crab cakes however, were superb, full of tasty crab, Old Bay and served with cauliflower in a mildly spicy tomato sauce. These were, in fact, some of the finest crab cakes I have had in some time.
Clams and Mussels with Chorizo
To be able to indulge in food like that while watching my favorite team, brought a previously unassociated pleasure to watching a baseball game. To sit at the stadium and watch the game while dining very well was simply something that I could never have previously conceived of!
We made our way back to our original seats to watch our bobblehead of the day hero, Francisco Rodriguez, get the final out and earn the save.
Fortunately for my son and I, our day at Citi Field was the antithesis of the Mets season. For one day, at least, we were able to watch, cheer and eat without indigestion. I look forward to returning next season, hopefully with a brighter outlook and a chance to sample some of the fare from Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group.