You tell yourself “Go for the matches. Watch the pros play for Love” (of the game.)
But really – you stay for the food. Your heart belongs to the astonishing, varied menu at the US Open.
A sure sign summer is peaking is the heralding of The US Open – the United States Tennis Association (USTA) 15-day event, er, food marathon, that runs from Monday, August 26th through Monday, September 9th.
With 700,000 guests expected, it is billed as the world’s largest annual sporting event.
This is one HUGE dinner party. And luncheon. And breakfast. Nothing comes close to the amount of food and drink that will be prepared and consumed during the Open. 24/7!
There are so many over the top dining metrics to help explain the scale and scope and better way to wrap a foodie sensibility around the event.
In fact, the Food Fact sheet could be its own Trivial Pursuit game.
Try these fancy food metrics while impressing fellow foodies:
* US Open Executive Chef Jim Abbey will have a 250-person culinary team on-hand to prepare the cuisine across five restaurants, 60 concession stands and 100 suites. Toques off to Chef Abbey!
* The US Open will serve approximately 15,000 pounds of beef tenderloin and steaks, 7.5 tons of crab, shrimp and lobster, 400,000 individual berries, 225,000 hamburgers and hot dogs, 85,000 pounds of poultry, 12.5 tons of lettuces, 66,000 bananas, 35,000 pounds of tomatoes and 7,000 specialty tennis ball cookies
* The GREY GOOSE® Honey Deuce is the signature cocktail of the US Open, made with Grey Goose Vodka, lemonade and a touch of raspberry liqueur, topped with honeydew melon “tennis” balls. It’s served in a US Open souvenir cup with a complete list of past US Open winners. More than 180,000 melon balls are projected to be used this year.
Who counts the berries and the melon balls?
Seriously, feeding so many, with a dedication to the athletes’ health and nutrition, serving to what could readily be described as a good-sized city – in a sustainable way with gourmet gusto is nothing short of gastro-magic.
At the US Open Food Tasting preview, this Examiner got to sample more than a few mouth-watering menu items, with a focus on what is new.
See, Chef Jim Abbey not only manages a fleet of culinary professionals who create with pride and passion, they are competitive in a way not unlike the pros on the court. The chefs and their teams want to dazzle and impress. So the food has to be world-class delicious.
There is a reverence for the food and the ingredients. Why even the food displays are set up to showcase the food cum jewels on mini-altars.
If there is a theme this year, it is that more of the ingredients are sourced locally -- more than 40 percent of all produce is locally- sourced from the region.
Area farms include Eckerton Hill Farms, Latham Farms, Lynette Farms, Philips Mushroom Farms, Red Jacket Orchards and Satur Farms – a hands-down favorite and a featured grower AND chef in this Examiner’s book, The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook. Satur Farms is lovingly tended by chef Eberhard Müller and his gorgeous wife, Paulette Satur, who I had the privilege of dining with yesterday.
The US Open is also using locally sourced meat, seafood and poultry from Creekstone Farms, Murray’s Chicken and Gosman’s Fish Market in addition to sustainably raised Skuna Bay Craft Raised Salmon.
There is even a Farm to Fork dining location in the Food Village where guests can enjoy a menu created from locally sourced ingredients.
All these homegrown ingredients and artisanal food essentials are conjured into taste-tingling menu offerings by the likes of celebrity chefs David Burke at Champions Bar & Grill, Tony Mantuano at Wine Bar Food, and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto at ACES.
- ACES: Guests will enjoy a beautifully crafted sushi assortment by Chef Morimoto, along with grilled chicken sandwich with summer slaw, little neck clams, grilled chicken sandwich and Ahi tuna sandwich with apple-wood smoked bacon, arugula and avocado.
- Champions Bar & Grill: Guests will get their fill of upscale, classic American dining with signature items prepared by Chef Burke including his patented dry-aged bone-in ribeye steak and vegetarian-friendly grilled Portobello burger. The meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender and the accent of peppers is just right. The Portobello burger is more of a sandwich was almost refreshing – packed between the bread and glazed with a bbq sauce. Creamy and sinfully rich Burrata on crostini oozing with tiny rivers of pure olive oil with watermelon and asparagus tasted like more, more, more. And it just wouldn’t be a complete Chef Burke menu without his signature Cheesecake Lollipops – don’t miss these confectionary jewels. Also pairs up with a glass or two of Moet & Chandon Champagne – the official champagne of the Open again this year.
- Wine Bar Food: Chef Mantuano’s Wine Bar Food features Mediterranean small plates including new salumi antipasto parmigiano served with marinated artichokes, tomatoes and rosemary breadsticks, Flaming Ouzo shrimp with fresh baked bread.
Chef Burke tis back for a second year at the US Open. “It’s fun. It’s different and interesting,” he noted. “Plus, a lot of my clients come to the Open,” he added.
In a sort of pre-announcement, he also told this Examiner he officially got a patent on his dry-aging process.
This ever-creative culinary genius installed salt inside his walk-in refrigerator!
According to Chef Burke, his team will announce the patent news soon.
In the meantime, enjoy the delicious ribeye steak.
When queried about the closing of his Manhattan restaurant Canvas, Chef Morimoto waved away the notion of it closing as reported by The New York Times, saying rather it was merely be renovated and would reopen in due time.
Stay tuned here too.
His favorite sushi? The simple and fresh sushi or sashimi. He stresses the quality of his sushi creations.
His favorite for the Open is Shika Maki. He pointed out it looks like stained glass. It does. A too-beautiful-to-eat design.
Chef Mantuano’s Salumi Antipasto is terrific. The elements comprise a culinary composition worthy of a still life – except they are such tasty morsels they won’t be on the plate long enough to be painted. The marinated artichokes and tomatoes sit side- saddle with the rich and salty Parmigiano cheese. Perfect with a glass of his wine pairing at the Wine Bar Food.
There will be two new stands in the Food Village:
Hill Country BBQ: A New York restaurant that has made its Texas-style barbeque part of the Gotham landscape. Chef Elizabeth Karmel (with a surname like that candy or desserts had to be in her repertoire and indeed they are! But first, she claims the Texas Tenders so named because they are BIG are fried chicken brined skinless in buttermilk and herbs then hand-dipped in a crunchy, savory batter and served with their signature, homemade honey mustard dip.
Hill Country uses no processed or pasteurized ingredients. They hand carve every piece of meat, according to chef Karmel. Their classic, signature chopped brisket sandwich is pit-smoked turkey sandwich, with a peach chipotle sauce served with a pickle and was very tasty even if the pickle did overwhelm the bite-sized sandwich.
Hill Country and chef Karmel really kick it up a notch with their seasonal pie cups. Karmel claims they invented the three-inch pie three years ago hoping to displace the tiara off that venerable favorite, the cupcake.
Their pie has this Examiner’s vote.
The Cowboy Mud Pie is Karmel’s dream of what a cowboy would want for dessert – but city slickers will love it too: chock-full of texture, butterscotch, dark and milk chocolate, pecans, graham cracker, and coconut, she said “It’s like a candy bar in a cup!”
The Double Cherry Pie Cup is made with both Bing and sour Michigan cherries and a dark brown sugar streusel topping.
And if you’ve been wondering where all the Makers Mark is going and with limited supply of the famous bourbon, look no further than Hill Country’s Maker’s Mark Pecan Pie. The Texas Billionaire Pie is made with bittersweet chocolate, pecans mini marshmallows and salted caramel (see, there’s the link to chef Karmel and her destiny.) The pie “Is as rich as Texas Oil!” she smiled with glee
For a full list of Hill Country’s Pie Program:
Fresca Mexicana is the other new feature at the Food Village. It will serve up delicious Mexican fare, including cemita and a variety of authentic tortas. The Vegetable Tora sample was creative and delicious. Oodles of flavors and tastes: mushrooms, black beans, tomato, cilantro, chipotle aioli, pepitas with queso fresco – all on a tiny cracker!
Also New this year:
The new Oyster Bar is serving a variety of oysters – many are local from Long Island and the Peconic Bay; caviar, lobster rolls, and shrimp cocktail.
The new Village Market will be tossing fresh salads and hand-making sandwiches.
Mojito Restaurant & Bar
The popular Mojito Restaurant & Bar has been transformed for 2013 with a contemporary South Beach feel and expanded outdoor space, and will serve up a variety of new drinks and signature cocktails alongside its classic, legendary Latin fare. New to the menu is the Goat Cheese and Spicy Tomato Fundido; this delicious spread is served with toasted bread.
Housed on the outdoor upper level of the Food Village concessions stand located by court 17, this new gathering spot features three bars and a new menu.
East Gate Grill
At the East Plaza Grill meat-lovers will find beef from local Creekstone farms. New to the stand is the Pat LaFrieda Filet Mignon Steak Sandwich, a black angus seared filet mignon topped with Monterey jack cheese, sweet caramelized onions, au jus on a French baguette. It is out of this world delicious! The meat is so tender and the onions are sweet hitting just the right balance.
Moet & Chandon Champagne returns to the US Open this year at the official champagne. After all, it’s the preferred drink of champions.