They are known as the “Amazin” Mets. It’s a nickname used for both victories and losses throughout the team’s history. An adjective so predictably applied that as a writer with a bend toward food, I could easily use it to describe the culinary hits at Citi Field for the team’s 2017 season—it’s a hanging slider just begging to be smacked into the cheap seats.
With a lineup featuring the likes of oversized mozzarella sticks, pork belly sliders and the best damn fried chicken sandwich anywhere, I am not going to waste such an opportunity but I will add my own qualifier to the Mets’ moniker.
The food at Citi Field for the 2017 season is freaking amazin’.
Food writing brings many perks, not the least of which is a yearly invitation to check out new and returning snacks at Citi Field. It is a day I always circle on my calendar as the morning when I eat only a banana or granola bar for breakfast. If previous tours have taught me anything, it’s that one needs to prepare as if pitching a game seven.
When team officials pulled back the curtain leading to the dining area, it was immediately apparent that this first exclusive taste would lead to many in-game trips to the concession stands.
Without thinking twice, my first stop was Fuku’s spicy chicken sandwich, a habanero-brined, de-boned slab of fried chicken sandwiched with pickles, Fuku butter and a side of ssäm sauce, an umami-rich and tangy chili sauce. This is a true destination sandwich—it’s juicy with a hot kick. It’s an edible expletive and so good that I had to grab one for the road when I left the food tour. An outpost of chef David Chang’s venerable Momofuku, Citi Field’s Fuku also serves chicken fingers, fries and Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar cookies.
Big Mozz, a Brooklyn-born veteran of Williamsburg and Prospect Park Smorgasburgs and new to the stadium in 2017, now brings their thickly-coated cheese sticks and homemade sauces to mouths of the Mets faithful. Seriously, these are superb, big league mozzarella sticks, with each about twice the size of standard appetizer grub. The heavily seasoned coating only complements the creamy, gooey, handmade cheese within—and it’s made even better with Big Mozz’s proprietary marinara, pesto and chipotle dipping sauces.
Another new addition to Citi Field in 2017, New York City-favorite Baohaus calls up its signature Taiwanese-Chinese pork belly bun, Chairman Bao, to the pros. As soon as I saw the restaurant’s signage, I was clamoring for the braised Berkshire pork belly, served with Baohaus’ own relish, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar and cilantro on a steamed bun that fits neatly into the palm of the eater’s hand. The glossy pork belly has hints of caramel amid the expected salty fattiness, while the bun—which, in a happy accident, resembles a catcher’s mitt—is soft and semi-sticky.
Acclaimed New York City chef Josh Capon returns to Citi Field in 2017, this time with his Bash Burger—a Pat LaFrieda patty with caramelized onion and bacon jam, shaved pickles, American cheese and secret sauce. This juicy belly bomb seems front loaded with robust flavors, but they all work together to give the stadium’s other burger purveyor—Shake Shack—a run for their money. And if you order the two-patty Double Barrel burger, you’ll be sufficiently satiated should the game go to extra innings.
When I was finished lumbering through the food tour, it was time for dessert. Another rookie at the stadium this year is DŌ, a groundbreaking city establishment that sells edible cookie dough with chocolate chips, in cake batter form and in the sugar cookie variety. Aside from the soft-serve sold in mini-baseball caps, the decadent treat is the new go-to stadium dessert—and judging by the rabid media members around DŌ’s, table, prepare to wait in long game-day lines for a taste.
This is barely a glimpse into what awaits eaters at Citi Field this season—there’s also risotto balls, loaded seafood fries, wood-fired pizza, tacos, along with craft beer and a new Jim Beam Bourbon Bar. The Mets have 81 home games this year—that’s 81 chances to go beyond hot dogs and peanuts at the ballpark.