By Merle Exit
The scene at Arthur Ashe Stadium’s Aces restaurant was a culinary delight as the US Open’s culinary partner displayed the array of food offerings tennis fans can nosh on at this year’s event.
From grilled steak tacos doused in chipotle sauce and tomatoes to dark chocolate and butterscotch pie to organic kale salad with pine nuts, there is something for everyone’s taste at the Open.
“We work all year long trying to bring our game up higher because we have guests from all over the world,” said Jim Abbey, regional executive chef for Levy Restaurants, which serves as the USTA’s food service provider. “The players come from all over the world as do the fans so we try to have an experience for them each and every day.”
Dining options range from a sit-down meal to food court-like Food Village and even includes the first food truck to make an appearance at the US Open.
“Morris Grilled Cheese Truck will be located on the premises at Court 17, featuring a sandwich with truffle cheese, truffle butter and caramelized onions and shallots,” said Abbey.
Grilled cheese sandwiches range in price from $10 for the classic up to $13 for one made with truffle cheese.
Other choices this year include Pat LaFrieda Meat Co. with its filet mignon sandwich, meatball hero and Italian sausage hoagie ($10 to $15), Liberty Pier Seafood Co.’s $17.50 lobster roll, the Carnegie Deli’s sky-high pastrami sandwich and Mexican food from Manhattan’s Maya.
Chef Richard Sandoval, who was once a professional tennis players, brings his brand of Mexican comfort food, including tacos and street-style corn. Maya choices will set you back $6 to $15.
But plenty of old favorites will be making a return visit to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
“This is year three and I’m happy to be back,” said Chef David Burke of Champions Bar & Grill. “One thing that we had added this year is the hanging bacon, candied bacon with black pepper and a maple glaze.”
Nearly all of Champions dishes are coming from local sources, and include appetizers, salads and soup. One not so local offering will be the Kobe beef surf and turf.
TV Food Network’s Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, who showcases his famous hand-crafted sushi at Aces, kept his presentation short and sweet.
“I have sushi. Nothing new,” said Morimoto. “This sushi is the freshest you can get.”
Sushi bar entrées start at $19.
When pressed, he did acknowledge a couple of additions to the seafood menu: Montauk wild striped sea bass and sweet garlic-lime shrimp.
Chef Tony Mantuano, from Bravo TV’s “Top Chef Masters,” has the Mediterranean flavors covered at the Wine Bar.
“We’re back with some of our dishes such as my famous flaming ouzo shrimp and local Brooklyn Salzarula family hand-crafted whole (Italian cheese) burrata,” said Mantuano.
There will be plenty of beverage options to wash it all down.
Sip champagne on the Moët & Chandon Terrace, down a few brews at the Heineken House bar, located above the Food Village, or go old-school with a grown-up drink at Baseline Cocktails.
Or you can settle in at the Grey Goose Bar and sip one of the US Open’s signature cocktails the honey deuce. This concoction of vodka, lemonade and a touch of raspberry liqueur is topped with melon tennis balls and served in a commemorative glass all for $15.
And, if for some reason, none of this sounds appealing, no worries.
You can head to the Food Village and chow down at Hill Country Barbecue, Prime Burger, Franks & Fries or Plazza Centro Pizza & Pasta. Food Village prices range from $6 to $15 per item.
Then when you are finished, treat yourself to a heaping serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream or a Cowboy Pie Cup — dark chocolate, pecans and butterscotch — at Hill Country Barbecue for $6.50.