62° Good Afternoon
62° Good Afternoon

A taste of Citi Field

Citi Field's home plate is full.

From pulled pork to sushi, Belgian-style fries to Nathan's crinkle cuts, tacos to cannoli and, of course, peanuts to Cracker Jack, it's all here.

Hot dogs, too.

My daughter Teresa and I ate our way from left to right, field level to upper deck, in the stands and at enough indoor dining areas to cause more agita than late innings in 2008.

The Delta Sky 360 Club, expected to be one of the fancier venues for a beverage and a bite, wasn't completed when we dined there. And the Sterling Club, a premium-seat establishment behind the plate, was closed. Likewise, Ebbets Club, a more modestly priced lounge.

You'll find a lot of hits, some homers, a few errors. So far, this is the lineup and the score.

1. Deep to right! It's outta here!

Meaning that juicy, smoky pulled-pork sandwich on a brioche bun ($9) at Blue Smoke, in essential "Taste of the City" section beyond the rightfield seats. Wash it down with Brooklyn Brewery's Blue Smoke Original Ale ($7.50).

For the season opener, expect to find more choices. Look for the skyline silhouette that crowned Shea's scoreboard.

2. Lined to right-center ... big hit ...

Shake Shack, the summertime magnet in Manhattan's Madison Square Park and at a Columbus Avenue offspring, adjoins Blue Smoke, in restaurateur Danny Meyer's snappy, slick double play. And the line is still long. Have your burger here. The Shake Shack single ($5.75) is the ballpark's best. So's the "New York dog" ($5) a hot dog worthy of Rickey Henderson. Shakes ($6.50) and frozen custard ($5.25) are reason to return.

3. Hot corner

El Verano Taqueria, also in right, delivers with sharp grilled chicken and grilled beef tacos ($7.25). Batting next: Box Fries, a clutch hitter for fresh-cut, crisp fries ($6 small; $7.50 big), hotter than David Wright on a streak. Try them with a "frites sauce" ($1).

4. Strikeout

Grilled sausages come out of leftfield, hot or sweet ($7.25), from the cleverly named Grilled Sausage stands. The hot goes down swinging; the sweet, looking, each under a pitcher's mound of peppers and onions. More smoke than Johan Santana's fastball, and an aroma more bitter than the Septembers of 2007 and '08. Sideshow: Watch the guy clean the blackened grill with a bucket of ice cubes before scraping away residue.

5. No salary cap

Down the leftfield line, behind windows-on-the-field, Acela speeds in - a five-tier, deluxe dining room with cushy seats that make Shea's Diamond Club seem like cubic zirconia. Yesterday, it hosted a St. John's party, with good ballpark food. Coming up: an American grill, backed up by soups and salads, artisanal; cheeses, and a wood-burning oven. Tab: two-course meals in the $40-$55 range.

6. Forum of the Caesar's

Caesar's Club has lounge seating and tables for a safety-squeeze Nathan's hot dog ($5.75) and a groundout, dry "Brooklyn burger" ($8.75). Nathan's fries ($4.75) are like a sacrifice bunt: gets it done but at a price. Fisher's dry roasted salted-in-shell peanuts (a mouthful, $4.75) and Cracker Jack ($4.75) are the clutch hitters. For the mourners, you can see the spot where Shea Stadium once stood via the windows at Caesar's.

7. Roaming the outfield

Going stand to stand, concession to concession, you'll get a clean hit with the Nathan's foot-long hot dog ($6.50) or the basic "World Famous" frank ($4.75), and the familiar Mets' helmet cup of Carvel ice cream ($6; minus the helmet, in basic cup, $3.75). The hot chocolate ($3) is as watery as the infield tarp. From the deli stand, the roast beef sandwich ($9.50) gets to first. So does a slice of the just-cheese pizza ($5.75), in the Cascarino's box. But the pepperoni slice ($6) fouls out.

8. Finding the sweet spot

It's Mama's of Corona, located in the World's Fare Market. Very good cannoli ($3), in a crisp shell, with respectable cream and, yes, orange and blue sprinkles. What more do you want?

They have a Mets park's biggest hero since Todd Pratt, layered with cold cuts and mozzarella ($9.75). The limp black-and-white cookie is as out of place as a Phillies fan.

9. Switch hitters

World's Fare Market sparks a rally with "Texas chili" ($4.75) that could evoke a memory of Nolan Ryan if it had enough heat. The drag-bunt chicken pot pie ($4.75) won't ignite a rally and the pop-fly chicken quesadilla ($8.50) could kill one. Sushi from Great Neck's Daruma of Tokyo ($9 to $14.50) smacks a few singles, led by the tuna-and-avocado roll.

10. In the stands

The steamy hot dog ($4.75) could revive the gashouse gang. The beer choices yesterday were Budweiser and Bud Light ($6). "Premium beer" ($6.75) is also available. You could get peanuts and Cracker Jack (still $4.75).

11. Next homestand

Montauk mavens should be able to sample a lobster roll ($17) and Big Easy appetites a grilled shrimp po' boy sandwich ($12.75). Also: Long Island clam-and-corn chowder ($4.75). And, for anyone who has enjoyed a game at the Giants park in San Francisco - garlic fries ($4.75).


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