Into the league of Dodger dogs and Brewer brats comes Yankee steak.
You were expecting chop meat?
The new Yankee Stadium, grand and grandiose, basically has a two-tier menu of food choices. You can stick with peanuts ($5) and Cracker Jack ($5.75); go whole hog with barbecue or nibble on sushi; dive into ahi tuna or prime beef.
And a cast of star chefs is expected to perform at the ballpark this season.
But not in the stands.
So in this monument to Ruth and Mantle, you can eat like A-Rod or Melky, CC or Edwar. On Friday, I did both.
1. Holy cow!
NYY Steak is the DiMaggio of ballpark dining rooms. Stylish and smooth, polished and sporting views of the No. 4 train and Great Hall, it's immediately the best restaurant in the Bronx - and also one of the borough's priciest. But 126 diners do get pretzel-bagels with olive tapenade to start. Big hits: the chopped steak ($23.75) as perfect as Don Larsen; and juicy, dry-aged, 24-ounce "long bone ribeye" ($47.75), about as large as a badminton racket. Desserts include a Yoo Hoo float ($8) to make Yogi smile; and a clever watermelon Jolly Rancher panna cotta ($8). One day, they'll retire executive chef Jason Tilmann's number.
Meantime, each plate honors a beloved Yankee. Toast the spot with everything from Aquebogue's 2007 Palmer Sauvignon Blanc ($26) to Epernay's 1998 Dom Perignon Rose Champagne ($700). Open to all from 11 a.m.; closed only on Sundays when there's no game.
2. We will, we will rock you!
Situated below NYY Steak, the Hard Rock Cafe raises the decibels and lowers the prices. It's fun, as usual, loaded with music memorabilia and burgers ($15), both good. The "twisted mac, chicken and cheese" ($18.50) and "classic swings" ($10.95) stand out like those consistent Torre teams. Also, open to everyone, from 10 a.m. for day games.
3. The big apple
For the healthiest stuff, look for the Farmers Market, offering navel oranges ($1.50), "tropical bananas" ($1.50), cut fruit ($5.50) and Poland Spring water ($5). Elsewhere: a plastic-encased Big Apple Candy Apple ($5), straight from Clifton, N.J., in the hue of FD&C Red No. 40.
4. It is high, it is far, it is ...
Really good. That's Brother Jimmy's BBQ. Go for the tangy, vinegary Carolina pulled pork ($10) and the hush puppies ($8). Snappy sauce keeps the barbecued brisket ($10) from a pickoff move. Try this with Beck's beer ($11).
An original shake ($7) is the beverage of choice at Johnny Rockets, which takes off with a dripping "Rocket single" burger ($9) and onion rings ($6).
5. Hot dog!
The Nathan's beef frank ($6) at the field-level food court beats the corn dog ($4) and shuts out the minor-league cheeseburger ($7.50). The top dog is the Hebrew National ($5.50), the Tommy Henrich of franks, at the Highlanders stand in rightfield. Bazzini peanuts ($5), Twizzlers ($4.75) and M&Ms ($4.75) here, too.
Mike's Deli returns. The Arthur Avenue mainstay has a tasty eggplant parmigiana hero ($10.75) and "da true Bronx tale" sandwich ($10), unfortunately pre-packaged and limp, starring mortadella and provolone. Have a feast with an order of chewy zeppole ($6). Nearby, Boar's Head The Deli warms things up with chicken noodle soup ($5) and pastrami on rye ($12).
How about that?
Otis Spunkmeyer cookies are $4 - each. Add $1.50 for a Carvel waffle cone; $1.50 for the helmet cup.
6. Using their noodle
The pan-fried chicken noodle bowl ($8.50) anchors the field-level Asian noodle menu. The tofu noodle bowl ($8.50) trails by more than the '08 Mariners.
And the dumplings ($4) go down harder than a bloop by Luis Gonzalez.
7. Raw deal
The sushi stand, near third base and leftfield, comes up with the "Bronx roll" ($15), a spicy tuna-and-avocado combo; and a sushi sampler ($15), each of which can be washed down with sake ($9) in case you've had enough Budweiser ($10 with a souvenir cup) and Coors Light ($9, unadorned) or aren't ready for the sweet fresh lemonade ($5.25). Edamame ($4), anyone?
8. Come play ... ball?
The Mohegan Sun Sports Bar in centerfield isn't for everybody. You need special tickets and have to be in the mood for the crowded, high-octane venue. To balance the booze: Lobel's Wagyu burger ($24), ahi tuna Nicoise ($18), marinated lobster sushi wrap ($27) and Yankee cheese-stuffed mini-burgers ($16). Bass ($11) and Brooklyn Lager ($11) are on draft. And a root beer float ($8) slips in like Rickey Henderson. The Bleachers Cafe, above Mohegan Sun, has more traditional ballpark food and a more modest tab.
9. The suite life
Access to the Legends Suite Club is part of the package for those who've purchased the ballpark's deluxe seats. Sleek and stylized, with tablecloths and photos of Yankees greats, it's a showcase for fare that includes marinated hanger steak, crab cakes, and beefed-up hot dogs served on pumpernickel buns, one of bakery's worth of artisanal breads.
10. The Giants win the pennant ... and the fries
It's easy to find the stand for the stadium's garlic fries ($6 small; $9 large). Just follow your nose. But these aromatic spuds are no MVP. The Most Valuable Potato still is in San Francisco.
La Esquina Latina has Cubano sandwiches ($9.75), which are labeled panini. Next door, Moe's Southwest Grill could ensure a long night with its "homewrecker burrito" ($9) and nachos ($9).
Steak out, called strikes
Carl's Philly cheesesteaks ($10.75) are tougher to swallow than Bill Mazeroski's homer. La Famiglia's pizza slices ($5) are soft and bland, like the new stadium's cotton candy ($4.50), or the 1965-75 won-lost record.