One of the primary points of spending billions of dollars to erect new stadiums is, of course, the ability to prepare and sell more interesting, varied and expensive food in ever larger, more comfortable venues.
New Meadowlands Stadium is no exception, so as a public service in advance of its first football game Monday, I recently attended a taste testing.
While there I spoke to executive chef Eric Borgia after noshing on one of his prized offerings: Nonna Fusco’s Meatball Sub, a tribute to his maternal grandmother’s dish.
It was just right, something my own grandmother might have made, if she were Italian instead of a Polish Jew, that is, and thus open to including pork and cheese.
Borgia admitted to fiddling with Nonna’s ratios of beef, veal, pork and other elements in order to avoid the balls breaking apart amid the strains of mass cooking and serving.
“She never had to make them for 80,000 people,’’ he said.
NMS CEO Mark Lamping said the food offerings are meant both to reflect the New York area and to reflect the culture of football.
Borgia said the goal is to have the food “smell and taste like [a fan’s] house smells on an NFL Sunday.’’
In addition to the meatballs, my favorites from the foods available throughout the stadium included the red bean chili, which offered a good balance of beans and meat.
My least favorites were the weird, overly lean pastrami and way-too-salty pulled pork.
The highlight on the menu available only in suites and clubs was the Buffalo Mac and Cheese, a rich, tasty mishmash of three types of cheese, roasted chicken, hot sauce, milk, heavy cream and bread crumbs.
Eat your heart out, Anchor Bar.
The prices of all this are what you would expect: the usual pro sports stadium petit larceny.
For all of Borgia’s work in giving the menu both quirks and quality, he knows what many fans ultimately will remember, for better or worse.
“Out of all the food we have prepared for you here today, the bottom line is we’re going to get judged on our hot dog,’’ he said.
I had one from the Nathan's cart. I liked it!