Scoring the food at new Yankee Stadium

Brother Jimmy's southern barbecueyankees popcornnathans frankThe purpose of my visit to the new Yankee Stadium had little to do with a baseball game. I was there to survey the food options and rate perhaps a dozen of them. I thought this would be a valuable service for fans who didn’t wish to subject their bodies to the very abuse I was prepared to endure in my role as self-sacrificing food critic.

The plan unravelled. For starters, the Yankee fans were feeding like ducks at a foie gras farm, only their indiscriminate gorging was voluntary. They were relishing the very abuse from which I was hoping to spare them. But ultimately it was the numbers posted on the blue menu boards that threw me off course.

The food concessionaires at Yankee Stadium are bound by a regulation of the New York City health department requiring restaurants with 15 or more outlets to list calorie counts for all the foods and drinks they sell. But a law intended to help combat obesity was having the opposite effect on me.

menu lobels
menu fan favorites kids dogLooking at the menu for the Japanese food stand called Soy Kitchen, I saw that the 160-calorie veggie (sushi) roll was priced at $9.75. That’s about 6 cents per calorie. By way of comparison, at the hot dog and hamburger stand called Fan Favorites, the 1,341-calorie portion of Nathan’s cheese fries was priced at $7.25 – about 1/2 penny per calorie. Clearly the cheese fries were a much better value, calorie for a calorie, than the veggie roll. And no single item anywhere in the stadium was more exorbitant than Poland spring water: $5 for zero calories. Positively criminal – I’ll never splurge for bottled water at a baseball game again!

In the end I did sample 7 or 8 food items. The sliders (mini-burgers), chicken barbecue sandwich and the Philly cheesesteak were dismal. The franks, though carrying the once vaunted Nathan’s name, were disappointing. No snap. No juice. The garlic fries were pretty good. The single best item was the hand-carved steak sandwich from the fine Manhattan butcher Lobel’s.
lobelslobels butcher

Lobel’s has installed a windowed reproduction of its Madison Avenue butcher shop on the stadium’s field-level concourse. You can see what the USDA dry-aged strip looks like before the marbled steaks are trimmed, grilled and carved. It’s a darn good sandwich, despite the ordinary roll atop which the tender yet firm slices of juice-dripping strip steak are layered. And though $15 may sound like a lot for a sandwich, it amounts to a measly 3 cents for every succulent calorie.steak carversteak sandwich

About Daniel

Food critic and events leader Daniel Young is the "Young" behind young&foodish

Comments

  1. Robert says:

    Great idea, unit price review per calorie. Anywhere to try this steak sandwich if you don’t like baseball? Nice graphics and pictures, and lovely to have a Y & F review on this side of the Atlantic.

  2. Dan says:

    Thanks, Roberto. Unfortunately, Lobel’s does not sell its steak sandwiches anywhere outside of Yankee Stadium. Your only option is to buy their steaks and grill them at home (). At least that way you get to choose your own bread.

  3. Jo Jordan says:

    While I waited for my computer to do something, I put the calories and prices into a spread sheet.

    Seems to be three straight lines.

    Bottom – coke and chips, kids portions (0.5 to 1 cent per calorie) (5 to 10 dollars a day)

    Middle – meat only, meat & fries (0.9 to 1.8 cents per calorie)(20-30 dollars a day)

    Top – steak sandwich. (3.0 to 3.8 cents per calorie if you count iced tea) (60 dollars a day)

    Sums up the whole problem I think – would be interesting to do that for here for home food, work food, entertainment food, etc.

    Jo Jordan.

  4. Dan says:

    The numbers do not lie, Jo.

    Although I am indirectly poking fun here at New York’s calorie-labeling policy, early studies show that this practice is driving eaters to choose lighter items. According to Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, New York researchers “shared unpublished numbers with the County of Los Angeles Public Health Department, which was preparing an analysis in case Los Angeles wanted to follow New York’s lead. Based on those numbers, Los Angeles researchers settled on a conservative estimate: 10 percent of chain restaurant patrons would order meals that were merely 100 calories lighter.”

    “Surprisingly,” Klein concluded, “that mild change in behavior has a huge and immediate effect: It would avert 38.9 percent of the county’s expected weight gain in the next year. If 20 percent of patrons order meals with 150 fewer calories, it would avert 116 percent of the expected weight gain, which is to say that the County of Los Angeles would actually lose weight.” (see full article here)

  5. mei says:

    hi dan, we met a few weeks ago at the BPR summit in london. just stumbled across this while writing about the amazing food i just found at a dutch hockey stadium. fresh fruit cups, vegetable stirfry, fresh baked cakes…quite a long way from buffalo chicken sliders and cheese fries!

    hope to see you around in london again soon!

    –mei

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