I was invited to a New York Mets game last week, and decided to try Citi Field’s sit-down restaurant, the Acela Club.
There’s high-powered talent behind the Acela Club: restaurateur Drew Nieporent and chef Michael Sobelman, who formerly worked at Nieporent’s Tribeca Grill. Their menu is predictably tame but well executed. For $48, you get a bountiful buffet spread of salads, antipasti, panini, cheeses, cured meats, etc., and an entrée. It doesn’t include dessert.
An appetizer buffet always brings the temptation to overdo it. There’s a much-heralded macaroni with white cheddar and pancetta, but it wasn’t quite as warm as it should be. Luscious asparagus, and a bit of prosciutto and salami, rounded out the first course.
There’s a curiously wide range of choices for the entrée, ranging from a burger to a spit-roasted chicken, all for the same fixed price. That the only steak is a filet ($5 supplement) is distinctly odd. I would expect a ribeye or a New York strip to sell briskly in this setting. Both of us had the short rib, braised forever, served on the bone with barbecue sauce. It’s an uncomplicated dish, executed competently.
By the standards of stadium dining, the Acela Club is a beautiful space. In the main dining room, the tables are large and comfortable. For $10 extra per head, you can sit in the premium section, with unobstructed views of the field. It’s well worth it, bearing in mind that you’re already in for at least $48. Aside from an outdoor terrace, which it was too chilly to use, the tables are behind a thick glass wall, which doesn’t admit much sound from the field. It’s easy to get lost in conversation, and forget that a game is in progress. Given the Mets’ poor play this season, maybe that’s a good thing.
Our reservation was at 6:15 p.m., an hour before game time. We were quoted a two-hour time limit, but that was apparently a bluff: there were other tables empty, and an 8:15 seating never materialized, so we stayed for the whole game.
The food at the Acela Club, if it were served in Manhattan, would be inconsequential. At Citi Field, it feels just about right, and you can’t beat the view. Now all it needs is a winning team.
The Acela Club at Citi Field