2014 Super Bowl Party Takeout Food Power Rankings
The Meatball Shop: Bucket O' Balls.
As the New York/New Jersey region prepares to host the first ever outdoor cold-weather Super Bowl, many of those who have opted to forgo the trip to MetLife Stadium likely find themselves either attempting to figure out where they'll be watching the game or attempting to figure out what they'll be serving for the game. If you find yourself in the latter category, it is a double-edged sword: You're fortunate to reside in a city where a diverse range of eager merchants are prepared to do all the work, but you may simultaneously be paralyzed by the plethora of options.
To be of service -- and as a nod to the list-loving internet going public -- Fork in the Road presents the Super Bowl Party Takeout Food Power Rankings. The criteria for the Power Rankings are clearly not scientific, yet couched in the pseudo-logic of practical considerations.
- Completeness: The party spread should be complete, beginning to end. A common rookie mistake is to have a selection of foods that start strong, but lose steam by the end of the game: the Kansas City Chiefs of meals.
- Versatility: The selection should complement the beverages that will be served, most prominently beer. The Super Bowl consistently precedes a day of extremely high rates of workplace absenteeism.
- Cleanliness: On the subject of hangovers, cleaning up after a party can be a dismal experience. The ideal foods should be hygienically shareable and not an arduous cleanup task.
- Novelty: The game within the game. The selection should be interesting enough to be notable for the next year, yet not so exotic so as to scare off guests.
- Durability: Order too little, and Domino's may get the call at halftime. Order too much, and there will be leftovers. Depending on when the food arrives and when the festivities begin, the consumables may be deemed leftovers by the third quarter.
With these considerations in mind, the rankings:
Wildcards 13. Potatopia, 378 Sixth Avenue; 212-260-4100 Offer: Half and full party trays (serves 5-7, 10-14) of potatoes in various forms: smashed, mashed (with vegetables), au gratin, and others. Strengths: If potatoes are a must, this is ideal. Weaknesses: If potatoes are not a must, this is not ideal. Deadline: Unknown.
12. Bantam Bagels, 283 Bleecker Street; 646-852-6320 Offer: Tailgate Box featuring three flavors: Hot Pretzel (salt bagel filled with cheddar dijon), Bleecker Street (pizza dough bagel with pepperoni and mozzarella), and Buffalo (celery carrot bagel filled with buffalo chicken blue cheese cream cheese). Strengths: Challenging flavors in a clean, manageable package. Weaknesses: Not a star, but a solid role player. Deadline: Unknown.
11. Breads Bakery, 18 East 16th Street, 212-633-2253 Offer: Baked platters, bureka platters, and a variety of dips and spreads. Strengths: Baked goods pair well with beer. Weaknesses: Not a very friendly scenario for the carb conscious. Deadline: Unknown.
10. The Meatball Shop, multiple locations Offer: "Bucket O' Balls", 25 meatballs paired with a sauce selection for $45. Strengths: With five locations and a generous takeout window, this offering provides a great deal of flexibility. Weaknesses: Man cannot live on balls alone. Deadline: Available from January 31 to February 4; pickup only.
9. A.G. Kitchen, 269 Columbus Avenue, 212-873-9400 Offer: Six-foot Cubano sandwich with roast pork, black forest ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and spicy mustard. Strengths: It is a six-foot Cubano. Weaknesses: The single offering is an all-or-nothing proposition. Deadline: Unknown.
Contenders and the champion on the next page.
Mayhem & Stout: short rib sandwich.
Contenders 8. Carmine's, 2450 Broadway, 212-362-2200; 200 West 44th Street, 212-221-3800 Offer: Trays of meatballs, eggplant parm, lasagna, and hero sandwiches. Strengths: An established New York name can be at your party. Weaknesses: The offerings are all on the heavy side. Deadline: Unknown.
7. The Nugget Spot, 230 East 14th Street 646-422-7346 Offer: Starting at $85 (serves 5-6), The Nugget Spot offers a bucket of nuggets, a selection of sauces, fries, nacho mac and cheese, and "A Sweet Surprise." Strengths: The novelty factor is strong, as nuggets are not a run-of-the-mill item and surprises provide plenty of potential. Weaknesses: There is no explicit mention of any vegetable that hasn't been fried. Deadline: January 31; pickup only.
6. Num Pang, 1129 Broadway, 212-647-8886 Offer: For $125, you get "Super Pang", a three foot sub (serves 10-12) packed with exotic fillings and a side of Cambodian slaw. Options include five-spice pork belly, pulled Duroc pork, ginger barbecue brisket, peppercorn catfish, roasted cauliflower, hoisin veal meatballs, and grilled hangar steak (+$25). Strengths: Exotic, inventive flavors. Weaknesses: It is an all or nothing proposition -- and unless you're ordering the cauliflower, you'll be leaving vegetarian pigskin lovers out in the cold, presumably consuming cole slaw. Deadline: January 31; pickup only.
5. DBGB Kitchen and Bar, 299 Bowery, 212-933-5300 Offer: Full menu of burgers, sausages, dips, wings, lamb ribs, and even a whole pig. Strengths: Large range of offerings, extravagant in nature. Weaknesses: The expense could be rather prohibitive for most. Deadline: Unknown; pickup only.
4. Hill Country Barbecue Market, 30 West 26th Street; 212-255-4544 Offer: A selection of barbecue, chili wings, sandwiches, tacos, hot links, mac and cheese, chips and queso, and PBR. Strengths: Well-prepared barbecue in a vast array of forms offered in a highly-customizable format. Weaknesses: Only the chips and beer don't contain meat. Deadline: January 31 at noon; pickup and delivery.
3. Martha, 184 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-596-4147 Offer: Starting at $210 (serves 4-6), the package includes fried chicken, pork ribs, brussels sprouts, Chinese broccoli, custard pie, and a six-pack. Strengths: A complete meal with a diverse range of flavors. Weaknesses: The meal is priced in a restrictive range and the pickup window is restrictive. Deadline: February 1 at 6 p.m.; pickup only on February 2 between 3 and 5:30 p.m.
2. BKLYN Larder, 228 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn 718-783-1250 Offer: Sandwiches platters (serves 8-10; $69), cheese and meat platters (serves 10-12; $169), spreads (serves 8-12; $59), and cookies ($22/dozen). Strengths: A strong range of options with the ability to craft a custom selection. The lenient pickup window is also favorable. Weaknesses: One of the earliest deadlines. Deadline: January 29 at 9 p.m.; pickup from February 1 to February 2 at 8 p.m.
Champion 1. Mayhem & Stout, 711 Second Avenue, 212-986-1600 Offer: Deluxe sandwich trays, braised meats by the pound, cole slaw, mac and cheese, and pickled vegetables. Strengths: Traditional football watching fare with distinct flavors. Additionally, the generous deadline and delivery availability make it the whole proposition even more enticing. Weaknesses: We can't think of any. Deadline: 24 hour advanced notice; pickup and delivery.
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