FiTR has recommended where to eat at outside Barclays Center, but there’s a whole host of places to eat inside the arena, too, including many counters and carts offering nachos, hot dogs, hamburgers, and hot wings. More interesting, perhaps, are such Brooklyn foodie favorites as Calexico, L & B Spumoni Gardens, Habana, Nathan’s, and Fatty ‘Cue, for a bewildering total of 37 concessions. Finding ourselves with no time to go elsewhere before a recent show, we decided to pick one of the arena concessions for a quick dinner. Being fans of the long-shuttered (but recently re-opened) original by the Williamsburg Bridge, and the updated version on Carmine Street in the Village, we picked Fatty ‘Cue. What a mistake!
In the style of all newfangled stadium concessions, which can now be found in every giant sports venue in town, the stalls each offer three basic small-meal choices, plus about a half-dozen lesser snacks of an off-the-shelf nature. Being a fan of the brisket at both Fatty ‘Cues, we picked beef brisket mac and cheese ($10.25). Unfortunately, in addition to a comically small serving size, the thing was swimming in grease, so that a good half-inch of red oil pooled in the bottom. Each bite was so slippery, you couldn’t keep it on the fork. The mac and cheese part was nothing special, and the combination of the two dishes proved repulsive.
Eschewing the pulled pork sandwich on a potato roll with sweet pickles, we also chose the beef brisket sandwich, even though the alarms were set off by the description: “pulled brisket with sweet and sour slaw and sriracha aioli in a baked-in-Brooklyn banh-mi roll.” Why alarms? Well, there is really no such thing as “pulled” brisket, and as we feared, it turned out to be small, gristly fragments drowning in a sweet barbecue sauce. Had the meat even been barbecued? We had our doubts. While this $13.75 sandwich was not as gross as the brisket/mac-and-cheese bowl, it was pretty damn bad, with a lot more dense chewy bread than actual filling. The worst part, perhaps, was that the sandwich had been prepared so far ahead of time that the bottom of the roll was sodden, and fell away the moment we picked the sandwich up.
As with the other stalls, Fatty ‘Cue was not knocking itself out, offering only three dishes that were variations on the same greasy theme. And that seems to be the pattern at most of the places we examined. Our advice: stick with the hot dogs, hamburgers, and nachos, or save time to eat outside the center.