Since the Barclays Center (620 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn) opened to a Jay Z concert back in September of 2012, it’s been a notable example among stadiums when it comes to food. “We’ve always looked for partners in the Brooklyn area,” explains Marco Fabozzi, the arena’s director of food and beverage operations. “We marry their vision and our execution.” Options in the concourses have expanded since opening, and there are now 55 vendors that hail from the borough, which means you can chow down on Calexico nachos, Nathan’s hot dogs, Junior’s cheesecake, and Fatty ‘Cue’s barbecue while you watch the game.
But if you really want to feel like a baller — especially during the playoffs — you should head to the 40/40 CLUB & Restaurant by American Express, where you can have a seated meal overlooking the court.
Here, you’ll have a choice: Land a table and have an a la carte seated dinner, or attack the hot tables, buffet-style, which offer everything from homemade mozzarella to smoked scallops to sushi. (If you’re worried about missing out on the traditional game food experience, check out the arena table, which is stocked with hamburgers, hot dogs, and oysters). Or pop up to the chef’s table, where you can dine for $65 per person.
This restaurant is open to the public, and with its views of the court, it makes a fine place to wile away a game while you eat. But there’s a particularly compelling reason to hit the club during the playoffs: Barclays Center has coopted Brooklyn chefs like Josh Grinker of Stone Park Cafe and Saul Bolton, who is behind numerous Brooklyn restaurants including Saul, to turn out a special table’s worth of their own food. On the night we stopped by, Grinker was offering short ribs and salmon, asparagus, and wild rice.
There are also other playoff-themed spins — “We’re doing a lot of black and white,” says Fabozzi, citing black and white cookies and black and white tortellini as examples. “And we’re doing a signature burger.”
Moreover, the 40/40 Club stays open an hour after the game ends, which means you can sip cocktails — many made from locally distilled products — and Brooklyn-made beers beyond the beginning of the fourth quarter, which is when the concourse is required to stop serving booze (you could also stop into the Honda Bar for a drink; that also stays open later).
And once the Nets season ends, these amenities won’t shut down — so you might consider dinner at the 40/40 Club before your next big Barclays Center concert, too. Reservations recommended.
See photos of the playoffs offerings below:
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 29, 2014