2014 Super Bowl Party Takeout Food Power Rankings
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.
The Meatball Shop: Bucket O' Balls.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Contenders and the champion on the next page.