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Pinstripe Alley v. Yankee Stadium Food: Frank’s RedHot Chicken Sandwich, Yankee Dingers, Lobel’s Prime Steak Sandwich

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Prior to the start of the 2017 MLB season, I took a media tour of Yankee Stadium to check out the venue’s latest additions. When it came to the new food items on the menu, I thought it was a remarkable step in the right direction for a baseball stadium devoid of life. After the overly indulgent monster foods the Yankees introduced last year, the new menu looked gourmet quality by comparison.

I finally had an opportunity to visit Yankee Stadium for Sunday’s game, and I think I may have been wrong. As perfect and appetizing the stadium made the food look back in April, that’s how awful and inedible some of these items proved to be by September. I can’t say anything about anyone else’s experiences, but mine was mostly unfavorable.

When I go to a baseball game, I usually like to keep things simple and old school. Give me a hot dog, a beer, maybe some peanuts, or a sausage, depending on where I am. While a lot of the new food at Yankee Stadium seemed impressive, it wasn’t really necessary for me. However, the people I was with were interested in trying some things, so I tagged along. The results were not great.

Frank’s RedHot Chicken Sandwich

First up was the Frank’s RedHot Chicken Sandwich, which sounded like a nice and simple meal. The problem was that it was far too simple than any of us expected. What came out was a chicken patty that looked like it was extruded into a chicken-shaped mold. It was absolutely slathered in hot sauce with some kind of melted white cream that simply liquified and mixed into the concoction. It was utterly unpresentable, and an absolute mess:

When I asked my girlfriend how it was, she told me that it made her feel sick. At something like $9, it was also a waste of money. I took a bite in order to better describe it here. The sandwich was essentially chicken drenched in hot sauce, and that was it. Maybe there are people out there who love hot sauce as more than just a condiment, but this tasted like something you concoct when you’re drunk at night in your dorm microwave, and you’re still trying to figure out what flavors go together. This was bad, and after three bites (with maybe half a sandwich left), we threw it in the trash.

Yankee Dingers

The “dingers” at Yankee Stadium are basically just sliders, but whereas the media tour made them look like gourmet morsels, the real-life experience showed me otherwise. The Yankee Dingers include a beef patty, onions, America cheese, pickles, and yellow mustard on a potato bun. It comes three to an order, so it’s a decent amount of food, but you still have to stomach them. Coming out of the packaging, they looked like little White Castle burgers:

For the sake of full disclosure, I did not eat this because I’m lactose intolerant, but I did have one of the pickles! I have it on good authority, though, that these sliders taste just like McDonald’s. Maybe that’s something you want, but then you could just get it from across the street before you enter the game. It would probably be cheaper that way. Here, you expect something unique, but all you get in the end is generic fast food flavors. They don’t even look very appetizing.

Lobel’s Prime Steak Sandwich

Despite our misfortune at trying to find some good food at the stadium (I had a delicious hot dog, thank you) we decided to try for something else. We came upon Lobel’s, and I decided to order the Prime Steak Sandwich. It was a messy concoction of sliced steak and sauce on a brioche bun, but it turned out to be a pretty good sandwich overall. In fact, it was so messy that I didn’t even manage to get a picture of it. I was too busy holding it all together.

The flavors went well with the bun, but it proved to be slightly difficult to eat and impossible to do it while staying clean. The steak was tough in some parts, making it difficult to eat like a sandwich. While I don’t know if I’d necessary recommend this item, you can’t really go wrong with it. I would caution that you should have adequate napkins on hand before digging in because it’s incredibly messy.

Final comments on concessions: Regardless of the food quality, I feel like concession stands need to be properly equipped to serve their costumers. That means clear signage on what each vendor offers and a healthy supply of napkins and utensils. On Sunday, I felt like Yankee Stadium wasn’t able to do this at key locations.

The Batter’s Eye Deck in center field proved to be the most egregious. We went there to try to find some food and for some reason, the place had literally zero signage about what kind of foot they offered there. You could see the beer they had based on the taps and there was even a menu for drink specials, but nothing mentioned what food they had. I wasn’t even sure they offered any.

When I asked someone behind the counter what they had, she didn’t seem to be able to tell me, offering a few random menu items from the top of her head (turkey legs bigger than my head??) before asking me what I wanted. I don’t know! That’s why there should be signs telling me what you have. I can’t be the only person who has had this problem before, right? They can’t have gone a whole season without someone realizing there was no menu.

My other gripe is with the Frank’s RedHot Terrace for supplying us with these garbage sandwiches filled with oozing sauce, but also forcing us to make this mess without any way to clean it up. Yes, there were no napkins anywhere in the terrace that I could see. That might be ok if you’re serving hot dogs and pretzels, but if hot sauce is your biggest selling point, you need to have napkins readily available for me to wipe my face.

Maybe there is some good food out there among the new additions to the stadium (I may have found one of them) but those options are few and far between. If you can make it over to third party vendors like Mighty Quinn’s and Lobel’s, you’ll probably do fine, but if you have to rely on Yankee Stadium’s own food, I think we all might be better off sticking to hot dogs.