The famously esoteric Food Village at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center offers everything from Indian and Japanese options to a Kosher deli and a French creperie. SI.com invited well-known NYC food critic Ed Levine to the U.S. Open for an odyssey through the food stands. A frequent contributor to The New York Times , Levine's food website, Serious Eats, was named one of TIME magazine's 50 Best Websites of 2010. For three hours during Monday's day session, Levine sampled offerings from six of the most popular stands in the Food Village. Here's his review:
2 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Spicy Tuna Roll, $10
"It takes exactly like the sushi you'd get at your local supermarket. The rice is ridiculously cold. No sushi chef would ever serve it this way. It's been in that case for a couple hours, but it's not bad . I normally try to shy away from raw fish at a sporting event, but these taste OK."
3 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Tempura Roll, $12
"Not bad. It's crunchy. You have to accept the fact that you're not getting sushi at a restaurant. It's stadium sushi. The rice texture is similar to Trader Joe's. That's what this is: It's essentially the Trader Joe's experience transported to a stadium."
4 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Shrimp Shumai Dumplings, $9.50
"It's what you'd expect. These are not house-made shumai, but they're not bad."
5 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Yaki Soba Noodles, $11
"These ramen noodles were not made in the stadium, but the chicken is not super-dry. [The noodles] are better then a college dorm, but it won't be confused with real yakisoba. It seems more Chinese style than Japanese style. There's almost no relation to any Japanese noodles I've ever had."
6 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Kati Roll Wrap, $8.75
"This is not gonna win the Vendys (the New York City street food awards), but you know what? That's not what you're here for. It's not bad. It's fresh-tasting."
7 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Lamb Handi Curried Combo, $10.75
"This is not mildly spiced. This isn't bad at all. I would be happy with that, or the samosas or the wrap. It's perfectly good. It's not seriously delicious, but it's good. You'd be surprised at how spicy it is."
8 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
"They weren't fried to order exactly but they don't look bad. [ Tries some. ] And they're not bad. It's like an Indian knish. Kids would really like this."
9 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Nan Bread, $2.50
"It's not the flakiest nan I've ever had, but I don't think I'd get that again."
10 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Pastrami Sandwich, $13.50
"This looks pretty good. And it's still too big to eat (like the midtown Carnegie deli). [ Tries it. ] Yeah, there's nothing wrong with this. They're using their pastrami. They're one of the few delis that still makes their own pastrami -- not on the premises, they make it in Jersey in a plant -- but still, it tastes really good. This is a better pastrami sandwich than you can get at 90 percent of the delis in New York."
11 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Turkey Sandwich, $13.50
"The double-wide turkey sandwich is a mistake. Turkey's got to be drier. The ratio of this sandwich is all wrong. What I would do is take half the turkey off it. It's actually surprisingly moist. I'm shocked. It doesn't taste bad, it's just way too much turkey. Once you take half the turkey off the sandwich, it's a solid turkey sandwich. If you put the cole slaw on it, it'd probably be a really good turkey sandwich."
12 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Carnegie Knish, $5.50
"They put in so much chicken fat. Look at that. That's a really, really good knish. There's as much chicken fat as there is potato. I say that only half-jokingly. It's not bland at all. It's also well-seasoned, there's plenty of salt and pepper. The sesame seeds on top are almost irrelevant. That's awesome. I really like it."
13 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Carnegie Cheesecake Slice, $6.75
"Perfectly good cheesecake. Not inspired cheesecake, but good. And if any one person finished that slice, you'd be really full."
14 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Half Pound Angus Cheeseburger, $8.50
"I asked for it rare and it came well-done. Very well-done. There were no juices flowing. Not good."
15 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Kosher Frankfurter, $5.50
"It's a hot dog. I wish it was a natural-casing hot dog, but it's not."
16 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Chicken Tenders & Fries, $9.00
"This was not a wise choice. The breading on the chicken is seriously thick. And the waffle fries will go unexamined."
17 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Texas Beef Brisket Smoked BBQ Sandwich, $10.00
"It is smoked. It's not particularly good. It's got a real deep smoke flavor and it's got a real deep smoke ring. [ Minutes later. ] That tastes worse the more you taste it. At first you taste the smoke and you taste the barbecue sauce. At least they went to the trouble of smoking that brisket."
18 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Apple Gouda Sausage, $9.00
"It's actually pretty good. But come on: You're in New York! Get a real bun! You'd rather have a regular hot dog bun. There's just so much bread, but the sausage itself is pretty good."
19 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Pulled Pork Smoked BBQ Sandwich, $10.00
"This tastes like a Sloppy Joe. It just tastes like barbecue sauce."
20 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Crepe Suzette, $8.50
"The crepes are really heavy. It's hard because crepes, if they're not served right when they're made, they just get heavier by the second. And they get hard, as that one has."
21 of 21Christine Tsai/seriouseats.com
Crepe Une Gourmandise, $8.50
"That's not bad. You don't want to look too close. It's actually not bad. This tastes like a banana and Nutella sandwich. If it had peanut butter, it would be perfect."
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