The Super Bowl won't touch down in New Jersey until next month, but the New York restaurant scene already is rolling out the turf carpet.
The city with the endless appetite for great food is going all out for the big game, mounting a culinary spectacle in keeping with the over-the-top nature of the event.
"We go crazy for things," said Kate Krader, Food and Wine magazine's restaurant editor and a lifelong New Yorker. "But I'm kind of astonished at the level of things people are doing."
Exhibit A — The 50 Yard Lounge. At the intersection of Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, the 50 Yard Lounge will offer what amounts to a five-day food and wine festival with athletes. Heated roof decks, tented plazas and restaurants will showcase themed menus from top New York chefs while current and former NFL players mingle with diners.
In some of the many chef-and-athlete demonstrations, Michelin-starred chef Michael White will teach Football Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter to make pasta. And celebrity butcher Pat LaFrieda will show three-time Super Bowl champion Matt Light, formerly of the New England Patriots, how to break down meat.
"It's about New York City chefs, New York City music, and about experiencing the Super Bowl in New York City," said Lonny Sweet, founder of marketing agency The Connect Group and creator of the event. "I felt I had an opportunity to show what makes this city so great."
The Super Bowl also will give rise to Forty Ate, a pop-up steakhouse created by hospitality giant Danny Meyer where VIP tables will cost $50,000 — food and drink included.
Commissioned from Meyer by the NFL and hosted in the Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel, the restaurant will serve burgers, steak and pasta with a view of "Super Bowl Boulevard," which is a section of Broadway converted into a street fair featuring a giant toboggan run.
A more modest offering will be found in Brooklyn, where the charity Taste of the NFL will hold its annual fundraiser to combat hunger. The event, which costs $700 per ticket, will bring former players as well as chefs including Tertulia's Seamus Mullen and "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.