Super Bowl Sunday is for eating in. That’s because most good New York restaurants don’t have televisions.
So our attention turns to takeout and delivery. Here are my rules for eating at home on game day:
1. Some restaurant dishes actually work better as takeout. Prime example: Momofuku Ssam Bar’s $200 pork shoulder, typically consumed at the loud East Village space on stools with no cushions or lumbar support. It’s a lot of inconvenience, not to mention soreness, for a long meal.
David Chang’s $350 Super Bowl package, which includes nachos with cheese, macaroni with chorizo and other things that are harmful to your health, involves languishing on your couch and drinking cheap bourbon.
The sugar-coated, slow-roasted pork is just as good at home. Reheating instructions are included. Pop it in the oven on super high heat to crisp the skin. Lettuce wraps come with; more conservative football fans will make sandwiches with rye bread or biscuits, options unavailable at Ssam Bar. It feeds as many as 10 people, and it rocks.
2. Hot dogs are for baseball. Sausages are for football. No cross-pollination allowed. So drop by Daniel Boulud’s DBGB and pick up a few juicy, spicy, Tunisian links ($9) on ballpark-style buns.
3. Would you buy a limousine instead of three separate cars because you have a really large family? Of course not. So think long and hard about sabotaging your party with a hero that will go moldy in your fridge by Wednesday.
Robbie Richter, pitmaster at Fatty ‘Cue, was nice enough to let me preview this Sunday’s special brisket sandwich ($59 for a foot-long that should feed three). Smoked cheddar and cilantro make for a brilliant perfumed pairing. The condiments stand up to the aroma of the meat (which was a little tough, admittedly; maybe not so after more slow cooking).
4. If you insist on a hero, have a clear path to home. A combination of crowded public transportation and mayonnaise soaking through deli paper caused me to lose an eighth of my cumbersome, two-and-a-half foot sub from Torrisi Italian Specialties ($40).
The good news is that it’s a great sammy, with tender, thick-sliced turkey breast. Spicy pepper sauce adds balance; out-of-season cardboard tomatoes add nothing. Should feed five.
5. Vegetarian friends are cool, but crudites aren’t football food.
Get them a big bowl of poutine ($8) from Mile End, a Montreal-Jewish deli in Boerum Hill. This Canadian take on disco fries uses a hearty mushroom gravy to replace the typical beef version. Big, fatty cheese curds close the deal.
6. Careful with fried foods, which can steam and get soggy in delivery boxes.
Kyochon’s double-fried wings don’t taste double-fried when ordered via SeamlessWeb, but they’re still pretty darned tasty. ($9.99 for 10 wings). If you get the excellent buffalo fried chicken ($25) at Fatty Johnson’s, rip open the paper and let your cab fill up with the aroma of tangy hot sauce. It’s one of the city’s best birds and it’s only offered this Sunday.
7. Super Bowl Sunday is not for fancy designer pies, it’s for foldable, New York-style street pizza.
Motorino or Keste are great when you want to contemplate tomatoes grown in volcanic ash and compare cheeses born from water buffalo. But not when you want to watch the game.
So my Bowl pick is Best Pizza in Williamsburg, a joint venture from the folks behind Brooklyn Star and Roberta’s. It deigns to sell slices, a rarity in our era of neoclassical pizza snobbery.
The house-made mozzarella on the $3 slice is shredded, so no sauce-only bites. Fresh basil fills the mouth and a paper thin-crust doesn’t fill up the belly. The sauce could use a bit more acid, but let’s not over think it.
Even better are the white pies, which balance ricotta, sweet onions and sesame seeds with killer panache.
Don’t forget: The delivery guy deserves a 15-20 percent gratuity for driving your grub through snow drifts. And drop a few bucks on the counter even if you’re just picking up. Restaurant staffers often work hard to organize large-format items. Momofuku, for instance, hailed a cab and packed the trunk for me.
And finally: Grow up. The host pays for the takeout. You’re not in college any more.
(Ryan Sutton writes about New York City restaurants for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)