pursuits

Morimoto Serves $125 Sushi to Aces as Top Chefs Join U.S. Open

If Roger Federer or Kim Clijsters gets a craving for a spicy tuna roll at the U.S. Open, they’ll find Masaharu Morimoto’s team of sushi chefs serving in the players cafeteria.

Food by Morimoto, the innovative sushi chef behind high-end Japanese restaurants in New York and Philadelphia, will also be available at the National Tennis Center’s ACES restaurant and in the private luxury suites where bankers and celebrities hang out. There’s fresh sushi and sashimi a la carte, a $39 lobster roll and the $125 “ultimate combo” sushi platter for two.

The Open cut a deal with Morimoto as part of its effort to meet the higher culinary expectations of New York sports fans, according to Michael Lockard, the U.S. Open’s executive chef, who said he tries to improve the menus each year.

For the rest of the crowd, the Open will unveil this week the menu for its new South Plaza Master Chef Cafe. It will include Yucatan pork tacos by Border Grill chef Susan Feniger, and dishes by Carmen Gonzalez, former chef-owner of Carmen the Restaurant in Coral Gables, Florida, Rick Moonen of RM Seafood in Las Vegas, and Jonathan Waxman of New York’s Barbuto.

The Cosmopolitan Hotel of Las Vegas is behind a new installation of food and cabanas overlooking the practice courts.

The U.S Open follows Yankee Stadium and other sports venues that have hired celebrity chefs to upgrade their food offerings and lure affluent consumers to the Open.

“We have a savvy clientele, and we wanted something that represents us well,” said Lockard, a veteran of Charlie Palmer’s Aureole in Manhattan.

Antipasti Platter

Returning for the third time to the Open is Tony Mantuano, executive chef of Spiaggia in Chicago. He will serve his specialties at his Mediterranean-influenced Wine Bar Food, named after his cookbook. The menu includes an antipasti platter and sauteed shrimp flamed with ouzo and lemon juice.

“It’s like bringing the Mediterranean to the U.S. Open,” Mantuano said in an interview. “People are starting to look for us now that we’ve been here for a third time.”

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