Getting The Most Out Of Your Yankees Tickets [Food Edition]: Lobel’s Steak Sandwich vs. NYY Steak Express “Beef On Weck”Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
This is the continuation of a series of Yankee Stadium Insider posts called “getting the most out of your Yankees tickets.” As the summer heats up, so does the popularity (and price) of Yankees tickets. We’re here to help you get the most out of your money. Today, we’re going to transform into a food blog, as we help fans choose the best $15 steak sandwich at Yankee Stadium. Please check out the previous post in this series, Getting The Most Out Of Your Yankees Tickets: Arriving Early For Batting Practice.
During the 2009 season, fans lucky enough to score Yankees tickets were bombarded with new food offerings. From sushi, to garlic fries to “frickles” (and everything in between), those with an adventurous taste for food at the ballpark were rewarded with more than just the typical fare. While many of the new food options ended up leaving our wallets empty and our palate dissatisfied, one stood out as a shining star – the Lobel’s steak sandwich. At the time. we extensively reviewed the Lobel’s steak sandwich and were so impressed that we asked, “is it possible that the best food we have ever eaten comes from a concession stand in a baseball stadium?”
Fast Forward to 2010 and the success of the Lobel’s steak sandwich is obvious. The stand, located on the field level of Yankee Stadium near section 132 regularly has a line 25-35 people deep (don’t worry, it moves fast) and the $15 sandwich has received critical acclaim from most who have tried it. Of course, Lobel’s unrivaled success in the high-end steak sandwich category has led to other vendors attempting to get a piece of the lucrative steak sandwich business. Back in April, Yankee Stadium’s upscale steakhouse, NYY Steak (you need to have Yankees tickets on the day of a game to eat there) opened a concession stand called NYY Steak Express near section 109 on the field level and started selling their own $15 steak sandwich. This sandwich known as “beef on weck” (a type of steak sandwich famous in the Buffalo, NY area), promised a different high-end steak sandwich for the same $15 price point.
As soon as we heard about this steak sandwich newcomer, we knew that a showdown was in order. Fellow “Stadium Insider,” Nick came along to a game in May armed with a Flip Cam, ready to buy both an NYY Steak “beef on weck” and Lobel’s Steak Sandwich to decide once and for all where steak-loving fans with Yankees tickets should pledge their allegiance.
First up on this beautiful spring day was the NYY Steak “beef on weck” sandwich from the stand near section 109 dubbed “NYY Steak Express.” We had enjoyed the Lobel’s sandwich many times before, so as steak lovers we were anxious to try our the new kid on the block. The first thing people need to know about “beef on weck” is that the roll is what makes it unique, but the meat is what is supposed to set it apart. The kummelweck roll is a type of kaiser roll that is covered in salt and caraway seeds and definitely isn’t for everyone – therefore, NYY Steak Express also offers a more generic version without the salt or seeds. We wanted the “authentic” experience, so we went with the kummelweck roll.
Unfortunately, the stand wasn’t selling too many $15 sandwiches on this particular day, so there were dozens of them lined up behind the counter waiting to be eaten. Since we were planning on reviewing our experience, we wanted to give NYY Steak a fair shot and asked the stadium worker to serve us one that was freshly sliced and piping hot. They supposedly obliged, but it still didn’t turn out well. Immediately, we noticed that the sandwich in our tray wasn’t as advertised. While the sign above the stand featured a photo of rare “USDA Prime Beef,” the meat on our sandwich was anything but rare and didn’t seem “prime.” We even took a video to prove it:
After spending $15, we weren’t going to just give up on the sandwich, so we split it in half and ate on. Sadly, there wasn’t much good news to report and the highlight of the meal was washing down the sandwich with our yellow Gatorade. Sidebar: the fountain lemon-lime Gatorade sold at concession stands around the stadium is some of the best Gatorade in the world. The ice and the fountain machine water the Gatorade down just a bit and makes it especially refreshing. There isn’t anything better on a hot day, and some stands sell a small, 12 oz. cup for $3 – great for those on a budget.
The “beef on weck” experience literally left a bad taste in our mouths and we almost canceled the steak showdown. Nonetheless, we headed down the left field line near section 132 a few innings later and hopped in line for the coveted Lobel’s Steak Sandwich. It was later in the game, so there were only a few people in line. Even without crowds gobbling up the sandwiches, Lobel’s has an efficient system to keep their meat warm, juicy and fresh. They keep the roasts warm in ovens and once the chefs slice them, the meat is placed into trays filled with the meat juices. We actually prefer our meat more natural, so when we order the Lobel’s Steak Sandwich, we ask the person working the stand for a sandwich “fresh sliced” off the roast. Some people love the “au jus” that the meat is placed in, but we’ve tried it both ways and prefer it “au natural.”
On this Sunday afternoon, the Lobel’s Steak Sandwich stand was serving prime rib, permanently turning the tide in an already one-sided steak sandwich showdown. Just take a look at this beautiful pile of meat. How can you not get hungry looking at that?
And it didn’t only look delicious – it delivered on the promise. The prime rib was as tender as steak could possibly be, almost butter-like when bitten into. The flavor of the meat was perfect, even without it having soaked up the juices from sitting in the tray. The quality and preparation of this beef makes it better without any sauces getting in the way. As always, the cheese-coated, onion-flavored bun was fresh and it perfectly soaked up the juices of the steak for an optimal eating experience. The portion was extremely generous, and even splitting the sandwich among two hungry men, it was a decent serving of meat. People often ridicule the idea of spending $15 on a sandwich at the ballpark, but if you’re going to spend $12 on chicken fingers and fries, why wouldn’t you spend a few more dollars and get a larger portion of far superior food?
It should be noted that there are other $15 steak sandwiches spread throughout Yankee Stadium. There is one on the main level behind home plate (near section 223) that is supposedly NY Strip and is served with onions. That is an impostor. There is a mystery meat version sold at the concession stand near Grandstand section 434B. That is an impostor as well and you’ll regret buying it .
The bottom line is, eating the Lobel’s steak sandwich at Yankee Stadium is like having a gourmet dining experience at the ballpark while all of the other options are like eating a steak sandwich from a ballpark.