I had to get some hockey stories done first but I wanted to say a few words, or more than a few, about the media preview the Sabres provided Thursday afternoon in the Harbour Club for their new food offerings at the concession stands and suites inside First Niagara Center. It was spectacular.
(Disclaimer: There were no prices provided. It was a free preview. I realize fans aren't as fortunate. It's an arena. Expect to pay. Now we return to talking about the food).
Be sure to read the report in Friday's paper by food critic Andrew Galarneau (if you're not reading his Hungry For More blog, why not?). He tried some of the food and interviewed arena executive chef Scott Green, who pointed out in opening remarks how his staff was going for more local-themed dishes and how he challenged them to brainstorm over the summer. Mission accomplished.
Concession stands throughout the building have been renovated and some offerings have been moved or added, such as an ice cream stand now available on the 300 level.
OK, now a rundown. We'll start with additions in the concession areas which, after all, is where most of you eat from. There were six items and my favorite was easily the chicken parmigiana sandwich, cheesy with tomato sauce. Next was the steak sandwich with white cheddar.
There was also an Anchor Bar chicken finger sandwich, home style pizza slices like Buffalo chicken cut in larger pieces, the Main & Fillmore hot dog (chili and cheese) and the Downtown hot dog (chili and sauerkraut). I'm not a huge hot dog guy and didn't try them. Others who did said they were excellent. The Buffalo chicken pizza is one of five specialty options that will rotate during the season.
The Sabres are really puttin' on the ritz this year in the Harbour Club and the suites. If you're lucky enough to get in there, they had oodles of stuff on display for us. Too many to list but I'll give you the favorites I sampled. On a five-fork scale, these all deserve four or five forks.
---lobster mac and cheese topped with panko and truffle oil
---grilled steak flatbread with tomato, basil, red onion, olive oil and white garlic sauce
---margarita shrimp cocktail with lime sauce
---Hat Trick quesedillas (beef tenderloin in sun-dried tomato wraps, chicken in honey-wheat wrap and vegeterian in a spinach wrap)
---Buffalo's BBBLT (bacon, pancetta, Canadian bacon, mozzarella, tomato ailoi and romaine on a French loat). This one is not a low-fat dish, as you may have surmised.
Now I'm starving again. Too bad Lloyd the taco truck isn't still parked outside the arena.