If you like classic game-day fare, you'll be happy to know that the new Levi's Stadium hot dog is a nitrate-free, natural casing frankfurter served on a custom Le Boulanger bun.
Yes, it's yummy. But for those with more adventurous palates, get ready. The food at the 49ers' future home may be the most diverse and innovative in the NFL, with everything from bao buns to a raw bar and nearly triple the points of sale as Candlestick Park. Translation: less time in line.
Centerplate, the leading sports hospitality company, has made sure Bay Area diners get the ultimate culinary experience, putting executive chef Ryan Stone, the former chef at the massive BC Place stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia, in charge of a 350-person culinary team that is equally adept at Indian curries and wood-fired pizza.
The majority of the food suppliers are from California -- think Gilroy garlic fries -- with 78 percent coming from within 150 miles of the stadium. And that doesn't even include the stadium's other culinary treat: Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak & Pub. At a recent media tasting, we sampled 15 concession and club offerings. Here are seven we loved:
BBQ jackfruit sandwich: The jackfruit is slow-smoked using California almond wood and braised into an earthy, carnitas-like heap, then slathered in homemade barbecue sauce. A crunchy apple-jalapeño coleslaw and sweet Le Boulanger Hawaiian roll balance the heat beautifully. Wow.
Hamburger: You'll need two hands to grasp this grass-fed, custom-ground Angus beauty made from brisket, short rib and chuck eye cuts. It's flavorful and hearty, with a thick slice of Tillamook cheddar, lettuce and tomato that come from Salinas farms and a slather of Gilroy garlic-flecked Parmesan mayonnaise. Le Boulanger's custom-baked bun yields a perfect bun-to-meat ratio.
Navy bean and kale curry: You can't say no to kale when it's drenched in a rich green chile and coriander-spiked coconut milk sauce. Sop it up with cumin-scented basmati rice and grilled naan rubbed with curry oil. The fried cassava chips with curried sea salt are the perfect vehicle to finish up any leftover Sukhi's mango chutney.
Peking duck bao: You know Mary's Free Range Chicken, but the farm raises ducks, too. And the chefs at Levi's elevate its flavors by poaching it in soy sauce, then slow-roasting it to a crisp. Served inside a warm, steamed rice bun with sweet hoisin and sliced green onions, this distinctive spin on Peking duck comes as a trio with portobello bao and pork belly bao. Don't forget the Korean daikon kimchee.
Golden beet salad: If you don't have club seats, find someone who does so you can indulge in the dishes that follow. For starters, the best beet salad ever: Golden beets are roasted in salt, tossed with slivers of pickled red onion and lightly drizzled with a caramelized orange vinaigrette that makes every bite bright and delightfully puckery.
Panzanella: This composed bread salad gets a Northern California spin with fresh baby arugula and a lemon-rosemary vinaigrette. Chunks of ciabatta, marinated olives, roasted garlic, heirloom tomatoes and Italian parsley round out the salad for a flavor and texture pick-me-up. Touchdown.
Oyster pan roast: A slice of Le Boulanger's sourdough is the perfect companion to this ethereal soup. Prepared in a double-walled, steam-jacketed kettle, the soup gets its balanced flavors from freshly shucked oysters and sprightly preserved lemon.