Fleet Center TD Bank North Garden Maybe Even ING Sport Center Next Week Thing

For those of you who have never been inside the Boston Garden let me tell you that staring at the rafters at the championship banners and retired numbers is awe inspiring. Yes, I said Boston Garden. I know the Boston Garden was torn down years ago and now we have the “Fleet Center TD Bank North Maybe Even ING Sport Center Next Week Garden Thing” in Boston’s North End. For us locals as long as it is sitting in the same spot it is still “The Garden”.

This is the spot where I chomped on hot dogs and popcorn as a kid while watching my Dad sip a warm yellow beer out of a plastic cup. Long gone are those wooden seats we once sat in but the tepid beers and room temperature hot dogs remain. That is unless you are lucky enough to be sitting with the Boston elite in the luxury boxes.

Duing hockey season I was lucky enough to be one of privileged few and was invited to see a Bruins game in the boxes of all boxes The Sports Deck in The Luxury Suites. The second I looked at the food I came to one conclusion. I knew no matter how hard I looked I would not find a banner hanging from the rafters for culinary excellence.

On our menu was Mini Burgers with Cheese, Buffalo “Chicken Wings” and Boston Cheese Steak. Now tell me if I am wrong but isn’t the cheese steak a Philly sandwich? Is this a Freedom Fries type of thing where we rename the food so that it is safe to eat and no longer offending to us? If so I have more issues with Buffalo teams that I do Philly.

One bite into this sandwich and I had a new theory of its new name. Did someone from Philadelphia taste one of these cheese steaks and ban Boston from putting the Philly name on it? This was in no way anything like a sandwich from Geno’s in South Philly where the rules are when you get to the window order fast and in English.

This was room temperature chopped steak with peppers and onions with absolutely no flavor to it served on a hard roll with cheese sauce. Geno’s owner Joseph Vento would have a heart attack if he saw this abortion of a cheese steak leaving his restaurant. But at the Garden this is luxury.

The Buffalo Wings were safe. My best bet is they came out of a bag seasoned and ready to roll so all the kitchen staff had to do was warm them up. The burgers were a totally different story.

This little sandwiches were putrid. Let me get this in perspective. I love hamburgers good and bad. From the Hilltop Steak House’s hand formed half pound beautiful burgers to McDonald’s paper wrapped gems it doesn’t matter, if it is a burger I am on it. That is until I met the burgers of The Luxury Suites.

These little 3 ounce over cooked spheres of beef kept me constrained to one slider. Finishing and choking down that single ice cold beef pattie on stale bread was a challenge. I was trying to surmise why the burgers were so hard and cold when it hit me like a ton of bricks. These must be the practice pucks I saw the Bruins warming up with.

It all makes sense now in this economy why waste money on practice pucks when these babies can be slapped around on the ice and served up later for a profit. The beer choices in the luxury suite were fine so I paired up my burger with a Dos Equis Amber.

I figured the darker malts in the Dos Equis Amber would play off of the sweetness of the Ketchup, and the hops would pair well with the spiciness of the mustard. Typically this would be a great pairing but when the burger is colder than the beer it is just not going to work.

It took two seven dollar Dos Equis to wash down this burger if I wasn’t starving I would have just walked away from it. At one point I even considered dunking it in the beer like competitive eating champ Takeru Kobayashi. My guess is Kobayashi might be able to choke down 3 maybe 4 of these frigid beef things. So as you are probably able to figure out by now I give the food at The Garden failing marks.

As I watched the end of the game finally content sipping on a scotch that looked like a bountiful glass of iced tea (I tipped heavily on those seven dollar Dos Equis) it all became obvious. They can keep the plasma TVs and trappings of the luxury suites. I would rather be in the stands with a room temperature hot dog and a yellow tepid beer with my Dad.