Watching Flaming Shrimp at the US Open
Tony Mantuano's prosciutto with shaved artichoke saladAs we enter prime season for food lovers—the next few weeks will bring dazzling events like Le Fooding, the New York City Wine & Food Festival and StarChefs.com’s International Chefs Congress, among others—it’s tempting to look at every major event as an opportunity to eat. So while I know most people go to the US Open semifinals to see Roger Federer make the best shot of his life, I was almost as focused on the food at Arthur Ashe Stadium, specifically at Tony Mantuano’s Wine Bar. Mantuano, the chef at Chicago's Spiaggia, has two tented locations at the Open this year, near the stadium entrance and on the club floor (club location preferable if you’re looking for spectators like Jack Nicholson and Mario Batali). Mantuano serves excellent small plates from his recent Wine Bar Food cookbook, including prosciutto with shaved artichokes and hearts of palm. Most notable is his flaming ouzo shrimp, which combines quintessential Mediterranean flavors like lemon, garlic and anise-y ouzo with seafood. When the ouzo sauce is ignited, flames dramatically jump up a foot high (Mantuano had the Wine Bar’s tent fireproofed); it was the only thing diverting enough to make you take your eyes off one of Federer and Novak Djokovic's epic volleys on the giant screen.