Most people go to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun to gamble, but not us; we went for the food, Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, to be specific. The meal was fabulous and there’s also the fun of speaking slowly in an Indian accent while critiquing the food.
The restaurant was surprisingly empty; we were seated in a choice, spacious, leather banquette. We were greeted with an amuse bouche of roasted red pepper soup. It was flavorful and vibrant, but the mircogreens on top were tough. The bread is made to order for each table and it is perfect rendition of parker house rolls, served in the cast iron mini pan they were baked in. The bread was tender and fluffy on the inside with a crisp buttery exterior.
We originally ordered a foie gras terrine to start, but our server informed us that we could order a seared foie gras that was off menu. We decided to go with that and the lobe of foie that came out was enormous; it looked like it ate another piece of foie gras for lunch. It is a good thing that R and I shared it because it was so rich and unctuous I don’t think I would have been able to finish it on my own. It came with roasted peaches and shaved truffles.
Craftsteak has three kinds of beef; corn fed, grass fed and waygu style, all at different price points. One type of waygu was $25, an ounce, with a 4 ounce minimum. R and I chose the prime, dry-aged cote de boeuf for two for the hefty price tag of $130.
Dessert was also excellent. We had a delicious buttermilk waffle with roasted plums and mascarpone cream. R also ordered a hazelnut crunch ice cream, as he believes that a la mode is the best way to eat a waffle. The ice cream was incredible good and complex with a hint of salt. I had monkey bread with caramelized pecans and it was also quite good and unique.
All in all, we really enjoyed our meal, especially the outstanding foie gras. Our service was attentive and friendly. I think it’s definitely worth a visit. Especially if you have won at the table and are feeling flush.
As for our gambling exploits; R managed to win $18 dollars at a Star Wars slot machine.
Frank Pepe’s Pizza
I have been meaning to go to the original New Haven location for years, but driving 2+ hours for pizza, seems wrong, no matter how good it is (however, I will drive/fly many hours for a good steak). So, when Pepe’s opened a branch at Mohegan Sun, I knew I would finally get to experience the pizza so many have raved about. They are especially known for their white clam pizza, so we got one of those and a pepperoni pizza for comparison. I loved it; the crust was cracker thin, but still retained a good chew. I thought the clam pizza was great. I loved the chewy, briny clam with the potent garlic and oil. In a rare difference of culinary opinion, R disagreed with me. He felt like it wasn’t working at all, he much preferred the pepperoni pizza. If the original location is even better, it might be worth driving 2+ hours for.
We wanted to Bobby Flay’s restaurant at Mohegan Sun. We were still full from the pizza earlier (and the steak night before), so we decided to split a bacon burger with blue cheese, fries, rings and a shake. The burger was decent enough, cooked correctly and okay flavor. I thought the bun was on the weak and floppy side. There is a carousel of special sauces; chipotle ketchup, jalapeño, and a special burger sauce that is suspiciously like A1. We liked the fries, but the beer batter on the rings was too thick and doughy. Our black and white shake had real whipped cream, but for $5 it should really come in the iconic large metal canister. The burger bar is affordable; burgers are $6.50- $8.50 and the sides were $3. Unless you really want a burger, there’s no reason to go here when Pepe’s is 50 feet away.