Funny, it seems like only yesterday that “food” and “Atlantic City” meant “cheap, lousy buffets.” Over the years, John and I, along with many others, have been seduced by the vast improvements made to the A.C. dining scene (even in the casinos, by God!). The only trouble is, we don’t get to try as many as we’d like because of the price tags that come with the upscale eateries; and in this economy, I’m sure many other “foodies” find themselves in the same boat.
Well, now’s our chance. March 1-7 is the first-ever Atlantic City Restaurant Week. Like other areas that have successfully boosted their traffic in these troubled times, over 70 restaurants (casino and independent alike) are offering fixed price, three-course meals to the tune of $15.09 for lunch and $33.09 for dinner. My partner in crime and I were at the media kickoff at Harrah’s on Tuesday to get more info, and I have to say that (for the most part), we were impressed. Yes, some of the restaurants are offering nothing more exciting than Chicken Parmesean on their special menus, but others (such as Wolfgang Puck and Cuba Libre) have really worked hard to put together some intriguing selections.
As for our direct experience, they were only offering samples of Harrah’s restaurants that evening (they were hosting, after all), but a few things stood out:
- Polistina’s makes their own mozzarella. We know this because there was a man right there making it with his own hands, placing it fresh into the serving bowl. Hoo boy- it reminded me of my days in Hoboken when I lived across from Fiore’s…
- Waterfront Buffet has expanded their ethnic offerings into Brazilian Barbecue and Indian Vegetarian. We sampled some BBQ- tasty, but, sadly, dry. The accompanying sauces were amazing, however, so it might be worth checking out (maybe it depends who’s on the grill that night).
- Temptations, the new “bar” featuring Illy coffee and Jacques Torres chocolates, has the best chocolate chip cookie I have ever tasted: crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, buttery and chocolate-y all at once. They also had the nerve to serve them huge and warm. Ummmmmm….
Keep in mind that it’s not just Atlantic City, but surrounding area restaurants that are involved; check out the website restaurant list, and you’ll find places in Absecon, Smithville and Margate that are participating.
As for us, we are trying to arrange babysitting so we can get to as many as we can. We hope to have lots to blog about soon!