The Showboat Casino-Hotel culinary team recently unveiled a new-and-improved version of its French Quarter Buffet that it thinks will rival others in the city.
The buffet, which was at one time one of the best - if not the best - in Atlantic City, seemed to be neglected over the past couple of years with very limited operating hours and lack of attention.
But the new buffet, which recently returned with a daily operating schedule and a seafood focus, is already garnering attention from Showboat's longtime players and walk-in dining customers.
"People really want seafood, and that's what we're giving them," says Executive Chef Rob Schoell. "The buffet is a lot better now. It's back to being one of the best buffets in the city. The entire buffet has basically been upgraded."
With plenty of action stations and a buffet where you can actually see food being prepared on kitchen equipment behind the line, the d�cor of the French Quarter, with its blue-sky ceiling mural and New Orleans theme, has never been the problem.
The French Quarter Buffet is now boasting "fresh seafood" seven days a week, but the casino is really upping the seafood ante on weekends.
On Fridays, the $25.99 "Seafood Carnival" from 4 to 9 p.m. features lobster mac 'n' cheese, blue point crabs, crawfish, seafood jambalaya and paella. Its Carvery offers cedar-plank BBQ salmon. A raw bar contains u-peel shrimp, clams, mussels and glazed shrimp skewers. The Italian station offers shrimp scampi pizza and seafood pasta, and even the salad bar offers seafood antipasta and king crab salad. The Asian section has black bean clams, garlic shrimp stir fry and crab-fried rice. The main focus is on crabs, with all-you-can eat crab legs.
Saturday's lobster feast replaces the crab focus and is offered noon to 3 p.m. for $19.99 and 4 to 10 p.m. for $39.99 and features many of the same dishes as Friday. The differences include stuffed crabs on the Carvery, and, during dinner, diners can feast on all-you-can-eat whole Maine lobsters that are at least one pound each. Unlike other lobster buffets, where diners are typically given one lobster per sitting, diners can have as many as they please, but are given only one per trip to the buffet line.
Sunday's "Seafood Fest" returns to the crab focus and is priced $21.99 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and $27.99 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. and also features similar items except crab flatbread, fish 'n' chips and Creole-stuffed crabs are also offered.
The buffet is also open noon to 4 p.m. ($19.99) and 4 to 9 p.m. ($25.99) Mondays to Thursdays, offering a mix of the weekend menu plus items such as seafood jambalaya, fried scallops, crab roll, Maryland crab cakes, baked clams, scallops St. Jacques and more.
Of course, there are plenty of items for landlubbers, and the French Quarter buffet is featuring more "comfort food" than ever, including flat-iron steaks, fried chicken, meatloaf, ham with pineapple and cranberry glaze, turkey, cornbread stuffing, hand-tossed pizza, homemade stromboli and flatbreads and more.
The Asian menu features Singapore noodles, soy-glazed BBQ ribs and steamed fish with black bean sauce.
Desserts are plentiful, as well. A new cheesecake bar features a variety of toppings, and all of the desserts are made in-house.
"We have the best sugar-free cheesecake in the city; you can't even tell the difference," said restaurant chef Giancarlo Generosi.
Schoell says the crowds are already returning to the buffet.
"We only rolled it out two weeks ago, and it's been very well received," he says. "People are really noticing the difference. I think the buffet is the biggest asset we have at this property. People want to come here for the buffet."
A "Taste of New Orleans" room package is being offered Sundays through Thursdays that includes deluxe room accommodations, two passes to the buffet and 1 p.m. late checkout for $94 in October and $84 November and December.
Boardwalk Hall is seeking people of all ages who like to sing the National Anthem before its future sporting events, which include New Jersey Devils-affiliated hockey, the Atlantic 10 conference, ECAC hockey and more.
If you always dreamed of singing in a big room before a big event in front of thousands of people, this may be your chance. Interested singers should send an audition CD or DVD to Boardwalk Hall, 2301 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401, ATTN: Marketing Department.
Whoopi Goldberg, who recently headlined at the Tropicana Casino and Resort, decided to take in dinner at the Trop, too. "The View" co-host enjoyed a great dinner at P.F. Chang's in The Quarter.
Pepper, of the rap-R&B group Salt-N-Pepa stopped by the Casbah nightclub at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and danced to the sounds of DJ Eddie Edge. She posed for photos with clubgoers, DJs and Taj employees.
Over at Dusk at Caesars Atlantic City, Joe Slaughter of "Step Up 3D" hosted a party. Joined by his girlfriend and sister, Slaughter proved he loves the good things in life, drinking Dom Perignon all night. Later that week, Wynter Gordon performed her hits "Toy Friend" and "Dirty Talk" to a packed Dusk, which sang along to her songs. And Chris Mulkey, who plays Jersey politician Frank Hague in HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" stopped in at Dusk after being honored at the Downbeach Film Festival at Resorts Atlantic City.
After opening for Mary J. Blige at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Jazmine Sullivan continued her act at mixx, offering her hits such as "Holding You Down" and "Need U Bad" for a packed house headlined by DJ D.Nice. The following night, Bob Saget, who headlined at the Music Box, brought his girlfriend - Playboy Playmate of the Year Hope Dworaczyk - to mixx, listening to the sounds of DJ Irie before heading back to a suite in The Water Club.
U.S. Olympic skating medalist Sasha Cohen was at Caesars to help promote the casino's "Salute to the Golden Age of Skating" at Boardwalk Hall on Dec. 11. She posed for photos with some fans.
Randy Jones, the cowboy in the legendary disco band The Village People, returned to Resorts' Boogie Nights. When DJ Gabor played the anthem "YMCA," Jones grabbed a mic and sang along.
'Curtain Call' change
Due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict, David Spatz's "Curtain Call" episode featuring "Boardwalk Empire" actors was postponed last weekend. It is rescheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23 on NBC TV-40. The program is also replayed throughout the weekend. Spatz is a former Press of Atlantic City writer.
- Scott Cronick10<\c>