Despite Caesars Atlantic City’s status as one of the best casinos in town, it had one of the town’s least impressive buffets.
That all changed recently when the casino debuted The Palace Court Buffet, a long-overdue, much-needed and forever-talked-about renovation and overhaul of its Boardwalk Buffet concept, which went basically untouched for 20 years.
The new, modern buffet boasts a bright, yellow and orange color scheme with a buffet line that features beautiful tile work and much easier access with themes that include Carvery, Mediterranean, Seafood, Asian and, of course, dessert. It now ranks up there with the buffets at Harrah’s Resort, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and Showboat Casino-Hotel.
The Palace Court Buffet is 100 seats larger than the former space, now seating 525 people, and is open for lunch and dinner daily, as well as brunch on weekends. The buffet features a new area for queuing as well as a great concept that offers complete meals at every station, including soups, salads, entrees and sides that fit each cuisine style.
“When people walk in they are really surprised by how different and how much better the new buffet is,” says Executive Chef Keith Mitchell, who works with Restaurant Chef George Galati to ensure the buffet meets customers’ demands. “I think people like how clean and how much brighter and modern it is. In the beginning, the layout made people think there wasn’t as much food as there was in the past. But once they go to all of the stations and really start discovering everything, they see we have twice as many food options.”
Most of the food is made to order right behind the line. A recent visit included standouts including BBQ cedar plank salmon, crab cake sliders, all-you-can-eat crab legs, mussels and clams and one of the best carving stations in the city.
The Carvery offers a rotating selection of meats roasted fresh including roast turkey, slow-roasted prime rib, hot and sweet sausage, kielbasa, baked ham, rack of lamb and more. Plus there’s also killer fried chicken, homestyle stuffing, mashed potatoes, creamy mac and cheese that stands above most buffets, veggies, soups and gravies.
The Mediterranean section features items such as salads, rigatoni with red pepper cream sauce, flat-iron steaks, sausage and peppers, chicken marsala, a variety of fresh pizzas, antipasti, meatballs and more.
The Seafood station, possibly the busiest of all, includes chowders, garlic-steamed clams, crab legs, shrimp and scallop ceviche, mussels marinara, great crispy fried shrimp, and u-peel shrimp.
The Asian station offered shrimp fried rice, pork lo mein, excellent orange beef, General Tso’s chicken and a variety of salads and vegetables.
There’s also a pasta station where a chef prepares pasta to your specifications, and a variety of sushi rolls are made right in front of you. There’s also a variety of sliders, rotating fish, BBQ beef ribs and more.
On weekends, brunch items include an omelet station, waffles, pancakes, carved ham, breakfast meats, yogurt parfaits and fresh-squeezed juices.
“We are doing a lot more food made fresh than we ever have,” Mitchell says. “We roast meats right on the carving station, making pizza in the wood-fired oven and also making baked pasta dishes and focaccia in there. Sushi is made right in front of you and you can even order pasta how you want it.”
The Palace Court Buffet also offers one of the best dessert stations in the city that includes two milkshake machines and six other machines offering yogurt, ice cream and sorbets accompanied by a station of candy dispensers offering everything from jimmies to M&Ms and Reese’s Pieces.
Executive Pastry Chef Deb Pellegrino’s other recent creations included a warm chocolate and peanut butter brownie, crème brulee, Oreo cheesecake, bread pudding with a variety of sauces, an espresso chocolate confection and more.
Another great addition is a self-serve wine-dispensing system, the only one offered at any city buffet. Diners can purchase debit cards at the register or from a server and load it with money. Then, diners can help themselves to 1-, 3- or 6-ounce pours of about a dozen wines.
“It’s awesome,” Mitchell says. “Guests love it. They can go up and sample whatever they want. It adds a new experience to the buffet.”
Mitchell says the buffet will keep improving as the staff gets accustomed to the new conditions.
“We are always trying to put out a variety that will make our guests happy,” Mitchell says. “George I have been talking about adding some scallopini dishes for the Mediterranean station. And we are going to do a full-on blitz of the Asian station to add some Indian, Japanese and even some Thai dishes. George has a pretty good rotation menu planned with some Japanese noodle dishes and Indian curries. It’s going to get even better.”
The Palace Court Buffet is open noon to 9 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, noon to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 3 to 9 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Prices are $27 for lunch and $34.99 for dinner Mondays to Fridays; $27 for brunch and $39.99 for dinner Saturdays and Sundays. Total Rewards customers receive $2 off all times. Call 609-348-4411.
Taste of Restaurant Week
Atlantic City Restaurant Week returns March 2 to 8, and the annual Taste of Atlantic City Restaurant Week VIP Kickoff Party returns 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at Atlantic City Country Club.
The historic Northfield country club, owned by Caesars Entertainment, will showcase some of the culinary delights from more than a dozen different venues affiliated with this year’s Restaurant Week, including 6ix a Bistro (meatloaf sliders) from Bally’s Atlantic City; Scarduzio’s Steak, Sushi & Lounge (assorted sushi rolls) from Showboat Casino-Hotel; Dos Caminos (tacos al pastor) from Harrah’s Resort; Nero’s Chophouse & Sushi Bar (escargot crostini) from Caesars Atlantic City; Atlantic City Country Club (rock shrimp buns); Gallagher’s Steakhouse (roast pork) from Resorts Casino Hotel; Broadway Burger Bar (short rib mac and cheese, grilled shrimp with ruby red grapefruit, purple asparagus, baby arugula, vinegar and olive oil) from Tropicana Casino and Resort; Robert’s Steakhouse (filet mignon with mashed olive oil potatoes, green peppercorn sauce) from Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort; Capriccio (crabmeat Treviso with Italian cheeses) from Resorts; Fin (lobster bisque) from the Trop; Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa restaurants (confit of duck Peking style, savory macaroon and liver mousse); Azure by Allegretti (roasted Chilean sea bass, roasted fennel, asparagus, mussels, shrimp) from Revel Casino Hotel; Melting Pot (chocolate fondue); and Caesars Entertainment Executive Pastry Chef Deb Pellegrino will offer a dessert display.
Plus Atlantic City Country Club chefs will prepare the winning menu of the Pre-Chef Grand Prix from Atlantic Cape Community College’s Culinary Institute, which is an appetizer of caramelized onion and pear soup with a port wine goat cheese crostini, entree of grilled pork chop with braised red cabbage, sweet potatoes and a parsnip puree, and a dessert of lemon sabayon with cherry compote.
A limited number of tickets are available for $35 per person. Go to ACRestaurantWeek.com.
Haven offers new industry night
Haven Nightclub, the newest Atlantic city dance experience inside Golden Nugget Atlantic City will debut its new industry night MisBeHaven on Thursday, Feb. 20.
The new party night will offer $200 bottles of Patron, Ultimat Vodka, Moet Chandon and Pyrat Rum. Other specials include $8 Patron Silver shots, $4 Patron X.O., Patron Dark Cocoa and Patron Citronge shots, as well as $59 room rates and free self and valet parking.
To kick off the big new night, DJ Sid Vicious will be spinning to entertain the masses. Haven Nightclub is one of the coolest clubs in town. With an outdoor smoking area, giant dance floor and high ceilings, the club has a super sized feel as opposed to so many city clubs that leave you feeling claustrophobic.l
Last weekend’s initial kickoff was postponed due to weather. Haven is open Thursdays to Saturdays. Go to HavenAC.com.
Country superstar Luke Bryan certainly made his rounds in Atlantic City last weekend. Not only did Bryan sell out Boardwalk Hall, he surprised the Mussel Bar staff at Revel Casino Hotel by showing up for brunch Saturday morning. Then after his show, Bryan was seen taking pictures with fans at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. And to keep things really local, Bryan and his crew enjoyed Tony Boloney’s pizza and subs after the show as Owner Michael Hauke provided catering in his restaurant’s food truck. By the way, Hauke opened his second Tony Boloney’s — this one in Hoboken — this week. Bryan also thrilled the Global Spectrum staff at Boardwalk Hall by posing for a picture with them before the show.
Other celebrities thrilled fans last weekend, including The Village People, who performed at Resorts Casino Hotel, and R&B/disco star Maxine Nightingale, who began her long-running show at Resorts.
Also, popular Italian singer Gigi D’alessio, who performed at the Tropicana Casino and Resort recently, stopped into Carmine’s with his girlfriend/singer Anna Tatangelo and his manager before his show. In addition to spaghetti Carbonara and a side of spinach, the group enjoyed Chardonnay and finished their meal off with ice cream. Throughout his meal, he graciously took photos with fans and signed autographs. At the end of the meal, he took a photo with Carmine’s staff.
Scotch class at Village Whiskey
Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Village Whiskey, located inside Revel Casino Hotel, will offer a class on Scotch whiskeys 7 p.m. Feb. 20.
Village Whiskey, which offers more than six dozen whiskeys, will host Toni-Lynn Gross from The Macallan distillery, who will lead a tutorial and tasting of Scotches including Famous Grouse, Macallan 12, Macallan 15 and Macallan 18.
The evening, which is limited to 25 guests, will also include a selection of Village Whiskey’s signature sliders and bar snacks.
Cost is $55 per person plus tax and gratuity. Call 609-225-9880 or go to AtlanticCity.VillageWhiskey.com.
High West comes to ACBC
The Iron Room at Atlantic City Bottle Company offers another great dinner 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, as it joins High West Whiskey Distillery.
The four-course menu, prepared by Chef Kevin Cronin, will be paired with four different High West Whiskeys: Silver OMG, Son of Bourye, Campfire and American Prairie Reserve. Food includes fluke tartare with cucumber, radish blood orange and white sturgeon caviar; spiced Assam fumet with lemon-poached Arctic char; campfire filet, clam chowder with shaved fennel and demiglaze; and crème brulee.
Spirit specialist Chris Miller will on hand to host the dinner and describe each whiskey, plus there will be music by jazz saxophonist Howard Isaacson. Guests will also leave with a gift from High West.
Cost is $65 and reservations are necessary. Call 609-348-6400 or go to ACBottleCompany.com.