Well known in the area as co-owner of Mia at Caesars, esteemed chef Chris Scarduzio adds his own name to a new establishment at Showboat.
ATLANTIC CITY — In a town filled with superior steakhouses — including most of our nation’s most respected franchises/brands — fresh arrivals need to possess both an existing reputation plus a certain intangible cachet in order to compete.
Scarduzio’s Steak/Sushi/Lounge, the Showboat’s newest addition, appears to have both those prerequisites nicely covered.
Executive chef and owner Chris Scarduzio, a Philadelphia native who also operates the well-regarded Mia at Caesars, has willfully tweaked the classic steak house format to create a new, different dining entity.
For a clue to that winning formula, review the name. Steak, of course, gets top billing. But right behind it is “sushi,” a primary component of his overall concept. And, not for nothing, “lounge” immediately follows. Which is, in a way, the exact reverse order that we experienced Scarduzio’s on a recent weekend evening.
That lounge — which we ventured into first — is spacious, ultra-hip, composed of a curving bar and a cozy seating district replete with comfy, overstuffed chairs.
We predict it will soon become one of our town’s most sought-after locales for drinks and upscale socialization. Which brings us directly to the sushi aspect. When we last visited this dining space it was to sup at former tenant, sushi and sashimi specialist, Oshi.
Our meal was memorable, including some of the very best Japanese fare we’ve ever encountered locally.
As a result, we were more than pleased to see new management had retained that nearly-hidden little gem, now nicely tucked into the right rear corner of Scarduzio’s.
The initial samplings from their kitchen included Kobe sliders, diver sea scallops and cavatelli pasta. The beefy mini-burgers were loaded with sweet, melted cippolini onions.
Topped by gooey Gruyere, the trio of beef, onion and cheese worked it’s usual magic.
Scallops were large discs of pure white meat, barely seared, leaving their interiors cool,still smelling, and tasting, of the ocean.
But that cavatelli, pasta fairly uncommon on Italian menus, was what really made us take notice.
We’ve seen them most often before in rough-hewn squarish shapes, but the Scarduzio’s cut was a twisty sort of macaroni. This textural shape superbly picked up both the spicy tomato butter and sundried tomato pesto paired as sauces.
Really, really good stuff.
Many employees at Caesars Entertainment's four properties in Atlantic City — Caesars, Bally's, Harrah's Resort and Showboat — were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Now they will be getting help thanks to the culinary skills of acclaimed chef Chris Scarduzio.
Got a finicky food fanatic on your holiday shopping list? If so, please allow us to suggest a few local spots to pick up a culinary treat or cooking implement that’s certain to impress.
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