Old Homestead Is Where the Heart Is

The last original restaurant to debut with the Borgata in 2004, Old Homestead Steak House was named Atlantic City’s top restaurant in Zagat’s 2012 America’s Top Restaurants guide.

By Frank Gabriel

Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Mar. 21, 2012

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As the final remaining, 
original restaurant property at the Borgata, Old Homestead Steak House maintains a special status among peers.

When opened nearly a decade ago, Borgata pretty much redefined everything we had come to think about casino dining. Executive chef Romeo DiBona, the only person to ever oversee the kitchen here, explains Old Homestead’s unique philosophy.

“We have think-tanks — myself, [owners] Marc and Greg Sherry, [general manager] Brian Palin and sous chefs Amador Campos and Luis Rivera. We go over things — menu items, presentations.”

Since opening, name-brand chefs such as Wolfgang Puck and Bobby Flay have also come to inhabit the sprawling facility. But Old Homestead, which may also claim the distinction of being New York City’s most tenured steak house — existing since 1868 in the same location — has always managed to stand out.

Part of that certainly comes from decades of experience. Another crucial element is their extraordinary selectivity. Prime beef, typically accounting for less than 10 percent of all produced, just isn’t good enough for Old Homestead. In fact, they are noted for rejecting anything that isn’t the top two or so percent of all graded beef.

The dining space, with plenty of wood tones and multiple levels, is equally special. Our meal began with bang-bang shrimp, two colossal-size decapods. Lightly tempura-battered the duo tilted together, like bosom buddies leaning against each other after a long night of carousing. The huge shrimp — each hand-sized — were perfectly prepared, no small feat in and of itself. Exteriors remained crisp and revealed a plethora of sweet white meat within. Finished by pickled cucumbers, chipotle mayo and an ancho chile sauce, the garnishes nicely added to the lure of that magnificent seafood.

As a middle course, we selected a recent addition to the bill of fare: Kitchen Sink Salad (with a name like that, did you really think we could skip it?). Mixed greens blended with — deep breath — thinly sliced strips of salami, hearts of palm in small discs, chunky avocado, halved artichoke hearts, diced red onion, cherry tomatoes, strips of red pepper and lots of unami-inducing bleu cheese. A light, unobtrusive champagne mustard vinaigrette provided acid and moisture to this mega-mix. It reminded us of a lovely Sunday summer brunch you might enjoy at an Italian’s home.

It was light in texture and still provided plenty of oomph in the flavor department. Throw in a loaf of crusty bread and this wonderful conglomeration would easily become a meal.

My dining partner opted for wild salmon as her entrée. The thick filet, probably 10 ounces, was cut to match the rest of the prolific portions. Mounted atop sautéed Chinese mustard greens, the fish was seared to a nice medium. Glazed with miso and topped by spicy sesame seeds, the pale pink protein was finished with a toss of crisp lotus chips.

I don’t often order prime rib, typically preferring cuts like New York strip or rib eye. On this evening, I was glad to have made an exception. Described by our server as weighing in at 32 ounces, their Empire Cut was over a foot in length and packed with the “wow” factor.

Deeply pink, just as ordered, it possessed a degree of tenderness comparable to quality veal. But its flavor profile, big and bold, was entirely different. Slowly roasted, the rich layers of marbled fat had broken down, creating a luscious mouth feel as well.

I paired this classic with two steakhouse favorites — asparagus with Hollandaise and tater tots. The asparagus, ideally in tune with the early spring we’re enjoying, was offered either grilled or steamed. We opted for the former, and delighted in one of the very best versions of “mother sauce” Hollandaise we’ve ever sampled, warm, viscous and eggy.

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1. Michael Russo said... on Jun 19, 2014 at 09:03AM

“The steak was flavorless almost as if it was cooked in mid evil time!! The hash brown that came with my tasteless texture less steak was not eatable. The best part of the meal were the onion rings and paying the over priced check so I could end this disappointing night. You want good steak? River Palm Terrace, Edgewater, New Jersey, Bergen County. Rated a 10 in my book I don't have a problem putting down good money for quality food but this place is over rated and is an expensive And not worth your time! No second chance for me”


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