Seven days of specials from lunches to suppers in and around the Atlantic City area March 2-8
Having endured the most harrowing winter in 20 years, Atlantic City’s upcoming Restaurant Week serves as a most appealing reminder that the promise of spring remains only a few short weeks away. With 83 eateries involved regionally, this sixth annual event, Sunday, March 2, through Saturday, March 8, offers a virtual cornucopia of dining alternatives.
Whether tastes run toward casual or fine, ethnic or traditional, there is literally something — more accurately multiple somethings — for everyone.
The format remains simple; three-course, prix-fixe menus for lunch at $15.14 and dinner for $33.14. This concept is a win for all involved. Adventurous patrons are provided access to unfamiliar places at almost painless price points. Kitchens get a chance to demonstrate creativity, often test-marketing potential new menu items.
The economic trickle-down benefits are undeniable, as Atlantic City Restaurant Week brings badly needed late-winter foot traffic and generates significant residual public relations value for the resort.
So, after extensive thought and consideration, here are our suggestions for 2014.
It seems appropriate to commence with A.C.’s most iconic restaurant, the Knife and Fork. Lunch here is a one-off deal, served Friday only and from past experience, will fill quickly. Newly installed chef Jim Huntzinger plans selections honoring tradition, like their venerable corn and crab chowder with jalapeno cream, crab cakes and elevated fish and chips starring beer battered flounder accompanied by smashed fingerlings. Sliced filet mignon salad with arugula, grape tomatoes, shaved parm and citrus vinaigrette provides a fine option for carnivores.
Pacific Avenue-fronting Italian gem Girasole possesses chic, sun-dappled interiors and one of the most extensive midday food listings. Starters range from Caesar salad to a pair of carpaccios — beef and tuna — and pizzas of margherita and fra diavolo persuasion. Big plates include house-made pastas like tagliatelle with Bolognese sauce, spaghetti carbonara, farfalle with smoked salmon in tomato blush and rigatoni Girasole, a cool riff on traditional Roman sauce amatriciana.
One of the mainland’s prettiest spots, The Inn at Sugar Hill in Mays Landing, overlooks a scenic watery locale. Tempting you on a brief ride west are lunch entrees the likes of walnut-crusted salmon with basil butter and lemon vinaigrette, meatloaf — featuring beef sourced from Colorado’s Myers Ranch — and mushroom gravy, pan-seared crab cake with roasted tomato remoulade or a dynamic arugula salad tossed with agave nectar roasted pear, dried cherries, crushed walnuts, goat cheese and a chipotle-pomegranate vinaigrette.
New to Linwood’s Central Square, multi-branded chef Luke Palladino’s Seasonal Italian Cooking delights with high-profile fare. Begin with hearty Umbrian heirloom bean soup, sweet and sour butternut squash with toasted garlic, vinegar and mint or marinated beets, tarragon and pistachio.
Then select from a chef’s daily pasta — which should make for really brilliant stuff — or a choice from among three paninis plus their whole wheat strozzapreti pasta with broccoli rabe, roasted grape tomatoes and garlic.
Another elegant mainland facility, Galloway Township’s Ram’s Head Inn, proposes lunch apps of house-smoked salmon, lobster bisque and spaetzle — delightful German-style pasta, underrepresented in southern New Jersey — with sage butter sauce. Then choose from among lobster ravioli, capon chicken stuffed with risotto and a wild mushroom sauce, their signature copper kettle chicken pot pie or pork tenderloin with Brussels sprouts, cranberries, bacon and sweet and sour glaze.
The most exotic collection of midday dining arrives courtesy of Borgata’s Noodles of the World. An anomaly during Restaurant Week, NOW only presents a lunch menu, with no evening option. Anticipate traditional edamame, Korean specialty kimchi (potent pickled Napa cabbage with garlic and chiles) chicken satay, hot and sour or vegetable soup apps. Then explore a bit further with items like Hong Kong beef fried rice, kimchi fried rice, pork lo mein or chicken pad Thai.
Similarly only serving during lunch hours, Bill’s Burger Bar at Harrah’s has a most unusual patty preparation, Kobe burger with brie, apple butter, caramelized onion and sautéed spinach.
If you have not yet visited Iron Chef Marc Forgione’s thoroughly modern new-age steak house, American Cut at Revel, here’s an ideal opportunity, with smart starts like tuna tartare with miso dashi, calamansi lime and American caviar, OG 1924 Caesar salad or Schaller and Weber bacon accompanied by the house’s MF steak sauce and black onion. Choose big plates from among a ten ounce filet, Bell and Evans chicken under a brick or Dad’s planked salmon (honoring Forgione’s chef father, Larry, a famed NYC restaurateur.) Each is accompanied by a choice of three sides; carrot glazed carrots, wood fired cream spinach or potato puree “Robuchon.”
Galloway Township’s Assaggio! warrants a trip to Atlantic County’s northern outskirts for items like pan-seared scallops wrapped in prosciutto with orange and fig marmalade, broccoli raab sautéed with sweet sausage and classic eggplant rolletini. Four planned entrees are pasta Assaggio, a sampler trio of styles, broiled flounder stuffed with spinach, shrimp and mozzarella, chicken Marlee encrusted with mushrooms and seasoned bread crumbs in Dijon Alfredo sauce or veal Pantano, breaded cutlet topped with arugula, tomato and roasted pepper salad.
Another Revel outlet, Robert Wiedemaier’s Mussel Bar and Grill, evidences admirable vision and an inspired bill of fare starting with choices of wild gulf shrimp bisque, a complex roasted beet salad accented by sheep milk feta, candied walnuts and maple bacon vinaigrette, Caesar salad or ½ lb. of Blue Bay mussels in white wine. Larger plates really dazzle: pan-roasted “Everything” salmon, aided by Benton’s bacon boursin, Brussels puree and fried Brussel sprouts, cave-aged Gruyere mussels, fingerlings, pancetta and gremolata, herb-roasted natural chicken, Gruyere polenta, horseradish farmer’s cheese, shaved radish and mushroom cream. But for our money, Dean’s famous Kobe beef burger is the wise play; topped with smoked mozz, balsamic-tossed arugula and BBQ tomato jam on a house-made Brioche bun.
Newly expanded and repositioned, Nero’s Chop House and Sushi Bar at Caesars showcases the skills of veteran A.C. culinary figure Keith Mitchell. Each item on their bill of fare represents classic Continental cuisine from his contemporary point-of-view. Sample Nero’s chop salad; tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, peppers, feta cheese and red wine vinaigrette, escargot crostini in Burgundy wine with triple cream brie, herb pesto and Pernod or crab and shrimp Louis, Gulf crab and shrimp, creamy Louis dressing, butter lettuce and homemade oyster crackers.
Show-stopping entrees begin with a pretzel-crusted local flounder, mashed potatoes and mustard buerre blanc, grilled filet mignon sided by roasted asparagus, crispy fingerling potatoes and port wine sauce and a fabulous-sounding petite mixed grill composed of Kobe rib cap, Cape May scallop and Gulf shrimp with an autumn grain salad.
Cozy and historic, the Grill Room at Seaview Resort in Galloway serves upscale pub fare in a clubby, convivial atmosphere. Their presentations properly reflect that environment. Start with soup — either chowder or tomato — or a pair of salads, watermelon with arugula and goat cheese or Caesar. Entrees are led by a hefty 16-ounce rib eye — the very best cut of steak, for our money — with charred tomato, roasted long hots and fingerlings and Seaview scallops, sided by succotash, corn, mushrooms, tomatoes, poblano peppers and green beans with a tomato vinaigrette.
Atlantic City’s best views come gratis at The Pier Shops at Caesars’ Continental restaurant. Portioned for sharing, their plates are consistently full of whimsy and stylish technique. General manager Jonathan Karp — himself a top-notch chef — is one of the region’s most professional, affable restaurant folk.
Visit during Restaurant Week and you’ll enjoy a choice of apps that include Thai chicken skewers, crispy Brussels sprouts or fish taco apps. We’d implore you towards the chicken and waffle entrée with applewood-smoked bacon gravy, but you also can’t go wrong with seared tuna, flat iron steak, BBQ salmon or pad Thai. Don’t miss the house-made beignet dessert, a classic New Orleans treat, served with berries and elderberry honey dip.
Golden Nugget’s seafood anchor the Chart House closes out its menu with a truly decadent sweet, their mini lava cake. Rich chocolate enrobes a molten center rich with Godiva liqueur. Served warm, a Heath Bar crunch and vanilla ice cream accompany this house signature, one of A.C. most elegant desserts.
Tropicana’s entry in the seafood category, Fin, plates a trio of treats. Headed by their own cacao-infused specialty, chocolate jubilation cake they also present Meyer lemon cheesecake and Tahitian vanilla crème brulee.
Margate bastion Tomatoe’s may be known as the area’s finest sushi purveyor — for good reason — but the divine desserts of co-owner Karen Rone have concluded many great meals for us. Her offerings are a banana spice cake with vanilla-scented cream cheese frosting and Lemoncello gelato, derived from potent Italian liqueur infused with citrus.
Finally, another local landmark, Northfield’s A.C. Country Club Tap Room Bar and Grill, convenes a trio of unusual endings: Chef Ed Daggers’ butterscotch pie with warm chocolate sauce, mile high coconut cream pie with mango sauce and the single most wildly inventive closing concoction we saw on any R.W. menu, red velvet waffles, popcorn and buttermilk ice creams finished by chocolate malt sauce.
Our only disclaimer: not all restaurants open daily, please consult the official Web site: acrestaurantweek.com for complete details and schedules of individual participants.
ABOVE: Sofia of Margate is one of the restaurants outside of Atlantic City participating in this year's Atlantic City Restaurant Week.
Restaurant Week Participants
6ix A Bistro
Bally’s Atlantic City, Park Place & The Boardwalk, Atlantic City
Phone: 340-2000 x1555
Lunch: Su, F, S (Noon-4pm)
Dinner: Su, F, S (4-10pm)
Parking: Casino Parking Garage / Valet Parking
A Touch of Italy
6629 Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township
Lunch: (Not Offered)
Dinner: Su, M, T, W, Th, F (3:45-10:30pm)
Parking: Onsite Parking
Arriving on a foggy, windswept midday at Atlantic City’s landmark Knife and Fork Inn, valet traffic for the venerable eatery — offering lunch Friday only — was backed up on Atlantic Avenue.
Plus, Maxwell Awards at Revel, Atlantic City Restaurant Week Extended and the Album of the Week.
On the evening before the latest snowstorm hit the area, Atlantic City Restaurant Week began yesterday (March 2) and continues through March 8. For those you are unaware of this special yearly culinary extravaganza, more than 80 regional restaurants offer special three course menus – appetizer, entrée and dessert – for a fixed price of $33.14 for dinner and $15.14 for lunch plus beverages, tax and tip.
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When Doreen Prinzo first began envisioning a local restaurant week event, way back in August 2007, she never imagined it would grow to include more than 70 participants in its initial year. Prinzo,...
The success of 2013’s Atlantic City Restaurant Week was made apparent to this writer during its first few hours.
Nearly 80 restaurants in Atlantic County are offering dining deals for the fifth annual culinary bonanza March 3-9.
Restaurant Week extends from Sunday through Saturday, March 4-10, and offers a three-course lunch for $15.12 and similar dinner for only $33.12 (many eateries may also extend the promotion beyond those dates.)
After enjoying Atlantic City Restaurant Week last year, there was no doubt I planned to seek out another great meal at an excellent price during this year’s special culinary event.
Poised to celebrate its second birthday, Atlantic City’s Restaurant Week — Sunday, Feb. 28 through Saturday, March 6 — has quickly matured into a precocious, hotly anticipated event. Managed through the auspices of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority (ACCVA), participants run a wide gamut of cuisines, styles and price points. They also provide the dining public opportunities to sample both lunch and dinner at many regional establishments. The last element of the equation are manageable prix fixe charges: $15.10 lunches and $33.10 dinners.
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