Your guide to this year's A.C. Restaurant Week, Feb. 27 - March 5.
Are you prepared to explore the finest foods, and restaurants, our region has to offer?
We hope so, because Atlantic City Restaurant Week — presented by the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority (ACCVA) — looms just ahead on the calendar.
The event kicks off with a sold-out VIP preview on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at the Atlantic City Country Club in Northfield.
Two hundred lucky ticket holders will be feted with a sample tasting menu from a dozen participating restaurants.
As for the rest of us, the real fun begins Sunday, Feb. 27.
From that day through Saturday, March 5, more than 70 Atlantic County eateries will be serving their three-course, prix-fixe menus, as part of Atlantic City’s annual Restaurant Week.
Priced at $15.11 for lunch, and $33.11 for dinner, these represent some of the biggest-bang-for-your-buck values to be found anywhere.
The most noticeable change in 2011, from our perspective, is the way local chefs seem to have risen to the challenge.
With Restaurant Week poised to enter its third campaign, there appears to be a heightened level of competition.
Creative, inspired menus featuring ingredients one doesn’t always expect to find.
Particularly at these modest price points.
Having said that, here are some guidelines, general information and opinions designed to assist in planning your dining.
Let’s start with lunch.
More than three dozen restaurants will include the $15.11 midday deal, although we would strongly suggest contacting individual participants prior to venturing out.
They include: Atlantic City’s 6ix a Bistro at Bally’s, Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern, Blue Water Grille, Buddakan, Carmine’s, The Continental, Evo at Trump Plaza, Girasole, Il Mulino/Trattoria Il Mulino at Trump Taj Mahal, Knife and Fork (Friday only), Los Amigos, McCormick and Schmick’s at Harrah’s, Noodles of the World at Borgata, Ono, Pan-Asian Bistro (Sunday only), Phillips Seafood, Plate American Cafe at Taj Mahal, Redding’s, Reflections Cafe, Teplitzky’s at The Chelsea, The Cafe at Trump Marina, The Melting Pot, The Metropolitan at Borgata and The Tun Tavern.
Outside Atlantic City itself: Margate’s Manna and Johnny’s Cafe, the aforementioned Atlantic City Country Club, Egg Harbor Township’s Touch of Italy, East Bay Crab and Grill, Harbor Pines Golf Club and Pistol Pete’s Steakhouse and Saloon.
Other participants include The Smithville Inn and Fred and Ethel’s in Smithville, Galloway Township’s Ram’s Head Inn, Egg Harbor CIty’s Joseph’s Tuscany House at Renault Golf Resort, Brigantine’s Laguna Grill and Mays Landing’s Inn at Sugar Hill (Friday only.)
Among the inspired midday offerings are porcini mushroom ravioli with champagne cream sauce and truffles at the Taj Mahal’s Il Mulino New York; a half pound Black Angus burger with cilantro pesto, provolone cheese and roasted peppers from A.C.’s only brewpub, The Tun Tavern; Thai chicken salad, a Bento box and Zen-ful donuts at Buddakan; grilled mahi-mahi with Thai curry sauce and coconut almond rice from fellow Pier Shops at Caesars dweller Phillips Seafood; jumbo lump crab, fennel and tomato risotto (a personal favorite) courtesy of Margate’s Manna and copper kettle chicken pot pie at Galloway’s timeless Ram’s Head Inn.
Perhaps the most dynamic promotion of the week comes from the Hilton’s Ono. The pretty, oceanfront facility will serve a spectacular Sunday-only brunch. Among the choices you can anticipate are shrimp, clams and oysters, smoked salmon, sushi, pasta omelet and carving stations plus an array of exotic, Pacific-Rim desserts.
For your evening’s enjoyment, the selections are even more diverse.
Like pan-seared scallops set atop a saute of shaved Brussels sprouts and shiitake mushrooms with an apple cider gastrique plus truffled potato croquettes from Lisa Savage’s Sage in Ventnor.
Or a lemon/thyme seared Hawaiian shutome (swordfish) with rock shrimp risotto, grilled long stem artichokes and black olive tapenade at Bally’s The Reserve.
How about Wolfgang Puck’s American Grille, plating up a mesquite grilled ribeye with Tuscan-style potatoes and Armagnac-peppercorn sauce?
Fellow Borgata resident SeaBlue, a seafood emporium, stretches to present a classic filet “Rossini,” rich with indulgent foie gras and pinot noir reduction.
Italian aficionados should consult Harrah’s Resort’s Polistina’s for tagliolini all’ Amalfitana — house-made noodles with jumbo shrimp, heirloom grape tomatoes and wild arugula, plus a spectacular sounding dessert, nocciolata con gelato al caffe; chocolate Frangelico sponge cake layers bound by nutella cream served with coffee gelato.
Among the eye-catching seafood options is a roasted halibut chop with garlic spinach, saffron potatoes and lobster Bordelaise sauce at Nero’s Grill inside Caesars Atlantic City.
Another is from Egg Harbor City’s Joseph’s Restaurant, part of the Renault Golf and Winery complex. Their kitchen will serve grilled Scottish salmon — considered by most chefs to be the world’s finest — with black garlic aioli, field mushrooms, warm pancetta vinaigrette and risotto.
Elegant Mia at Caesars, one of Atlantic City’s most dramatic dining spaces, includes a crispy Durade — a white meat Mediterranean fish — with butternut squash puree, root vegetables and Vermouth butter sauce on their nightly bill of fare.
Showboat’s Rib and Chophouse features an app of veal cheek ravioli and homemade farmer’s cheese, then a main of charbroiled Moroccan spiced sirloin with raz al hanout (a spice blend meaning “top of the shop” typically containing cardamon, cloves, chili, cinnamon, coriander and cumin) sided by a cippolini onion confit.
See what we meant about chefs bringing their best?
Jeff Vasser, president of the ACCVA, credits staffers Maureen Siman, VP of marketing; Doreen Prinzo, manager of marketing partnerships; and Elaine Zamansky, media relations, for smoothly coordinating the 2011 event.
Prinzo is especially lauded, as Vasser tells Atlantic City Weekly that “she took the lead” working with the local restaurant community.
Vasser adds: “There is a lot more anticipation from both the customer as well as the restaurants this year.”
Advance ticket sales, always a barometer, are “up about 15 percent” and Vasser says that customers are “much more strategic in how they are going to attack.”
As for restaurateurs, “They are using this as a marketing tool, with many maintaining prices an extra week to build incremental business.”
ATLANTIC CITY RESTAURANT WEEK PARTICIPANTS:
6ix a Bistro, Bally’s
Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern
Blue Water Grille
Buddakan, The Pier at Caesar’s
Carmine’s, The Quarter at Trop
Casa Di Napoli, Showboat
Chelsea Prime, Chelsea Hotel
Continental, The Pier at Caesar’s
Cuba Libre. The Quarter at Trop
DJ’s Steakhouse, Trump Marina
Dock’s Oyster House
Evo, Trump Plaza
Fin at Tropicana
Gallagher’s Steakhouse, Resorts
Harborview, Trump Marina
Il Mulino, Trump Taj Mahal
Knife and Fork Inn
Max’s Steakhouse, Trump Plaza
McCormick and Schmick’s, Harrah’s
Morton’s The Steakhouse, Caesar’s
N.O.W. (Noodles of the World) Borgata
Nero’s Grille, Caesars
Ono- Pan Asian Bistro, Hilton
OSHI Sushi and Sake, Showboat
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, The Quarter at Trop
Patsy’s Italian, Hilton
Phillips Seafood, The Pier at Caesars
Plate American Cafe, Trump Taj Mahal
Red Square, The Quarter at Trop
Rib and Chophouse, Showboat
Roberto’s, Trump Plaza
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Simon Prime steak house, Hilton
Teplitzky’s, Chelsea Hotel
The Cafe, Trump Marina
The Foundation Room, House of Blues, Showboat
The Melting Pot
The Metropolitan, Borgata
The Palm, Atlantic City
The Reserve Seafood and Steak, Bally’s
Trattoria Il Mulino, Trump Taj Mahal
Tun Tavern Brewery & Restaurant, Sheraton
Wolfgang Puck American Grille, Borgata
Johnny’s Cafe, Margate
Red Room Cafe, Ventnor
Steve and Cookie’s by the Bay, Margate
Fred & Ethyl’s Lantern Light Tavern, Smithville
Historic Smithville Inn, Smithville
Joseph’s Restaurant at Renault Winery, E.H.C.
Ram’s Head Inn, Galloway
Tre Figlio, Galloway
A Touch of Italy, Egg Harbor Township
A.C. Country Club Tap Room Bar & Grill, Northfield
East Bay Crab & Grill, E.H.T.
Harbor Pines Golf Club, E.H.T.
Pistol Pete’s Steakhouse & Saloon, E.H.T.
Laguna Grill & Martini Bar, Brigantine
The Inn at Sugar Hill, Mays Landing
(For a complete listing of all participants, and menus that have not yet been released as of press time, consult the official Web site acrestaurantweek.com.)
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.)
Harrah’s Resorts executive pastry chef, Deborah Pellegrino, has announced she will provide her own desserts for “A Taste of Atlantic City Restaurant Week.” The exclusive preview event takes place Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 6:30 to 8:30pm, at the Atlantic City Country Club.
One of the surest, most accurate indications of a positive dining experience is the personal presence of an owner on-site during service at a restaurant. Accordingly, we were pleased to see owner/namesake Johnny Liccio of Margate’s Johnny’s Cafe and Martini bar actively marshaling front-of-the-house staffers upon our arrival for an early dinner on a Friday night in late April. Liccio, who operates the place along with wife Joanne, possesses a distinguished family food pedigree. This includes being half-brothers with respected Philly and former-shore restauranteur, Joseph Tucker. The couple’s current business, which began its life a few miles up the road in Ventnor, has found a cozy home in the posh southernmost environs of Absecon Island. With three separate, distinct spaces, Johnny’s offers multiple atmospheres and experiences. Immediately upon entry, customers are greeted by a beguiling, ivory-hued bar and lounge. Then, the first of two dining rooms, bright, airy and open. Finally, a more private section, to the facility’s far right side, bathed in springy, pastel tones. For those who remember the real estate’s previous incarnation as a neighborhood diner, the transformation is remarkable. Which brings us to another important point about Johnny’s. They are also one of a small handful of restaurants offering full service —...
I love Atlantic City Restaurant Week. As someone on a budget, I rarely indulge in dining out, which is a crying shame since there are so many outstanding dining options in the region. However, when Restaurant Week rolls around, I take advantage of the outstanding fixed price of $33.11 for dinner and $15.11 for lunch.
Culinary fans can enjoy a sneak preview of Restaurant Week (Feb. 27-March 5) at “A Taste of Atlantic City Restaurant Week” on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 6:30-8:30pm, at the Atlantic City Country Club.
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.