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Atlantic City Restaurant Week Preview

Your guide to this year's A.C. Restaurant Week, Feb. 27 - March 5.

By Frank Gabriel
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Feb. 9, 2011

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The Tun Tavern is among several Atlantic City and Atlantic County restaurants participating in the special dining promotion.

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.

The result?

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:

 

ATLANTIC CITY

6ix a Bistro, Bally’s

Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern

Arturo’s, Bally’s

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

Fornelletto, Borgata

Gallagher’s Steakhouse, Resorts

Girasole

Harborview, Trump Marina

Il Mulino, Trump Taj Mahal

Izakaya, Borgata

Knife and Fork Inn

Los Amigos

Max’s Steakhouse, Trump Plaza

McCormick and Schmick’s, Harrah’s

Mia, Caesars

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

Polistina’s, Harrah’s

Primavera, Caesar’s

Red Square, The Quarter at Trop

Redding’s

Reflections, Harrah’s

Rib and Chophouse, Showboat

Roberto’s, Trump Plaza

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

SeaBlue, Borgata

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

DOWNBEACH

Johnny’s Cafe, Margate

Manna, Margate

Red Room Cafe, Ventnor

Sage, Ventnor

Sofia, Margate

Steve and Cookie’s by the Bay, Margate

Tomatoes, Margate

MAINLAND

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.)

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1. cyndy said... on Feb 23, 2011 at 01:08PM

“my husband and i, from cape may, oour aunt and uncle from pa., and some friends went to the vip preview last night at the country club, and want you to know that it was fabulous evening. was very professionaly done. hope they do it again next year. it really was a great night.”

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