The A.C. Weekly staff has eclectic tastes in dining.
There’s Editor Pamela Dollak, an Italian girl with a penchant for the finer things who was recently gifted a T-shirt that says she “only cares about pasta.” Her tastes are both adventurous and basic (typical Gemini), and she can often be found trying out new and interesting restaurants. There’s Associate Editor Ryan Loughlin, whose culinary tastes have been described as “broad” and “indulgent” — just think of him as your down-to-earth foodie. And Associate Editor Rebecca King, whose absence of any food allergies has surely saved her life, as she’s always just eating things without asking what they are. Some call her open minded. Others call her unobservant.
As you can imagine, picking a place for a company dinner is a nightmare. But, never you mind, as Atlantic City Restaurant Week is here, with enough options for every taste. We — Pamela, Ryan and Rebecca — have each chosen six restaurants, one for each day of Restaurant Week, which runs from Sunday to Friday, March 4 to 9.
For example, Pamela skips lunch daily, so she is only choosing restaurants for a great dinner deal. Additionally, she’s opting to eat at places outside of A.C.
Rebecca doesn’t go out to eat much beyond her own hometown, of Hammonton, so she is taking Restaurant Week to explore the A.C. dining scene and revisit some old favorites.
We’ve all seen it. Players furiously pounding the screen of a slot machine, shouting at it w…
And Ryan is opting to use Restaurant Week to put together a sort of “greatest hits” of his favorite spots to eat in Atlantic City.
SUNDAY: The Continental (dinner)
Aesthetically, The Continental is a treat. It has a vaguely ‘50s vibe, with different, whimsical rooms inside. A personal favorite of mine is one that looks like a giant beehive. On top of the decor, one of The Continental’s Restaurant Week entrées is its Chicken & Waffles, which are raved about far and wide. But I’ll be the judge of that.
MONDAY: Okatshe (dinner)
Here at A.C. Weekly, we’ve been talking up Okatshe (and its sister restaurant Olon) since it opened last year. And yet, despite reading a ton of articles about how great it is and looking at tempting photos of the food, I never actually got around to going there. But with dinner entrees like Batubara (pork belly) and a chicken thigh strangely called “Mom” on the menu, Restaurant Week seems like the perfect time to visit.
TUESDAY: Cuba Libre (dinner)
Another Tropicana location I’m excited to hit during Restaurant Week is Cuba Libre. I used to hate Latin flavors in my meals, but slowly, thanks to my Cuban college roommate, who saved me her leftovers and taught me that empanadas are the eighth wonder of the world, I began to realize my folly. So, Cuba Libre is a natural stop on my journey to expand my palate. And they have empanadas on their Restaurant Week menu …
WEDNESDAY: Girasole (lunch)
I recently wrote a story about Girasole Owner Gino Iovino and his fashion obsession with Versace. When Gianni Versace (whose name has been on the lips of many since the “American Crime Story” season about him premiered) was alive, he had a great working relationship with Iovino, and, as a result, Girasole is decked in Versace décor. For this reason — and because it’s conveniently serving both lunch and dinner — I’m planning on making a stylish stop at Girasole during Restaurant Week.
1. The vibe. Firewaters in Tropicana recently underwent a major change in aesthetic. The bar…
THURSDAY: Ram’s Head Inn (lunch)
It’s not often in my life that I find a reason to head to a swanky place like Ram’s Head Inn. I’m sure many feel the same, which is exactly why Restaurant Week is great — because it offers people the chance to dig into restaurants that otherwise might be out of their price point. Ram’s Head isn’t holding back with its Restaurant Week menu, either, with a ton of options available for both lunch and dinner.
FRIDAY: AC Burger Co. (dinner)
In contrast to places like Ram’s Head Inn, there are also more down-to-earth restaurants on the Restaurant Week lineup, like AC Burger Co. It will offer up some filling, familiar dishes like nachos, burgers and fries. But the dessert is why it’s on my list — milkshakes. Enough said.
SUNDAY: Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill (lunch)
Generally, you head to a celebrity chef owned restaurant for a fancy meal, but the beauty of Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill is that it’s versatile enough for a casual meal or a fancy splurge-style night out. Personally, I’m going to head over for lunch this Restaurant Week. While I am exited for the whole meal, anyone who has been here can tell you the star of the show is the sticky toffee pudding — a dessert so insanely delicious one should not attempt to eat it unless they are seated in a well built chair, as knees have been known to buckle after the first forkful.
Back Bay Ale House (lunch)
I take a lot of ribbing from my coworkers over my obsession with Back Bay Ale House. Not that everyone here doesn’t like it as well, just that I seem to bring it up whenever anyone talks about favorite spots in Atlantic City. But there is a reason — it’s awesome! While it is undoubtedly at its strongest during the warmer months of spring and summer, Back Bay is a great spot for a Restaurant Week lunch as well. Warning: the cream of crab soup will have you rearranging your priorities as far as what is important in life.
TUESDAY: Dock’s Oyster House (dinner)
Dock’s is an A.C. legend and for good reason. They consistently put out some of the best seafood anywhere in an atmosphere that is somehow both classic and contemporary, thanks to some extensive renovations in the last few years. The menu for Restaurant Week includes some great options like fried jumbo shrimp and pecan-crusted salmon, but it’s the champagne leek broiled oysters that I am most excited about. Buttery and delicious, this is one of the top apps in town.
WEDNESDAY: Il Verdi (dinner)
OK, so I must admit I have never been to Il Verdi, but at the Restaurant Week preview event that was held a few weeks back, I was lucky enough to sample the rigatoni bolognese — and I was blown away. Loaded with sausage, creamy and delicious, this is one meal I can’t wait to chow down on.
THURSDAY: Martorano’s (dinner)
While the “yo cuz” catchphrase and tough-guy posturing may be a bit off putting to some, the food at Martorano’s is superb. Bucatini carbonara is the standout here as far as entrees go, and the meatball appetizer is the stuff of legend.
FRIDAY: Broadway Burger Bar (lunch)
There are a lot of spots to grab a burger in Atlantic City, but few are as tasty as Broadway Burger Bar. It’s 8 ounces of Angus beef with your choice of cheese seated comfortably on a truly perfect brioche bun. Located in the Quarter at Tropicana Atlantic City, this is the perfect place for a Restaurant Week lunch.
SUNDAY: Sage (dinner)
According to Lionel Richie, Sunday mornings are “easy.” I think Sunday nights should be too. That’s why I kick off A.C. Restaurant Week at Chef Lisa Savage’s casually cool BYO Sage in Ventnor. I start with the crispy artichokes with garlic mayo followed by slow-roasted short ribs with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus, and end with my personal favorite: Key lime pie.
MONDAY: Assaggio! (dinner)
After visiting and writing about EHC’s Assaggio! last year, it immediately became one of my favorite Italian restaurants in South Jersey. Chef Jorge Barreto is a master at the stove, carefully creating his homemade pastas daily — regular and gluten-free. While I’m tempted to have Barreto’s light and delicate calamari, I opt for his house specialty to start, the eggplant involtini. And even though it’s Monday, I can never resist a dish of Sunday Gravy — particularly when made by Barreto. He makes it like my grandmother did, with braciole, meatballs and sausage. Just for fun, tonight’s dessert will be peanut butter pie.
TUESDAY: Johnny’s (dinner)
Who says you can’t have Italian food two nights in a row? Certainly no one in my family. And some of the best around is at Johnny’s in Margate. With a purple glow emanating throughout the dining room, white leather booths, modern chandeliers and those black floor-to-ceiling fringe curtains, sure, it’s like walking into a scene from a quintessential Hollywood mobster film, but hey, that’s part of its charm. But fuhgheddaboudat. It’s the food that, um, “keeps pulling you back in.” I start light, with a house salad, so I have enough room for the bowtie Rosemarie, with lump crabmeat in a spicy blush sauce. I don’t know who this Rosemarie is but, mamma mia!
WEDNESDAY: Tomatoe’s (dinner)
As an editor, it took me a loooong time to get over the spelling of this joint. In fact, I may not really be over it. But I have put my editorial brain aside so that my ravenous belly can eat in peace here. While Tomatoe’s may be known for its incredible sushi — which is big deal on Wednesdays, aka Social Sushi nights — the whole menu, with plenty of Asian-inspired dishes, is wonderful. Tonight I’m going for the Carmen sushi roll to start, of course, and the brown rice Buddha bowl with tofu, chicken, carrot, avocado, snow peas, peanuts, cilantro and a scallion mustard vinaigrette for my entrée. Dessert? Warm chocolate chip cookies with ice cream, please.
THURSDAY: Sofia (dinner)
Entering Sofia is like entering another world. Gorgeous iron work serpentines the rooms, live jazz permeates the space on Thursdays and the giant, illuminated tree behind the bar is unlike anything you’ve seen behind any other bar. But it’s the Mediterranean-style food that really draws me in. Actually, it takes me away. To a warm and sunny Greek isle with multi-hued beaches and azure-colored waters. And after my meal of Greek octopus, Youvetsi (braised lamb shank with spinach orzo) and baklava, I want to stay.
FRIDAY: Steve & Cookie’s (dinner)
I choose to end A.C. Restaurant Week at one of my personal favorites, Steve & Cookie’s by the Bay. After ordering a vodka martini with blue cheese olives at the bar, I sit to begin my meal with lobster mac & cheese with orecchiette, loads of lobster, layered with cheddar and gruyere. Some may say it’s boring to end my six-night culinary journey with salmon. But those people have never had S&C’s pan-seared Skuna Bay salmon. Light, flaky and full of flavor, it’s paired with roasted Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, a sage mustard cream and walnuts. The night — and my delicious week — ends with the homemade brownie pie.