Eating Our Way Through ... Foxwoods
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> Team 4: Charley Monagan and Jeffrey Wilson
The editor goes along just to keep an eye on things and brings along musician, former restaurant owner and old friend Jeff Wilson.
The Market (MGM). This food court is pretty quiet at 11:30 on a Saturday morning. It’s new and attractive, with views out into the woods that border the casino. There are separate stations here for burgers, seafood at Durgin Park Oyster & Chowder Bar (not yet open for the day), Asian stir-fry, Italian, a deli and a Cake Masters pastry stand. We begin tentatively with a bagel and muffin but almost immediately take the plunge with an Asian stir-fry three-fer: bourbon chicken, orange chicken and General Tso’s chicken. A surprisingly good way to start the dining day.
Gelato Café (MGM). After our first run at MGM Grand’s gaming facilities (one of us wins a quick $158, the other is not so lucky), we decide there’s no such thing as a bad time for gelato, so we head for this very pleasant stop along the sun-splashed corridor connecting Foxwoods with MGM Grand. Perhaps it’s the pistachio coloration of the café that has Charley ordering a double-scoop of pistachio and vanilla gelato. It’s a generous serving for $4.50, but the flavors, while good, are a little mild. Meanwhile, Jeff has ordered a sampler plate of blueberry, cheese and apple puff pastries and a couple of hot chocolates. Sandwiches, panini and piatatta are also available here. We pass for now.
DB Prime. This is one place not to miss at Foxwoods. It’s a big, comfortable, open room with an open kitchen. There are cowhide accents on the booth backs and an attractive glass-walled bar. We enter to the strains of Harry Nilsson’s “Jump into the Fire” (appropriate for a steak place?) and stumble into one of the great luncheon deals of all time: petit filet, pommes frites, crab cakes, prime rib sandwich and two surf/two turf dumplings—all for $32 plus tax and tip. We also tried—had to try—DB’s “Connecticut Chowder,” a creamy/chunky concoction that a bit messily includes a bacon/potato dumpling and two littlenecks in the shell. Other pluses at DB Prime: terrific, friendly service, an impressive wine tower and great by-the-glass wine selection and possibly the best burger (yes, we tried one of those, too) at Foxwoods/MGM Grand, although serving the fries in a little metal fryer is an example of a cute idea on paper that awkwardly takes up too much room on the plate.
California Pizza Kitchen. Sure, it’s a chain that’s based in California, and sure, it has alien pizza selections such as Pear and Gorgonzola or Vegetarian with Japanese Eggplant, but we arrive hungry for starters and cold beer, and we aren’t disappointed. Charley blurts out that he could eat the Avocado Club Egg Rolls (avocado, chicken, tomato, Monterey Jack cheese and bacon wrapped in a crispy wonton roll) “forever,” which almost immediately seems like too long a time. The Cabo Crab Cake, plump with blue-crab meat and served with a roasted-corn-and-black-bean salsa, is not far behind.
Cedars. One of Foxwoods’ first restaurants remains one of its best. Cedars features a large, clubby room with lots of dark wood and a distinctive Native American feel to the decor. The menu leans heavily toward excellent cuts of beef, but perhaps because of our beef blowout earlier at DB Prime, we are content with other offerings. Charley’s thick cut of swordfish, grilled simply and paired with a glass of Pouilly-Fuissé, is perfectly fresh and luscious. Jeff’s Colorado lamb chops are equally thick and cooked perfectly to order. Our day ends in a state of comfort and contentment.