Eating Our Way Through ... Mohegan Sun
(page 3 of 4)
> Team 3: Charley Monagan and Dave Holahan
The editor gets to go and brings along a freelance writer (they’re always starving):
Geno’s Fastbreak. With photos of UConn women’s basketball action on the walls, this is clearly Coach Geno Auriemma’s baby—a multiheaded child that includes Italian, Mexican and Asian food stations, a pub, a deli counter that features crispy fried chicken and a dessert/breakfast bread/pastry stop. We kick off the day on a low-key note with a substantial apple Danish and sfogliatelle (Dave, getting fancy) along with coffee.
Johnny Rockets. This is where Charley commits a fundamental error for so early in the day: He orders and rather rapidly consumes a chocolate milkshake along with a basic cheeseburger and a side that combines french fries and onion rings. Dave goes for the cheese steak (he didn’t like having to pay extra for peppers) but sensibly ignores the shake menu. This is a retro malt shop with decor that evokes post-World War II America and music that tends to be a bit later on the timeline. The shake, by the way, served in a metal container and then poured into a glass, is great, the fries and rings are good and crisp, but the burger is easily beaten elsewhere in the casino (see Bobby’s Burger Palace, Michael Jordan’s 23.sportscafe and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, for instance).
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana. Imagine Pepe’s with its coal-fired brick oven intact, its pizza-making skills at their peak and little or no line at all to get in at certain times of the day. That’s what we find here. We also find a special slice of Connecticut heaven, with a nicely charred, thin-crusted white clam pie and Foxon Park white birch soda (Charley) and a vegetable pizza topped with chicken (Dave). Our friendly and capable server, Susan, realizes Dave’s pie has been made without the chicken and wonders if he wants to get started on it anyway while another one is prepared properly. He does.
Jasper White’s Summer Shack. After a pleasant interlude on Margaritaville’s Porch of Indecision (see next page), we return to the fray with a visit here and a hankering for some seafood. This is a very large “shack,” indeed, with tables drifting out into the distance on a couple of levels, an open kitchen, a big, lively bar and a gift shop (a trend at Mohegan Sun eateries if there ever was one). We sit at the bar, where we can watch what our neighbors are eating, and where they can watch us slurp down raw littlenecks and cherrystones, and savor tender Bomster scallops (the best—from Stonington) served with a nectarine, corn and tomato salsa.
Ben & Jerry’s. No, there is no need to sample a milkshake here, although they have them. And sundaes, floats and banana splits, too. Just a couple of small cones, please, of your wonderful ice cream—plain vanilla and mint chocolate cookie. Creamy and delicious as always.
Todd English’s Tuscany. Beneath the waterfall we go, entering a grottolike space with subdued lighting, rustic stone, rich drapery and iron chandeliers. The server urges us to try the corn soup; we do and find it delicious, with the flavor of fresh corn and a crab salsa in the middle, though it’s served at just a little above room temperature. Moving forward, we make a meal of Tuscany’s marvelous pasta. Dave orders chicken Calabrese, featuring shredded chicken, grilled squash, spicy tomato brodo and herb pasta. Charley’s is penne à la Lombardi, with sausage, tomatoes, escarole, caramelized onions and white beans.