Appetizer
Michael Jordan’s Steak House
Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, (860) 862-8600 (michaeljordansteakhouse.com)

No meal at Michael Jordan’s Steak House is complete without a plate of blue-cheese fondue garlic bread. Consisting of ciabatta bread toasted to perfection and smothered in garlic, crumbled domestic blue cheese, parsley, shallots and butter, sliced and stacked on a bed of Maytag fondue (a blend of onions, garlic, white wine, cream and blue cheese) and garnished with chives, this appetizer is truly sublime.

Large
Concert Venue
MGM Grand Theater
MGM Grand at Foxwoods
Mashantucket, (800) 200-2882
(foxwoods.com)

What we love most about the MGM Grand Theater is that although it houses 4,000, it still has an intimate feel, making every seat in the house, whether in orchestra, parterre or mezzanine, a great one. This month, head out to enjoy iconic rapper Snoop Dogg on Sept. 3 or—on the opposite end of the musical spectrum—country crooner Vince Gill on Sept. 23.

Small
Concert Venue
Mohegan Sun Cabaret
Theatre, Uncasville, (888) 226-7711 (mohegansun.com)

Talk about up-close and personal: This little gem of a venue has just 350 seats and every one is a good one. Past performers have included everyone from Tony Bennett and Tony Orlando to Frank Sinatra Jr. and the Indigo Girls. If you’re in it for the laughs, check out the Treehouse Comedy Productions on Friday and Saturday nights, when a mix of stand-up veterans and up-and-comers take over the Cabaret stage.
 

Drink with a View
Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville
Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, (860) 862-2626 (margaritavillemohegansun.com)

Casinos are generally not known for their outdoor features, but one of the lesser-known pleasures at Mohegan Sun is the Porch of Indecision at Margaritaville. Here, casino-goers can find an elevated deck overlooking the Thames River, a great spot for a drink and something to eat before heading back indoors. If you really have a hard time choosing from the drink menu, consider one of these: Off to See the Lizard, 5 O’Clock Somewhere, License to Chill and the always popular Incommunicado.
 

Fiesta
SolToro Tequila Grill
Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, (860) 862-4800 (soltororestaurant.com)

With 198 (!) super-premium 100-percent blue-agave tequilas on the menu you can be certain that, as the saying goes, “It’s always a fiesta” at SolToro. This Michael Jordan restaurant can also be counted on for happening Mexican eats like “Crispy Duck Tacos,” “Mahi Mahi Veracruzana” and hot, hot, hot “Quesadilla Picante.” Get the party started during the “Daily Dos”: $2 bites menu, $3 beers and $6 SolToro margaritas between 4 and 6 p.m. in the bar.
 

Burger
David Burke Prime, Foxwoods,
Mashantucket, (800) 369-9663 (foxwoods.com)

Prime dry-aged steak is the name of the game at David Burke. But with all that top-quality beef around, why not offer a premium burger, too? Dubbed the Bad Boy, it’s a beaut: a succulent patty of Creekstone Farms beef topped with candied bacon, “a whole lot o’ cheese” and fried onions, with chipotle mayo and coleslaw, cooked as you like it, for $13.50. (There’s also a more basic version for $10.50.) The big deal: Thursday through Saturday, noon to 4, you can get a very decent burger here for $5.
 

Martini Bar
Leffingwells (“Wombi Rock”)
Mohegan Sun, Uncasville
(888) 226-7711 (mohegansun.com)

Mohegan Sun’s iconic three-story white onyx “mountain,” outfitted with oversized, plush chairs and intimate lighting, is a sublime location to watch TV sporting events, follow the live action on the casino’s gaming floor from well above the fray or admire the ever-changing star formations on the world’s largest indoor planetarium dome, day and night. And, of course, to enjoy your choice of 20 oversized specialty martinis, in decadent flavors like French pear, banana cream pie and bubblegum. Sure, it can get pricey—but what better place to feel like a high roller no matter how much gambling you do?

Nightclub
Shrine, MGM Grand at Foxwoods
Mashantucket, (860) 312-8888 (shrinemgmfoxwoods.com)

When you step inside Shrine, a nationally acclaimed nightclub at the MGM Grand, you might think you’re actually in Las Vegas. It could be due to the dramatic Asian decor or the 35 VIP tables with bottle service, or maybe it’s the live deejays and celebs who drop in on weekends, but whatever it is, we like it.

Places to Spend Your Winnings
Bulgari, Foxwoods
Mashantucket, (860) 312-4876
(bulgari.com)

Forget baby’s new pair of shoes. When you hit it big at Foxwoods, Bulgari is the place to go. This legendary Italian jeweler, known for its fusion of classical and contemporary design, exceptional gemstones and bold color combos, is all about luxury. Witness the Cerchi pendant necklace: a study in blue topazes, amethysts, green tourmalines, peridots, citrine quartz, rhodolite garnets and pavé diamonds set in 18K yellow gold. (Next problem: Where exactly are you going to wear it?) And we haven’t even started in on the watches, the sunglasses and—oh, my word—the handbags. It’s nice to dream.

Tiffany & Co., Mohegan Sun, Uncasville,
(860) 885-2000, and other locations (tiffany.com)

What better way to celebrate your winnings than to treat yourself to some fine jewelry? Tiffany & Co. has it all—men and women’s jewelry, watches, diamonds and engagement pieces for your own precious gem. With designers such as Elsa Peretti, Paloma Picasso and Frank Gehry, as well as Tiffany’s own 1837, Jazz, Sparklers, Swing and Twist collections, to name a few—you can walk out of the casino in high style. Check the website for a full list of all their stunning silver.

Spa
G-Spa, MGM Grand at Foxwoods
Mashantucket, (860) 369-9663
(foxwoods.com/GSpa.aspx)

You’ve been working hard all week—and playing hard, too. Now it’s time to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n. G-Spa is a superb place to do that. Try the swoonworthy Raindrop Massage, or the Green Tea and Cucumber facial, or any of dozens of other soothing massages or invigorating body treatments, including hot rocks, wraps, Thai foot massage, paraffin treatments and so much more. There are two treatment rooms with cascading Vichy showers and two luxurious couples’ suites; locker rooms have waterfall Jacuzzis, eucalyptus steam rooms and saunas. After your treatment, or in between treatments, lounge by the pool with a mimosa, or loll in the sun just outside. Most relaxing of all? Spa and pool are 21 and over only.
 

Splurge
Paragon
Foxwoods, Mashantucket
(800) 369-9663 (foxwoods.com)

Foxwoods’ showpiece is still one of the standouts of Connecticut’s dining firmament. Way up on the 24th floor of the Grand Pequot Tower, it’s at a blissful remove from the casino’s sensory overload. The food by chef Scott Mickelson more than lives up to the luxe setting, with dishes like Imperial Wagyu Rib-eye Carpetbagger, Dover sole and lobster prepared three ways (wood-grilled, Cantonese and chilled). You no longer have to win big to dine here: The prices are definitely up there, but a few reasonably priced (and delicious-sounding) entrées have been added to the mix. Still, one of the best things on the menu is cool cat Jack Madry, jazz stylist extraordinaire, on the baby grand. And that’s no lie.
 

Dinner
Craftsteak, MGM Grand
at Foxwoods, Mashantucket, (860) 369-9663 (foxwoods.com/craftsteak.aspx)

When you have James Beard Award-winning chef Tom Colicchio in charge of the menu, it’s no surprise to find the finest cuisine created from the best ingredients on your plate. And when that restaurant is a stylish steakhouse at one of the biggest casinos in the world, you can bet that the absolute best cuts of beef are offered, from grass- or corn-fed prime rib-eyes and dry-aged porterhouse to New York strip and hanger steaks. Kobe and Wagyu beef are also available, providing a full house of hot and juicy, delectable options sure to win over any steak lover.

Best of Connecticut 2011 Casinos

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Best of Connecticut 2013

Best of Connecticut 2013

Best of Connecticut 2013

It's our annual survey of all our favorites in the state, from food and drink to places to visit and things to do.

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