NEWS STORY 75 - Fine Dining in South Florida Gaming ...

We tell you first hand all the great places to eat at the track or in the casino .....

Story by MC_Excelsior "The Stick"

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4/21/07 - The Stick Studio's, Florida

We have had the chance to dine at many of the eateries inside the different gaming venue's in South Florida. Here is our first hand account of what we liked and what we did'nt.

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*Myron's Deli at the NEW Isle Casino at Pompano Park*

All I can say is .... OUTSTANDING !

This wonderful, albeit small/medium sized NY Style Deli has some incredible and delicious creations. From pan fried Potato Pancakes with Sour Cream or Apple Sauce to a Smokey Pastrami that melts in your mouth, you will find everything Deli at Myron's. They have all the traditional favorites, including Stuffed Cabbage, and Brisket with gravy and much more.

The Decor is very soothing and relaxing. The Deli is named after Comedian, Myron Cohen. In addition there are many pictures of 1950's-1970's Comedians and Actors well known to people who frequented the so called, "Borscht Belt" of hotel's in the Catskill Mountains of NY.

Myron's is well on par with the finest Deli you could get in New York. Certainly they are as good or better then Ben's Deli and Toojay's, which also have South Florida restaurants.

Pro's : Great Tasting Food. Wonderful Selection of Deli Favorites. Pleasant Waitress's. Ask for Carol Ann, and tell her Marc(Thats Mahhrk) Cohen sent you. Carol Ann is a very warm and sweet lady who will take your order with a smile and speak to you in a pleasant Boston accent.

Con's : During Peak Hours, this restaurant cannot possibly handle the enourmous number of people coming in. Expected wait times during peak hours will easily be 1 hour and 15 minutes plus. Don't get us wrong, its well worth the wait and you will get a pager that will work inside the casino. This way you can go back to the slots or the harness racing or simulcast and come back when your table is ready. We suggest, if possible, that you go during the middle of the day on weekdays for immediate seating.

Value/Price : Average. The prices are in line with other restaurants in the area, and certainly with a casino fare. Its the old agage, you get what you pay for. At Myron's the great tasting food is more then worth the price. However, for 2 people for dinner, expect a $40 price tag.

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*The Isle Buffet at the NEW Isle Casino at Pompano Park*

As work continues on completing the new Isle Casino and 2 more restaurants(Braggazzo and Farradays) prepare to open, the Isle Buffet is designed to take the Full Load of a packed house.

The Decor of this restaurant is very soothing and extremely high quality feel steps away from the casino floor.

Again, the food taste is Wonderful ! Being a buffet, you can take as much as you want for a one time payment price with beverages included. We ate everything ! There is a carving station with sides available, a salad station, a Italian station, and an incredible dessert station.

*The Carving Station : Incredible Prime Rib and sauteed Shrimp offerings. All the normal sides including a delicious stir fried broccolli.

*The Salad Station : Start off with the Greens and mix and match anything you want with it. The Caesar dressing along with some grated Paremsan and croutons were just right for a rich Caesar that was about perfect. You can make other creations, just mix and match what you want with your salad.

*The Italian Station : Pasta, and Antipasto await. Pizza is available as well. I have to say, I was quite stuffed when I finally made it to the Italian Station, but the Cheese Ravioli and sauce with some more Paremsan was very good. Just the right quality and more Al Denti then loosse and soft, this Ravioli was a treat.

*The Dessert Station : If you have any room left in your stomach....the coup de grace awaits you. A Crepe Maker, or Sundae Maker can create a sweet sensation for you. I had a Strawberry Crepe and a Sundae....before I moaned and unbuttoned my pants. They were sooooo good. Also Cookies and Cake abounded. The Chocolate Rugalach was a great touch, and I did eat one while waiting in line.

The Isle Buffet is very warm and inviting with pleasant server's and a quick turnover rate. You can get seated during peak hours, but as with any crowded casino, there will be some wait.

Pro's : Another Restaurant where taste is a priority. The staff were all pleasant and courteous. A great place for a large group or family to go and have as much as they want to eat for a single price.

Con's : Hard to think of any. I really enjoyed my experience there. Possibly the normal concerns with any buffet, that you have to wait in line and get your own food, some on your own,and then bring it back to your table. Thats not their fault, just an inherent Buffet concern.

Value/Price : Above Average. It was $11.95 for lunch per person, and $16.95 for dinner. The wide selection and high quality of food make this buffet a great value. You could easily pay $16.95 in South Florida for an Entree at a better restaurant, while here you can go back for as much variety as you can eat. Don't forget to sign up for the Isle One players card. It will give you $2 off per person just for showing it.

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*The Fresh Harvest Buffet at the Coconut Creek Seminole Casino*

At Sample Road and 441(State Road 7), there is a smaller, less well known Seminole Indian Casino. This is the closest Casino in Broward to Palm Beach County. According to many news media reports, the Seminole's wish to develop the 44 acre property into the Largest Hotel/Casino project in Florida. Even with the massive size of their Hard Rock property in Hollywood, Florida, they say plans call for a site that will be 3 times larger. In fact, the envisioned parking garage will be the bigger then the largest existing builing in Coconut Creek.

After a multi million dollar rennovation of the existing Casino, the facility now boasts a beautiful valet parking enterance, and open air attrium. As one enters the facility, you have to ask....where is the hotel check in ? Currently, as with Pompano Park, there is no hotel on the property.

The Decor and styling of this restaurant is very pleasant and enjoyable. This restaurant is a buffet, and has many different offerings to choose from.

The different food stations offer a standard fare of baked and cooked creations, including Baked Salmon Pesto, Adobo Chicken and more. There is a Salad Station, Grill, Sandwich, and Dessert Stations to fill just about anyone's taste.

The overall taste of the food was good, and we were impressed with the young chef's creativity and friendliness. However, we were less then happy with the idea of paying an additional price for items such as Lobster or Steak. The Taste was good, but not exceptional. As with any new restaurant, I think the Fresh Harvest Buffet is going through a growing process that is normal.

Pro's : Large selections of different foods and desserts. Friendly staff, high energy young chef's. Pleasant eating enviroment.

Con's : Long wait lines during peak hours. Only regular restaurant on the property except for an outdoor bar/grill. A Buffet with additional prices for different foods.

Value/Price : Below Average. It was $15.95 per person for lunch, and a very high $24.95 for dinner. If that's not enough, you have to take a green charge card to your table after you pay the inital cost and then use it for additional charges if you want high ticket items like Lobster and Steak. Drinks are included. While the food was good, there is no discount for showing your players card.

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*The Hard Rock Cafe at the Hollywood Hard Rock Casino*

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is a large complex with many restaurants and shops. We have had the opportunity to eat at many of them and will attempt to give you an overview from our experiences.

If you like Rock memorabilla and loud(I mean very loud) rock music, the this is your restaurant. With a menu similar to Friday's or Ruby Tuesday, the Hard Rock features different dishes, some endorsed by rock stars as their dish.

We find from our many different visits, that the gourmet burgers, and steak are tasty and large portions. The other menu choices suit different taste's. We enjoyed the twisted mac and cheese and the french dip sandwich. The fries are heavily salted, so be careful if you have high blood pressure. Well, the music can pump you up as well with many different video monitors showing rock video's and pumping up the volume through the sound system.

Pro's : A clean, young, high energy restaurant with friendly servers and good tasting food.

Con's : Loud, and hard wooden chairs. This is no a restaurant for your grandmother, unless she wants to rock out with the rolling stones, or the latest music video thats playing.

Value/Price : Average. The prices here are in line with other restaurants that offer this same fare. Expect a 2 person dinner to run between $32 and $45 depending on what you order.

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*The Blue Plate at the Hollywood Hard Rock Casino*

I always say to myself that diner style food should always be available at a casino or casino/hotel. The Blue Plate fills this bill very nicely. With everything from a full breakfast menu, to a mixed appetizer and main entree menu, there is something for everyone.

The decor is very nice with blue spot lights and single bladed fans. This is perhaps the ONLY place within the Hard Rock where there is light, soft 50's music in the background. You have to look for the Blue Plate which is actually hidden around a far corner of the hotel near the meeting rooms. Once there, I think you will be pleasantly refreshed to sit and dine in a much more quiet atmosphere.

Pro's : Large selection of diner style foods. Nice staff, pleasant waiter's and waitress's. Never had to wait for seating.

Con's : Wooden seats with no cushion. No bathroom in the restaurant, although many bathrooms abound in the hotel/casino.

Value/Price : Average. Expect dinner for 2 to be about $40 - $55.

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*Renegade Smoked Barbicue at the Hollywood Hard Rock Casino*

Here is a very interesting and unusual restaurant. I thought it would be like a classic bbq style place with a southern flair and typical heavy sauce chicken, ribs, etc. I was in for a surprise. This is a smoked bbq. Meaning, that spicy sauce is there, but that the foods are smoked for their savory flavor.

This restaurant also has very strong Native American influences, which made it very inviting and interesting to me. There are many tribal throws on the walls and carved wooden items, which I think are 100% original creations. This makes the restaurant unique in the sense that you could never find those items in other similar places. The staff was very friendly and outgoing, and I got the sense that this restaurant was a Seminole creation, and not an outside party coming in and renting space. I liked the restaurant very much, and felt more like I was somewhere else, rather then a franchised place.

Pro's : Great tasting bbq food ! The portions were very large. I had a bbq brisket that could easily have fed 3 people all for myself. I had the feeling they anted me to come back and I appeciated the effort. A very pleasant Native American atmosphere with salable artwork blended nicely with an upscale modern restaurant.

Con's : Hard to think of any here also. If you want anything other then bbq, you might not be happy as that is the main fare of this restaurant.

Value/Price : Below average. While the portions were substantial, and delicious, you paid for what you ordered. Expected price for 2 is $50 - $65.

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*Johnny Rockets at the Hollywood Hard Rock Casino*

This is a franchised 1950's burger joint ! However, despite the fact it is our only franchise review, we really enjoy Johnny Rockets. Before we left NY, we visited Atlantic City for a last time before arriving in Florida. They had a Johnny Rockets in Bally's Park Place and we were wowed at the live dancing to Donna Summer's last dance. The Johnny Rockets at the Hard Rock is very similar with an identical menu and styling. You can find Johnny Rockets outside in the Seminole Paradise section of shops and other restaurants.

The tasty food and decor are clearly aimed at reviving the feeling and flair of 1950's America. With music juke boxes at each table and the ability to order chocolate malts and burgers with names like "smokehouse" and "Route 66", the 1950's come to life.

Clearly, this restaurant is not aimed at the calorie consious or those who are looking for a salad w/tuna and spring water. This restaurant is about taste and making you feel satisfied. They accomplish it.

Pro's : Really delicious grilled/fried foods. The absolute feeling of being transported in time like the back to the future movies, and eating in a 1950's restaurant.

Con's : Food for taste, not food for health. You should watch your caloric and salt intake here. Its easy to overdose on taste, while eating fried, grilled and salted food. There is really no alternative menu for weight watching or senior customers.

Value/Price : Above Average. You can get a large amount of food for a relativly low price. As with most of South Florida, Soda's are free refill's. Expect a meal for 2 to be between $17 - $25.

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*Ten Palms at Gulfstream Park*

This restaurant has been transformed from a waitress service sit down to a large scale buffet. While there are other restaurants at Gulfstream and a food court of fast food, we have to say we personally love this restaurant, and consider it the best on the property.

Located on the 2nd level, and with a trackside view, Ten Palm's mixes high style and quality with a large flow of customers seeking value. Surprisingly, as with Pompano Park, Taste seems to be a priority at trackside buffet's. Imagine a buffet with top rated chefs and you have Ten Palms.

Pro's : A fantastic trackside view of the live horse races when in season. Steps away from the slot machines also located on the second floor. Great food taste and variety.

Con's : Crowded, and hard to get seated unless you go early. On major race days, this restaurant gets filled right away. Once seated in the air conditioning, many fans dont feel any need to leave once they have eaten their meal. This goes hand in hand with a racetrack restaurant where people feel a desire to remain seated for the day once they get situated.

Value/Price : Average. While the price might be considered higher then average in comparision, the location and quality of the food make it a get what you pay for place. We would be happy to go back again.

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