Sol Toro at Mohegan Sun Renovated – a Dining Review

The new Sol Toro entrance

One month ago, a favorite restaurant at Mohegan Sun – “Sol Toro” – had a facelift.  Renovations were quick. When all three of us at NETG visited, not only were we surprised at at what we saw, we liked what we saw and loved what we tasted.

The Renovations

The formerly dark and somewhat gloomy interior has been renovated. Gone are the front grills in the entry, and the dark wood that consumed the interior of the restaurant. New paint, new lighter scaled furniture, and better lighting have transformed this space into a most welcoming space. Brightly colored chairs and light wood table tops make the space shade inviting. Design changes include an expanded bar and lounge area for socializing while sipping margaritas or trying one of their 285 tequilas.

Tons of Tequila at SolToro, Mohegan Sun

Menu Changes

According toHotelmanagement.net, SolToro’s menu of Mexican classics with a modern twist will also get an upgrade. New dishes from” culinary director Chip Miller will include Queso Three Ways (chili con carne, roasted corn & bean, chipotle bacon); Mexican Shrimp Cocktail with tomato broth and roasted poblanos; and carne asada of marinated prime NY strip, served with cheese enchiladas, charred onions and zesty chimichurri sauce.”  A staple of their previous menu, table side guacamole, is still available mild, medium, and spicy, and is not to be missed.

Our Experience

Delicious tacos at Solo Toro Tequila Grill

We passed on drinks, expecting libations at the New England Black Wolves Pro Lacrosse game.  Three of us ordered the tacos.  My BAJA FISH Tacos were the best fish tacos I ever had.  Slightly seasoned with lime scented cabbage, the ancho tartare added heat to the mahi.  The tacos shells stayed nice and firm and were absolutely delicious.  Others in our party had the ADOBO PORK Tacos, which included cilantro jicama slaw, grilled pineapple, and a jalapeño ranch sauce, which were also outstanding.  Miguel had the CHICKEN BURRITO with cheese, rice and beans a step above the usual Mexican sides.  We all agreed we would return and try some of their more exotic entrees like their ROASTED DUCK and STEAK tacos, as well as their tableside Guac.

Recommended

The new lighter look of the bar area.

Solo Toro, part of the Michael Jordan’s group of restaurants at Mohegan Sun, continues to be a good dining experience, and now with the new bright ambience, it’s now a great dining experience.

Binbin

 

Slacks Oyster House & Grill – A Dining Review

Slacks Oyster House and Grill at Plainridge Park Casino and Raceway in Plainville, Massachusetts has always been a place I wanted to visit, dine and review since Plainridge opened in 2015.  It considers itself “Award Winning Dining” and provides the top dining experience at Plainridge. It features seafood & steakhouse fare prepared on the premises. The bar features local micro brews, a select wine menu and specialty cocktails for every season.

Open Hours

SUNDAYS: 2PM – 8PM, WEDNESDAYS & THURSDAYS: 5PM – 10PM, and FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS: 5PM – 11PM.

The Journey

The three of us, Bin Bert and Miguel, stopped in after attending a thrilling game at Gillette Stadium where the New England Patriots had just beaten the Jacksonville Jaguars for the AFC championship. Plainridge is only 20 minutes away from the Patriots home. Upon arrival, I ordered Salted Caramel Vodka and club soda, and Bert ordered a Guinness. Both drinks were as good as expected.

Quality of Food

We had heard of their Sunday Prime Rib Special, so we all ordered the same thing with different sides. The wait was minimal and the presentation was beautiful. We all agreed that the Prime Rib was delicious, each cooked precisely the way we had ordered it. The sides were the quality of what you expect at a good Steakhouse. But the star of the sides was a creamy, rich and cheesy Mac n’ cheese unlike any your mama has made – an NETG suggestion for any newbie to Slacks. It also came with a large popover (see picture above).  Unfortunately, our excitement over it soon turned to disappointment, as all three were hard and chewy – not at all what would be expected. Other than that, the meal was terrific.  Click HERE for the full menu.

Pricing

If you are looking for a value in a high dining, I would consider Slacks. The overall pricing in relation to quality and ambience is a good value if considering other restaurants in casinos in New England, New York and Atlantic City. And while the clanging of slot machines is right outside the entrance, and the casino is in full view, inside is quiet, pristine and relaxing.

Service & Cleanliness

Hostess and server were knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. The manager stopped in twice to chat, since it was late with few patrons.  This all without informing them of this pending review.  I just felt that this considerate service was just how their rolled. The restaurant inside was clean, well organized, and a delight to dine at.

Celebrity Sighting

We were quietly informed that Deone Branch, the former Patriots star wide receiver was in the house. Of course, we kept our distance.  I also saw him playing slots, but left him alone – after all, he was there just like anyone at the casino – personal enjoyment with emphasis on the “personal.”

NETG Rating – “Full House”

We would not hesitate to return. The cuisine and experience was better than expected and equal to steakhouses in the same price range such as David Burke’s Tuscany, at Mohegan Sun, Cedars Steakhouse at Foxwoods and Fred and Steve’s Steakhouse at Twin Rive4 Casino. But, that popover was a disappointment. But, we highly suggest this restaurant if in Plainville or at Plainridge Park Casino.

Bin, Bert, and Miguel

 

 

New Foxwoods Dining Options Not Happening

The room for large parties is seen upper right in pic.

Once upon a time, Foxwoods was ready to add four new dining options from four dynamic chefs.  Cat Cora, Sugar Factory, and “Fast N’ Loud” star Richard Rawlings, were supposed to have three of four new spots at the casino, the fourth going to Guy Fieri, from “Diners, Drivins and Dives” fame.

Richard Rawlings

Restaurants from “Iron Chef” Cat Cora and “Fast N’ Loud” star Richard Rawlings just didn’t happen. Fieri, a star on Food Network, introduced New England to Guy Fieri’s Kitchen + Bar, and Sugar Factory were the only two of four to open.  What happened?

Rawlings was to open the Garage Bar & Grill, serving Texas roadhouse-style barbecue, burgers and local beer.

But, a Norwich contractor hired to build two celebrity-themed restaurants at Foxwoods Resort Casino was awaiting payment of more than $1.6 million from a third party involved in the projects.
“We don’t have any legal issues with anyone,” Felix Rappaport, the Foxwoods president and chief executive officer, stressed in a phone interview this week. “Both of the restaurants were going to be owned and managed by a third party. The projects stalled with that third party, so we, in essence, canceled our agreement.”

G. Schnip Construction Inc., however, does have legal issues with the third party, Mitchell Brands LLC of Key Largo, Fla. According to Haalebeck at the Day, “In a lawsuit filed this spring in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Schnip claimed Mitchell had awarded the company a $3.5 million contract to build the Garage restaurant, which was to bear the brand of Rawlings, star of “Fast N’ Loud,” a popular reality show that airs on the Discovery Channel. Schnip “undertook the performance of its obligations” under the contract, completing nearly $1.6 million worth of work, according to the suit.”

The Rawlings and Cora restaurants were part of the casino’s push to become a “full-service resort destination” offering much more than gaming.

Foxwoods Felix Rappaport

The other two restaurants named at the time — Guy Fieri’s Foxwoods Kitchen + Bar and The Sugar Factory — have since opened.
“When I got here, 80 percent of the restaurants were owned by Foxwoods,” said Rappaport, who arrived in 2014. “We wanted to freshen our offerings. We’ve brought in some very robust, vibrant brands. … Sometimes, when you go down the path of third-party partners, things happen. It’s just part of the business.”
Rappaport said Foxwoods plans to open a new restaurant called Caputo Trattoria in the winter. It’s to be owned by the Craveable Hospitality Group, which owns the casino’s David Burke Prime restaurant, and will fill the space formerly occupied by Al Dente, he said.

NETG was ready to attend Rawlings opening, but it never occurred. So, cross these two new restaurants off the list.

Binbin

Shipyard Brewery Beer Dinner at Twin River Casino – A Staff Review

Our guest dining review today is written by our RI correspondent, Miguel.  While Bert & Bin were checking out Kenny G and George Benson at Mohegan Sun, Miguel and Co. were enjoying this fabulous event at Shipyard Brewpub.  Here is what he had to say.

Thursday night some friends and I decided to check out the Beer Dinner being hosted at Shipyard Pub at Twin River.  5 beers, 4 courses only $35/pp (or $65 for 2) how could you go wrong?

Right off the top I’ll tell you this was a great event and I certainly look forward to attending future beer dinners – including the one they’re planning to have this fall (can you say Pumpkinhead??)

Shipyard Brewpub, Twin River Casino

For anyone who doesn’t know, Shipyard Pub isn’t set up as a traditional restaurant/bar.  Located on the 2nd floor (non-smoking yeah!!!) of Twin River nestled between the Poker area and slot machines.  The bar is U-shaped and probably seats about 30 people and the outer left and right sides lined with high top tables.  Above the bar on both sides are 4-5 large screen tv’s usually simulcasting dog races, on this night it was MLB and NFL games.

Two of the beers being sampled that night from a new partnership Shipyard has formed with Tiesta Tea. (www.tiestatea.com)  This is not a take on Twisted Tea or any of the “Hard” beverages being spun out these days.  Shipyard takes the Tiesta loose leaf tea and cold steeps it for 24 hours and then infuses it into their wheat ale.  In each 12-16 oz serving of the beer, you get a cup of tea!  Sounds like my mornings have a new tradition!  This is a new venture for Shipyard born out of the trends toward healthier options, away from coffee and to appeal to millennials.  Right now both of the tea brews (reviewed below) are available in stores, they are hoping to have them available in draft in the October timeframe.  This will also become a year round offering from Shipyard as we move into 2018!

When we arrived, there really wasn’t much signage or fanfare indicating there was actually an event going on other then what was written on the daily menu board.  We were greeted immediately and seated at the bar which was great from a comfort perspective, but a little challenging from a conversation perspective.  Luckily there were only 3 of us so it wasn’t too bad.

Right away we were offered our first beer of the night, one of the new tea infused offering by Shipyard – Shipyard Maui Mango.  To my amazement, these were not little tastings – each beer was served in (I’d guess) a 12oz glass.  Not being a huge mango fan I wasn’t sure how I’d like this but the mix of the wheat ale and herbal tea, with the freshness and a hint of tart from the mango – it was quite enjoyable.  All 3 of us gave it a thumbs up while we settled in, enjoyed our first beer and waited for our first course.

The food was spot on from the first course!  Served on individual wooden cutting boards we were presented a Buffalo Cauliflower Steak.  I knew one thing for sure going into the event – I am NOT a cauliflower fan – never have been.  Don’t tell my mom that she was right all those years, but this dish was AMAZING!  About an inch thick cauliflower steak drizzled with ranch dressing on the right, buffalo sauce on the left side and bleu cheese crumbles.  Let me say it again – AMAZING!  This course was paired with Shipyard Summer Ale – another light tasting and refreshing beer with citrus and fruity flavors.

Everything moved at a very comfortable pace, we never felt rushed or like we were waiting for the next pairing.

The second course was another culinary masterpiece!  Beet stacks layered with goat cheese and grape tomatoes, drizzled with a rich balsamic glaze and walnuts.  Again this course exceeded my expectations and tasted as good as it looked.  This course was paired with the beer I was most looking forward to (just by name), Shipyard Fireberry – which was the 2nd of the tea infused beers of the night.  This beer had a subtle berry hint to it and you could definitely pick up the tea influence.  Light and clean!

The third course was the main entrée – an ale infused cheddar and shaved steak Panini.  The Panini was wonderful and also included some caramelized onions and a side of harvest root chips – sweet potatoes, parsnips, etc…   This course was another success – the steak was done just right, the bread was fresh and soft and the chips were a guilt free side!  Paired with the Panini was the Shipyard Export, sadly my least favorite beer of the night.  We all felt it was a bit heavy and had more of a bitter taste than our liking.  Not a bad beer by any means – just not our preference.

What dinner is complete without dessert??  And out came our fourth course!  Presentation was on point and the flavor of each dessert was right on par! Corn meal cranberry almond biscotti (I could have eaten 20 of them), yogurt panna cotta and a house granola with cherry mousse.  I’m not a fan of cherry, but both of my friends said it was delicious.    This was paired with the Shipyard Seadog Sunfish  which was a clean and refreshing way to end the night!

As each course was coming out, representatives from Shipyard and the kitchen came out and gave us a little back story on what we were being served and kept engaged with the crowd.  As dessert was being served, they also did several raffles for pint glasses, Shipyard swag and more.

The entire staff was amazing, very attentive and made sure everyone had a great experience.  Above all, the entire staff truly seemed happy to be at the event and see the crowd that showed up.  It sounded like this was the 3rd or 4th Beer Dinner they’ve hosted and said the event continues to grow.  I’d estimate there were 60-65 people attending this event.  As mentioned earlier, they are planning the next one for the fall.

I’d highly recommend following Shipyard on social media (links below) to stay connected and find out when their future events are.  Product, price, quality and service were all you could want!

Cashing out for now…Miguel

Facebook: www.facebook.com/shipyardpubtwinriver/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/shipyardpub/

Web: www.twinriver.com/dining/shipyard-pub/

 

 

 

 

Foxwoods Trip Report by Joe Freda, @ReloadSports

 

Today we include a trip report from one of our best friends and longest supporters, Joe Freda.  Joe has written for us before, as in his  on New England Blackjack Report report. A little about Joe….

Joe Freda has frequented casinos throughout New England during the past two decades, while also writing for the popular gambling sites of Blackjack Insider (bjinsider.com) and Don Best Sports(donbest.com). Freda can be reached at joe_freda@yahoo.com or through Twitter (@ReloadSports).

Here is his trip report on his visit to Foxwoods on July 27 – 30.  Enjoy…..


 

With the summer in its mid-season peak, it was time for a Foxwoods trip at the end of July.  I enjoyed comped tickets for the popular “Impractical Jokers” show and a Director Suite in the Fox Tower.  My visit also included meals at Alta Strada, Juniors, and Johnny Rockets, while stopping by the Tree House Arcade.  I also grinded through two nights of gambling in the Club Newport International room, which had at least one new surprise that ended my weekend well.

Staying in the Fox Tower is not my usual preference, but a Director Suite was available and I thought having extra room for my two guests would help this time.  The space is not as much as you would expect for a suite, but some extra touches still make it worthwhile over a normal room.  A sectioned off area had a sizeable desk and its own television, while the bathroom’s his and her sinks surely paid some instant dividends.  It also worked out well being at the end of a hall with this tower generally full of its noisier club-going millennials.

My favorite meal of the trip was dinner at the Alta Strada, with my guests and I enjoying some of its signature choices.  I had the tagliatelle bolognese, while others enjoyed the spicy chitarra and a pepperoni pizza.  We topped off our dining with an affogato for dessert and an extra dish of ice cream.  The three of us also ventured back to this venue for its Sunday brunch buffet and devoured a variety of delicious offerings.

Juniors and Johnny Rockets worked out well for more casual lunches.  While the prices at Juniors can feel a bit inflated for the kind of food offered, it is a convenient place to eat on this side of the property.  Johnny Rockets inside the Tanger Outlets mall was good for a quick bite, while I would still give my nod to Fuddruckers over on the Great Cedar walkway for hamburgers and shakes.

The Tree House Arcade delivers some good value for those wanting to check out some video games or having kids wanting to win prizes.  You can use rewards points to credit your card for use in the arcade, and some bonus packages provide a good value.  Additionally, a Platinum-level reward card holder is entitled to $25 in free arcade credits once per month.  My guests also had success racking up prizes, including three 1000-ticket wins on the Big Bass wheel.

 

The “Impractical Jokers” show saw a packed house of fans enjoying a combination of stand-up and videos from Sal, Joe, “Murr,” and “Q.”  I was told that the video segments were the same shown in last year’s live show at Foxwoods from this crew, which left a few goers disappointed.  Scheduling a pair of shows back-to-back on each night of the weekend made the Fox Tower’s foot traffic an all-time high, but the crowd flowed as well as it could have.

My two nights of gambling were both in the Club Newport International room.  The first session started with losses at pai gow poker and craps.  A baccarat table in the middle of the room then came calling, which got my money won back after an all-night chase.  I played again two evenings later and stuck with two spots of pai gow to slowly grind out a few black chips of profit.

A new treat in the Newport room is back rubs being offered on weekends at a $2/minute rate while you play.  Was a truly unique experience enjoying a massage at a pai gow table to myself, while getting to watch UFC 214 on a television all at the same time.  The pit manager David Chan even slipped my therapist a voucher for 15 minutes of the back rub to be comped.  This was a nice touch and adds even more to the cozy feel this room has had for many years.

Grand Pequot Tower Casino, home to the Club Newport International.

While a winning weekend makes it hard to leave Foxwoods, my checking out process also went better than expected.  An overcharge mistakenly showed up for two of my three nights, and the VIP reception staff took care of it by wiping those two nights entirely.  As the party crowd started filing in for Liquid Sundays, it was time for me to head out to I-395 and my own festival of sunshine for the drive home.

Sugar Factory at Foxwoods – 2 Dining Reviews, Part 2

Ok, let’s summarize yesterday’s Part 1 review of Sugar Factory at Foxwoods :

  • Menu is HUGE – while waiting, ask to see the book, I mean menu, to look it over before you get to the table.
  • Reservations are highly, highly recommended.
  • Main restaurant area is nicely ornate, and fairly comfortable
  • Desserts were good and are recommended – beware of the amount of whipped cream served for desserts
  • Service was attentive, friendly & timely.

For a more detailed review, go back and read Sugar Factory American Brasserie at Foxwoods – 2 Dining Reviews, Part 1

VISIT #2 – 9 PEOPLE; 1 DINNER

This was the real test – a Sunday night at 6:15 with the family – a party of nine, ages 13 – 60+.

We were actually early and seated early.

As with our previous visit, our service was attentive, friendly and helpful.

The room for large parties is seen upper right in pic.

We were seated in the party room in the back.  While it has a beautiful view of the New England countryside, this room is LOUD!  Nicely decorated with mirrors, this smaller room connected to the main dining room is one big acoustic nightmare if you want to talk and visit.  It’s great for that special occasion – birthday parties, etc – but don’t expect to hear each other. Add to that the piped-in “ooncy” club music and it becomes far from a relaxing place to eat.  But remember, it isn’t meant to be a quiet steakhouse, it’s the party room. If you have a large group of 8 or more, unfortunately you will probably wind up there.  Ask ahead if there is something else they can do, since there are other areas that may accommodate a large group.

If you can over come the loudness (practice lip-reading before you go), it will still be what you hoped for – good service, good food, and a unique experience.

THE MEAL

Regular Shakes are not your usual milkshake.

Shawna, our waitress, was terrific in getting our order – (not to beat a dead horse,) but it was very difficult hearing her over the other parties in the room.  However, our order was served in a timely fashion.  Some of us went right for the sweet entrees, others for savory.

Insane Rocky Road Milkshake

4 regular milkshakes – all were considered very good, but the biggest hit? the 2 Insane milkshakes, the Chocolate Rocky Road Milkshakes.  Not only was the shake outstanding, it came with two dark chocolate covered marshmallows, much like chocolate covered Easter eggs.  The little donut (yes, it even has a donut) was not needed, hard, and underwhelming.  The highlight is the dark chocolate coating on the mug that you scrape off.  Mmmm

The Big Cheesy Burger was another notable entree. The mac ‘n cheese on the burger was nice, creamy sticky and delicious on a moist delicious Angus beef burger.

Big Cheesy Burger

 

The Red Velvet Pancakes were not only enough for two, but had a delicious white chocolate coating, and was considered on of the best red velvet pancakes our pancake connoisseur ever had.

Red Velvet Pancakes

 

The savory dishes came with a large order of fries that were nothing to write home about – just ok.

The unexpected highlight of our order was consumed by NETG’s own Miguel – “Two Warm Waffles Topped with Fresh Bananas, Strawberries, Melted Chocolate Sauce and Crunchy Chocolate Hazelnut Bits – served with Vanilla Ice Cream.”  It tasted as good as it looked, but again, could easily be shared by two.

Banana Split Waffles

So, our order of 4 regular milkshakes, 2 Insane milkshakes, 1 Ice Cream Sandwich, 4 Burgers and a club sandwich, a Personal pizza (good but plain, not special.), Banana Split Waffles & Red Velvet Pancakes came to $275 with tax & gratuity for 9 people. Pricey? Yes…….but considering the novelty, NETG gives it a thumbs up for special occasions.

OVERPRICED?

Many reviews we read thought the Sugar Factory at Foxwoods   had average food and overpriced, overrated drinks that were had too much syrup.  We didn’t order them, but if you do, ask about them and especially the ingredients. It is the first thing your server will tempt you with.

In terms of overpriced food, we would agree that some of the food isn’t special, like the sides.  But the unique experience at Sugar Factory at Foxwoods isn’t the same as going to Friendly’s for an ice cream sundae. (Not knocking Friendly’s – I love their ice cream, watermelon sherbet, and the marshmallow sundaes). The ambiance is different – the experience is one of a kind.  If that translates to paying a little more, this is the place to go for your burgers and desserts.  Remember Foxwoods Rewards Members, as in all other retail shoppes, you can use your rewards points to pay for your meal.

A FEW PARTING NOTES:

  • Their entrees do include steaks and seafood for a high end option.
  • There is a bar option for additional seating.
  • Unique Alcoholic Cocktails are also available in non-alcoholic variations.
  • Breakfast items are served all day while open.
  • Super Fun Premium Fondues are offered, beginning at $150 for 2, all the way to the “Chocolate Gold Fondue” at $1000 for 6 people.
  • The Foxwoods location also includes a candy store for bulk candy and their famous “Couture Pops.”

For the main Sugar Factory home page, click HERE.  It includes, information on celebrities, reservations, locations, candy orders, and much more.

 

 

 

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Sugar Factory American Brasserie at Foxwoods – 2 Dining Reviews, Part 1

Writing a review of the Sugar Factory at Foxwoods was more challenging than I first thought it would be.  We made plans to visit not once but twice, and checked other reviews – and that’s where the confusion started…..

Sugar Factory is not your mom and pop’s ice cream stop or candy store.  It was started by Charissa Davidovici, founder of Sugar Factory in Las Vegas, who took a simple idea for her passion for candy and baking, and created a growing empire for herself.

Couture Pops at Sugar Factory can cost up to $30 and include handles and celebrity endorsements.

Charissa is quoted by Jennifer Chan of ENews! as saying “One of my biggest goals was to have an item that people could take home and always remember Sugar Factory, and realized a lollipop would be perfect! From there, the famous Couture Pop was born, as was the Sugar Factory brand. ” Seven years later, Sugar Factory has expanded to locations world-wide. Each location either has a retail store, cafe, chocolate lounge, full restaurant or party room.  We will be reviewing the restaurant and party room at Sugar Factory, Foxwoods Resort Casino.

PREVIOUS REVIEWS

After researching previous reviews about the Foxwoods location, Bert, our dining consultant, and I were wondering “what have we got ourselves into?” Complaints included staff rudeness, complacency and pushiness .  In some instances, staff was cited as rather passive in their concern for their patrons.  Long waits for food were mentioned, and that some items came to the table unlike the picture in the menu.

I began to think this place was long on hype and short on substance.  We decided it was time to visit & review the restaurant.

VISIT #1 – Dessert

Visiting Sugar Factory at Foxwoods can be pretty overwhelming, even if it’s just desserts your looking for.  It’s important to know it was midweek and mid-afternoon when we were seated.  We had a reservation (which I highly recommend no matter when you visit) that was looked over a minute for a few parties, but we were seated soon enough.

The restaurant was highly decorative and attractive. Chandeliers made it bling. The seats are somewhat close, but it makes it easier to ogle at the concoctions being served to those around you.  Staff was attentive and friendly.

The Menu “Book.”

The menu reminded us of Cheesecake Factory’s giant book, (yes book) of menu items and you have to really take a few minutes to find the kind of food you’re looking for.  we suggest you ask for a menu to browse while waiting to be seated.

Our choices were 1) the Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Sandwich ($11) with Peanut Butter Cookies, Chocolate Ice Cream in the middle garnished with Chocolate Chips and 2) the Chocolate Blackout Old Fashioned Sundae ($15), with Dark Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Chips and Chocolate Gelato with Chocolate Brownie Chunks and Crunchy Chocolate Candies, topped with Hot Fudge, Whipped Cream, Dark Chocolate Shavings and Chocolate Sprinkles.  It is meant to serve two people.

The PB Cup Ice cream sandwich did not look like the menu, but did not disappoint either.  While it was tasty and larger than expected, the bottom peanut butter cookie tends to soften and fall apart due to the chocolate ice cream.  Good if you like that sort of thing. We rated it a good dish, and also could be shared by two.  The menu is SO extensive, we would probably try something different next time.

WARNING: Every dessert seems to have scoops, I mean SCOOPS, of whipped cream.  If you have an allergy, or would prefer not to have it, tell them ahead of time.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich up front, the Sundae for two in back.

The Sundae was very good, especially for you chocoholics out there.  The best ice cream was the dark chocolate, which was provided a great contrast to the other ice creams. The sundae had just the right amount of brownie chunks. I thought this was a winner! Let the sugar coma begin!

Service continued to be good and the wait for our desserts was an appropriate time.  The final price of $30 for dessert seems extravagant, but that will be discussed in our visit #2.

After our first visit, I would recommend Sugar Factory at Foxwoods.  But, remember, you’re not going to Chili’s or TGIFridays. The atmosphere and the “over-the-top” effort with the menu is something you will pay additional for.  After all, it IS part of a resort!  By the way, if you really have a sweet tooth, they do offer the King Kong Sundae for $99. See the pic below – serves 12!

The King Kong Sundae

The sites of goblets and insane shakes did give us the idea of bringing a large party for visit #2 – so much food, so much to judge!

Check in tomorrow when we re-visit Sugar Factory at Foxwoods for dinner, Sunday night, with NINE people!

(cue scary organ music)

 

 

Binbin

5 Foxwoods Newest Dining Options Entice the Palette

Amidst the turmoil about Connecticut’s casino expansion, MGM’s meddling in Connecticut’s casino expansion, and the on again-off again casino expansion in Maine & New Hampshire, there are actually some new dining options opening across New England’s 7 casinos.

FOXWOODS Resort Casino, in Mashantucket, CT.,  has by far introduced the most of the new options.  With a theme of “A Restaurant for Every Craving,” Foxwoods has added a few more mouth-watering palette-enticing restaurants to their large line-up of over 35 eateries.

Boar’s Head Deli, (The Food Market, Fox Tower) – While it has been in the same place since MGM partial ownership as MGM Foxwoods, the Food Court in Fox Tower had a renovation over a year ago. Included are Sbarro, Phillips Seafood, the Grill Shack and Einstein Bagles.  But the new addition of Boar’s Head Deli serving the best cold cuts for sandwiches since 1905.  It is truly one of the highlights of casual quick dining.

CAKE by Franck (Great Cedar Food Court)

A chocolate cake made with coffee and Bailey’s Irish cream. (Suzie Hunter, smhunter@courant.com)

CAKE by Franck opened just over a year ago and aimed to showcase their talents with a boutique pastry shop on the property, offering a vast selection of sugary treats from vibrantly colored French macaroons to custom-designed cakes glazed in ganache and dusted in gold. the wonderful cake shop open now at Foxwoods Resort Casino. For Executive Pastry Chef Franck Iglesias, dessert is a labor of love, and it shows in everything he creates.

Custom wedding cakes are also available in enchanting varieties. If you can’t get to Foxwoods, Air Franck is the in-store service that delivers Chef Franck’s desserts anywhere in the USA, fresh and delightful every time. Orders can be made through the Resort Call Center at 860.312.4444

Guy Fieri’s Foxwoods Kitchen + Bar (Grand Pequot Tower)

Guy Fieri, famous for Diner Drive-ins and Dives” on the Food Network.

With a celebrity chef profile, world renowned American style food and a creative beverage experience, Big Night Entertainment Group presents Guy Fieri’s Foxwoods. The 9,800-square-foot venue opened in November and accommodates up to 375 people, with a 258 seat restaurant and 36 seat rectangular bar. Guy’s features custom millwork, a wood bar top, large wood ceiling beams, and large custom chandeliers creating a rustic and comfortable feel. The food has been rumored to be more expensive than expected, which means NETimeGambling is just going to have to check it out!

Sugar Factory American Brasserie (Fox Theater District)

Just Opened.

This celebrity gathering spot treats guests to a one-of-a-kind experience serving upscale dining classics from brunch to late-night ranging from decadent crepes to flavorful milkshakes, gourmet burgers and more. Signature treats include a number of celebrity-endorsed Couture Pops, smoking Goblet Drinks and candy infused cocktails. The retail section will offer a selection of the company’s signature treats and merchandise, including the world-famous Couture Pops. After dinner, guests will want to stay long into the night to enjoy the innovative cocktails, top hits dance music, and lively social scene. Another must investigate for NETime Gambling – but after my diet, I think!

Don’t forget the VUE 24 (24th Floor of Grand Pequot Tower) Nestled atop the 24th floor of the Grand Pequot Tower, VUE 24 offers a lavish charm with a familiar and relaxing ambiance.  Indulge in exquisite Continental-based cuisine presented with an unmistakable modern flair while our team provides unsurpassed service in luxury and comfort.  Discover a variety of classic and long forgotten favorites along with cocktails while enjoying Jack on the piano and stunning panoramic views. Try the elegant Sunday Brunch with Spring on the rise – the view should be fantastic!

COMING SOON

Cat Cora’s Wine Bar (Grand Pequot Tower)  The “Iron Chef” star’s newest restaurant – created exclusively for Foxwoods – will feature a tapas and wine bar, serving up exotic Mediterranean small plates, sought-after wines and creative cocktails.

Richard Rawlings’ GARAGE, a high-octane hangout championed by Gas Monkey Garage owner and star of “Fast N’ Loud” Richard Rawlings, is where diners will enjoy a classic American venue serving up southern-style Texas roadhouse-style BBQ, burgers and local brews. Richard Rawlings’ Garage will be located near the Rainmaker Casino and adjacent to Rainmaker Garage.

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Hops House 99 Coming to Hollywood Bangor 

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Hops House 99 is coming! If you are looking for a fun & exciting place to build a career, Hollywood Bangor has got a great addition to their property coming this November. Their job fair is on Thursday, October 6th at the Hollywood!  

What’s the 99 stand for – 99 taps!

hqdefaultBeers galore! Large HD screens! this is what is found in other Hop House 99 pubs.

A great idea for Bangor’s Hollywood casino. At times this casino can be meek with a small crowds.  What better than spending a Sunday watching the Patriots, or other favorites with 99 brews calling your name.

The look inside St' Louis Hollywood Casino

The look inside St’ Louis Hollywood Casino

The menu will consist of the pub “I feel guilty” food that is just right for the pub scene.

One rumor I read from a review from the a casino in Indiana said, ” Before we left, the most amazing thing was said to us…”would you like a variety six pack to go?”. Yes, you can take a six pack into the casino and enjoy craft beer while people watching. The bottles do have to be opened first. That was just fine with me .”

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine

I can’t wait to review this on my next trip to Maine.  It’s just another example of the local craft beer explosion at all of our New England Casinos.  Be on the lookout for local craft beers, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

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Dining Review: Tom’s Urban at Mohegan Sun

The scene looking from the back to the front of the restaurant.

The scene looking from the back to the front of the restaurant.

My party of four had high hopes for Tom’s Urban, the new restaurant at Mohegan Sun. Well, it did not disappoint. Last Thursday we had drinks, but this night was prime for a dining review.
The menu is very diverse, drinks to satisfy anyone, and prices aren’t too expensive, depending on what you order. You could call the atmosphere “upscale over-sized neighborhood sports pub.” That said, here’s how things went:

Happy Hour

Happy Hour by the Clock

Happy Hour by the Clock

The price of the drafts and the price of the bites follow the clock – $3 at 3:00pm, $4 at 4:00pm, and $5 at 5:00pm.  While we were seated before 6:00, when out waitress first came over, it was literally 6:01 – no happy hour for us.  “Sorry, it’s too late.”  Most restaurants would not take this stand.  Hopefully management will read about this practice and suggest a different approach.  6:01???  Really????

Drinks

The tankard on the left is 40 oz.

The tankard on the left is 40 oz.  It comes filled, unlike this one.

Beer can be ordered in the usual pint or the unbelievably gluttonous tankard – 40 oz.  The taps offer good beer, like the Allagash White next to the Leinenkugel Summer Shandy in the tankard in the picture.  Someone in our party had a “Darker & Stormier”, but it was more ginger beer and not enough rum.

Food

We each had an entree, all of which were outstanding.  I had probably the best Carnitas Cuban sandwich ever, and Bert’s BBQ Pork Sandwich was also the best she has enjoyed. Another entree, the Fig Jam and three Cheese Sandwich was a big hit, and quite different. Listed as a “vegetarian dish,” apple sausage can be added to make a “Figgy Piggy.”  But, the truly big hit of the night – and I mean BIG – was the Crispy Chicken and Cornbread Pancake.

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The Crispy Chicken and Cornbread Pancake. Outstanding…and huge!

Slightly spicy, crispy boneless chicken was delicious all served with salted caramel butter and maple syrup on the side.

Much like everything at Tom’s Urban, the food is innovative and fun. Only a few entrees and small plate orders are vegetarian.

Service

Both times we have visited Tom’s Urban, the service has been very good.  Because the food is made to order, and is so different in the making, you should expect a little extra time for your food. However, I have seen other reviews from this restaurant, as well as those in Denver & L.A., and they seem to echo a similar theme – fantastic food, slow service.  But this night, service was very good and the wait staff really seemed to want our experience to be an enjoyable one.
Ask them what "screen" means, something only found in Mohegan Sun's Tom's Urban

Ask them what “screen” means, something only found in Mohegan Sun’s Tom’s Urban

To sum up the Tom’s Urban experience, I would say:
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Great for Brunch
  • Good for Groups
  • Notable Wine List
  • Great Alternative Drinks
  • Good Beer Menu
  • Vibrant Bar Scene and Good Happy Hour
  • Great for Lunch

One last thing.  The previous restaurant had windows that were enclosed by lots of dark wood in the front of the place.  Tom’s has a clear opening all the way from end to end, making for a great place to “people watch.”

We plan to go back, again…..and again.  I recommend you do, too.

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Tom’s Urban at Mohegan Sun – Worth More Than One Visit

Tom's Urban at Mohegan Sun

Tom’s Urban at Mohegan Sun

Mohegan Sun’s newest restaurant is right out of Las Vegas – I know because I visited the the restaurant in Sin City just last week, and the Sun’s version is spectacular.

Tom's Urban on the Las Vegas Strip

Tom’s Urban on the Las Vegas Strip

First of all, the ambiance has been completely renovated and modernized.  Walk in and you are immediately transported to a city club in a NewYork minute.

Tom Ryan, of Smashburger and Tom's Urban restaurants.

Tom Ryan, of Smashburger and Tom’s Urban restaurants.

Tom Ryan, the vision behind Tom’s Urban, was named one of the Top 25 Food Entrepreneurs of the Last Quarter Century by Gourmet Magazine and dedicated his life to creating dining and drinking experiences that linger long after you leave. The drink offerings alone will blow your mind.

Ask them what "screen" means, something only found in Mohegan Sun's Tom's Urban

Ask them what “screen” means, something only found in Mohegan Sun’s Tom’s Urban

A great list of draft, craft, and bottled beers are a given these days, but not the rest of the drink available, like: wines, amazing “Concoctions” cocktails, coconut water cocktails and punch bowls.

Happy Hour starts at 3:00pm with $3 “booze & bites.” (At 4:00, it’s $4, 5:00 – $5).

The Brunch menu is offered everyday between 10am – 4pm.  A fantastic offering of usual breakfast suspects to many exotic delights will take weeks to try.  Matter of fact, the entire menu is a culinary adventure, and NETime Gambling is going back soon to get a report on the Urban’s dining, which includes small plates, sandwiches, sliders, grilled items, food truck specialties, street tacos, pizzas, salads……its just overwhelming, but in a “I can’t wait to go back” type of way. I just hope I have room to try one of their desserts or maybe an “Urban Spiked Shake.”

So, it’s time to visit and review.  If you visit Tom’s Urban, send NETG a comment on your experience.

Thanks to Brock behind the bar, and management for a great first time. See you soon.

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Foxwoods Resort Casino, Masnantucket CT

Foxwoods Tower Hotel & Festival Breakfast Buffet – A Trip Report

Fox Tower at Foxwoods. The Producer Suites are in the extended round portion of the building, so each Producer Suite has a different Sq. footage

Fox Tower at Foxwoods. The Producer Suites are in the extended round portion in the center of the building, so each Producer Suite has a different Sq. footage

NETG continues our summer of New England Casino reviews.  Today, we look at two aspects of the Foxwoods Resort Casino – hotel & breakfast buffet. Foxwoods has four separate and distinct hotels. After staying in each at least once, it was time to check out a suite. Here is our assessment of Fox Tower and the Festival Breakfast Buffet.

Producer's Suite, Fox Tower

Producer’s Suite, Fox Tower

Foxwoods Producer Suite

First of all, if you ever have a chance to stay in a suite for a few days at a casino hotel, do it – if for any other reason than to have a few get-togethers with friends and family.  We stayed in a Producer Suite at the Foxwoods Tower Hotel, which is the smaller of the suites offered. The Director suite is what you would imagine with more than one room and top of the line.263848b6-3c60-465c-a3c8-6ba3c5562fe0

The Producer Suite Room we stayed in eventually was quite roomy, with a nice big sitting area to entertain.  Bathrooms were large, and the usual amenities of upper scale rooms were offered.  Pluses include a refrigerator, comfy beds, and two TV’s, one in each room. A suggestion for Foxwoods and all casino hotels as far as NETG is concerned is a safe for valuables.

From the 25th floor, the view was just breath-taking with it’s floor to ceiling windows.  We could only imagine what a beautiful site the New England Fall foliage would be.

Unfortunately, the furniture seems to be the original when MGM opened the tower in 2008. Renovations are definitely needed to furniture, curtains, and walls could use some painting.  This is based on seeing not one but two of these suites.

Fox Tower Registration Desk.

Fox Tower Registration Desk.

Upon checking, the man helping us seemed to want to complete the registration as quick as possible.  Buyer Beware! – Our room wasn’t ready, but he said another was ready and he could put us there.  HE ASSURED US IT WAS EXACTLY THE SAME – BUT HE LIED.  You see, depending on which room it is the square footage can be DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT.

We did receive great service, though, after leaving the desk. Great care was made moving us to a larger suite, which had double the seating area. The service we received from staff was wonderful.

Foxwoods made it right, but registration personnel should be questioned about this practice.  Hopefully it isn’t suggested by Foxwoods as protocol.

kind of like the party place

The expanded Center Bar – “Centrale”

One more word to the wise – the Foxwoods Tower Casino has one of, if not the best, night clubs in New England, “Shrine,” and has renovated the casino to be a young, vibrant atmosphere.

Shrine - One of the Best Night Clubs on the East Coast

Shrine – One of the Best Night Clubs on the East Coast

Unlike other casino hotels (Borgata, Mohegan Sun) there are no safety features to prevent any one from entering the hotel elevator. There is no one checking keys and no use of your key to enable the elevator.  Our suite had two young partying groups with lots of traffic (all with drink in hand) all night both Friday & Saturday until about 3:00am. – to be expected on a weekend.  So be prepared for the noise, since these suites are near the elevators.  Plug in your iPhone, download a white noise machine, and let it play over the hallway sounds for a better sleep!

Security does take complaints seriously, as I was told a second complaint would clear any offending room after the first check.  They got your back.

All in all, it was a great experience and the room we ended up with was truly fun and special.  But the hotel, in general, has issues to deal with.

festival_buffet_200x100Foxwoods Festival Buffet

This was a comped buffet, so it’s hard to say anything bad about free eats.

But…..

At 8:30, the breakfast staff was under-maned, getting a table was served, the line formed quickly, and with no signage for upper level rewards levels, those patrons forming their pass line were not received well by the rest of the line.

Inside the buffet.

Inside the buffet.

I am happy it was free, because to pay for this breakfast buffet would not prudent.  Very few offerings were different, or enticing.  The usual industrial scrambled eggs were warm at best, the turkey sausage patty was dry and cool, and only one person for an omelet line.  The pastries were typical and, even for a sugar-addict like myself, were just not palatable. Ordinary and mostly unappealing is our assessment. (This is not to be confused with the dinner & supper offerings, which we’ll check out soon!)

So, if you have to pay, don’t go.  If your using your points, think of it this way.  According to VPFree2 – a great website in our resources links about – it takes about $170 in a slot machine (over $300 for Video Poker) to earn one point.  Now follow the math, and you will value the points you earn:

170 X $12.00(breakfast buffet price) = $2040 in a slots for this buffet!  Are you willing to spend a over $2000 for a “free” mediocre breakfast buffet?  May I suggest Junior’s in the Fox Tower for breakfast.  Same price, great food, great service, and the biggest damn coffee-cup you’ll find!

Junior's - Great Breakfast, Great Cheesecake.

Junior’s – Great Breakfast, Great Cheesecake.

Was it an enjoyable trip?  You Bet! (sorry, but pun intended)  Tomorrow I will tell you about the gems that make Foxwoods a great stay-cation/vacation.

That’s all for now.

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