The Seminole Tribe of Florida owns several casino complexes in South Florida and — I confess — I’ve never been to one. I’m not much of a gambler (read: I suck) and while I’d heard that the restaurants were impressive, I’d never made it a point to visit. BIG MISTAKE. YUGE!
So when I was invited to a media event to experience not one, but three eateries in a kind of progressive dinner at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, I immediately RSVP’d. I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I was blown away.
First, let me say how hospitable the staff was — they went out of their way to make us feel welcome, starting with their signature cocktail – the Maximus! A craft gin and vodka combination with a spray of Grand Marnier 100, Lillet Blanc ice cubes and 23K gold leaf. Seriously.
Our first stop in the progressive dinner was at Fresh Harvest. An open-airy space with buffet stations for everything from carved roasts, to sushi, to an unending display of sweets and desserts. Our group sampled the Ahi Tuna Poke on a crispy gyoza skin with avocado and a slice of jalapeño. It was a two-bite wonder that revved up my appetite for more.
Next came the Braised Pork Wing. You know the love-fest I have with braised meats, right? Well… it continued in this dish. Fork tender, meaty and unctuous. Served it with a puree of purple potato and celery root along with blistered grape tomatoes. This is something I’d like to recreate at home, if the chef will share his secret to frenching the “wing” of pork.
Our next stop was Sorrisi, Italian for “smiles,” and I was all smiles as we entered the private dining room. Gorgeous harvest gold flower bouquets adorned each table along with an elegant appetizer plate of soft-roasted garlic cloves, a deeply flavorful pistou and imported Italian cheese to pair with crunchy grilled toasts.
But the star here was the Lobster Ravioli. One generously stuffed pasta anchored the dish and was bathed in the richest cognac lobster cream (I nearly licked the bowl) and topped with a 3-oz portion of Maine Lobster. Toasted parmesan and fried garlic sprinkled on top acted as a foil to the richness of this dish.
The Grilled Romaine side “salad” included grilled artichokes, lemon and romaine with a buttery prosciutto bundle. This offering was paired with a Greco di Tufo Mastroberardino, which both cleansed the palate and complimented the flavors in this dish.
Our next stop was NYY Steak. Lead Butcher Walter Apfelbaum, gave us a tutorial on what makes USDA Prime beef, Prime. He stressed that only 2% of beef in the U.S. earns that distinction. At NYY they take it one step further, by dry aging the beef (and Colorado lamb) in special climate controlled refrigerators. I could feel the passion and excitement in Walter’s voice as he spoke of the process and it was contagious!
Our first morsel at NYY Steak, was a taste of their Osetra Caviar Service – complete with the traditional accompaniments of blini, egg, creme fraiche and chives — oh and a flute of Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne! Wow!
The next course was a real show-stopper! The Signature Thick Cut Bacon (house cured and smoked, of course) glazed in maple syrup and served hanging over a cast-iron skillet of cornbread to catch the porky-sweet drippings. Oh-Ma-Gawd! Oh-ma-gawd-oh-ma-gawd!!! My eyes bugged – if you only go for one thing — GO FOR THIS!
I don’t want to say the Prime Dry-Aged New York Strip was a let-down, it wasn’t — but come on – how does anything top BACON? Seriously though, this steak was perfectly prepared, flavorful and dramatic in its simplicity. I’ve never experienced such a tender cut before — and this wasn’t a tenderloin, people — it was a New York Strip!
In case you needed a skosh of seasoning, a tray of fleur de sel, cracked black pepper and pink himalayan sea salt were at the ready.
Did I mention the Truffle Mac and Cheese? Yes, those are shaved truffles on top of those crispy bread crumbs. The “rich factor” in this rendition is off-the-charts. It’s decadent. Hedonistic… and will forever live on my thighs!
By now, I doubted that I could eat any more, and was vowing to have just a bite of dessert. But then, dessert turned into performance art… and I was swept away by the 151 Volcano!
The 151 Volcano is a mountain-shaped bombe of vanilla ice cream, crusted in crushed Heath Bars and splashed with flaming 151 rum. Flaming!!!! Half the fun of this dessert is watching the servers expertly maneuver the torch, rum and spoon over the ice cream. The other half is eating it… and I finished off the whole thing. (Don’t judge!)
At this point, I felt like Violet Beauregard from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory busting through the seams of my previously loose-fitting outfit. Just roll me home — except the final reception was happening on level2 with Brandy Alexanders and a stunning dessert display.
I sipped the after dinner cocktail of Cognac VSOP, Creme de Cacao and cream — yes, cream (absolutely divine), but just couldn’t manage another bite of food. Instead I took pictures to share with you.
The restaurants at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek Casino are ideal for any occasion. For more casual dining, Fresh Harvest has a tremendous selection for all appetites. If you’re looking for something more upscale, Sorrisi and NYY Steak have you covered and their signature and craft cocktails will make you feel like a high roller on a Saturday night. This is the new standard for date night, South Florida!
I’ll see you there soon!
Seminole Casino Coconut Creek
5550 NW 40th Street
Coconut Creek, FL 33073
I received a complimentary meal for this post. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Garlic & Zest!