The overwhelming majority of my writing centers around local family eateries in Southwest Louisiana.
Only once have I ever featured one of our many casino restaurants. With the opening of the renowned Gordon Ramsay Steak in the Horseshoe Casino, I decided to make another exception.
The opening launch was carefully structured by limiting the number of reservations through the Open Table app in order to avoid overwhelming the kitchen and staff. With my digital reservation secured, I was counting the days to the experience.
Honestly, I was not expecting the casino to be busy as a whole, but I had been anticipating a bit more foot traffic, despite visiting mid-week.
My wife and I approached the maître d’ upon our arrival. We were greeted and ushered to our table by a sharply dressed gentleman. John Day introduced himself as our server for the evening. He offered drink suggestions to consider, and a bottle of chilled Pellegrino sparking water was served.
I chose the London Fog —Woodford reserve bourbon, amaro Montenegro, cherry, barrel aged bitters and vanilla in a smoky cocktail that would put any standard Old Fashioned to shame. Shyla chose the Buffalo in the Wheat Field, with hickory-smoked, cherry-infused Ketel One, Buffalo Trace orange syrup and black walnut bitters.
We started our meal with a Caesar salad with fresh romaine, a scotch egg, soft-boiled quail egg, finely crumbled sausage and crust, along with a crab cake. If you think you’ve had the best crab cakes, this one may make you reconsider. The pan-seared thin, flaky crust covers the seasoned Louisiana blue crab. It’s served over hollandaise. Macerated scallops are used as a unique binder keeping it all together. The increasing heat built on the tongue.
Though our entrée orders had already been placed, Shyla and I discussed other appetizers. Caving to temptation, we tossed a wrench in the service. As the entrees fired, we asked that a steak tartare be added. We could not have been any more unconventional in this request, but our server and the kitchen obliged, delivering the dish with the entrees.
The steak tartare, served in a smoky haze-filled glass, was a beautiful presentation of succulent ruby-red beef tenderloin, finely grated Manchego cheese and house prepared Yukon gold chips.
If you’re familiar with Gordon Ramsay’s television shows, you’ll know of two very popular dishes: the lobster risotto and the beef Wellington. Granted, this may be the only restaurant in our area to serve these dishes regularly, but we both decided we wanted to try the lesser-known dishes.
Shyla opted for the roasted chicken — slow-cooked leg confit, roasted chard and cornbread pudding over chicken jus. It was a savory delight, served along with potato purée. I could use the adjective silky to describe the creamy smoothness of this potato puree, but I don’t think the word does this dish justice. This is just one of those times you’ll have to trust me and try it for yourself.
My main entrée was the beautiful sea bass. Prized for its delicate and mildly sweet taste, this flavorful fish was served over wilted leeks, accompanied by Kalamata olive relish, fried capers and creamy buerre monte. I could not have chosen a better dish.
We couldn’t end such a wonderful meal without sweets. One of the more popular desserts, the sticky toffee pudding, finished off our evening. A moist pudding cake sat aside a brown butter ice cream bar, with warmed brown sugar toffee drizzled tableside.
From the second we walked in, we had impeccable service with attention to detail. The personable care my wife and I received is unmatched by any. Not a single staff member walked by our table without at least looking to see if something was out of place or needed attention. John Day exuded an air of confidence and had extensive knowledge of the entire menu. Each and every dish was culinary art, and every aspect of this meal was brought to us by locals, and they set the bar high.