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2 nights at the Borgata: comments on the Buffet and suggestions for another nice dinner?

We'll be coming to Atlantic City from DC spending 2 nights at the Borgata (a Monday - Wednesday trip). One night we'll be doing their "Up All Night" package, which includes 2 tix to a comedy club, 2 drinks, and the Borgata Buffet dinner for two. The other night we're doing the "Wake Up Smiling" package with breakfast at the Borgata Buffet.

A few questions:
1. Any comments on the Borgata Buffet itself for Breakfast and Dinner? (We haven't finalized the pacakges yet so if the buffet offerings are just so-so, we might change our plan.) We LOVED the buffet at the Bellagio, for comparison's sake.
2. Can you AC Chowhounds provide suggestions for another place for a nice dinner the night we won't have the buffet? We'll probably want to end up staying at the hotel itself, but might consider meandering over to the Pier or to the Tropicana. (We will have a car.) I've read on the boards some pros and cons for Sea Catch and Bobby Flay's and am curious what the latest thoughts on those are. We like trendy but want something upscale as we are celebrating my husband's new job.
3. Any feedback on Brulee (the dessert place)? I saw a story on the Food Network about it a while back and am curious if anyone's been and if it's worth it. That might be a nice way to celebrate since my husband is a sugar addict!

Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. Not to rain on anything, but, just so you know, the Borgata buffet is not the Bellagio. I took my family one sunday to the Borgata brunch and was also hoping to recapture some of the magic that we shared at the Bellagio, but it wasn't even close.

    Bobby Flay's is not a bad choice if you don't want to leave the hotel, but check out a few of the recent posts about better local choices for a special meal. And fyi, since you would have to drive anyway to the Pier, you shouldn't rule out driving to any other local places.

    1. My husband and I were at the Borgata for a concert a few months ago and had a few drinks at Ombra afterwards, their menu looks fantastic, at least something we would enjoy, it's upscale, it's got a great atmosphere.


      The only place I've eaten at the Tropicana has been Hooters. *blush*

      3 Replies
      1. re: TarheelYankee

        Ombra is excellent. Super food and a great wine list. If you go ask to be seated in Sandy's area.

        1. re: TarheelYankee

          Ombra is wonderful, my favorite restaurant at the Borgata. I would honestly skip Flay's and Puck's, and try Buddakan (Caesar's Pier-it's excellent) on the second night. If you're looking for a smaller meal or a snack while at the Borgata, don't miss Fatburger on the cafeteria level (its the only one I know of on the West Coast) or Gypsy Bar-a fantastic tequila bar with upscale bar food.

          1. re: vvvindaloo

            There is actually a fatburger in jersey city as well but you are right in that it is worth a visit- great fat fries.

            I didnt know that buddakan opened up down there?? Thats great to hear- does it offer the same menu as the one in philly? If so, I need to pay it a visit.

        2. The latest thoughts on Bobby Flay's and Sea Blue, which is what I think you meant when you sead Sea Catch, is that they charge top dollar for inconsistant food and service, just like almost all of the new wave of AC's high end restaurants. There have been several recent discussions on this board. That said, if you really want to check out the Pier or the Quarter, my recommendation for the Pier is Buddakan. I would expect the Continental to also be good, but I have not eaten in that one yet, although the one in Philadelphia is very good. At the Quarter my favorites are Red Square and the Palm. If you want to go off the beaten path, Little Saigon in AC is excellent and Dune in Margate is as well, both BYOs. Ate last night at Manna in Ventnor and would recommend it as an "up and comer". Lots of people rave about the food at Chef Vola's in AC. I'm not one of them, but I'd still recommend it as a place to experience for it's atmosphere.

          Of course if you want to hedge your bets, there's always White House Subs.

          Good Luck

          1 Reply
          1. re: Rocket88

            Yes, I meant Sea Blue. Sea Catch is here in DC. Thanks for the fedback.

          2. The Borgata Buffet is probably the best in AC - everything comes out in small batches to ensure freshness. That being said - don't expect anything amazing.
            I read recently that Brulee is no longer open except by special arramgement for parties. It uses a shared space at the Quarter.
            I agree with an earlier reply about Red Square at the Quarter - worth the drive over. I am still waiting for their sister restaurant - Rum Jungle - to open at the pier, the date keeps getting pushed back.

            1 Reply
            1. The Borgota buffet is good but nothing that will absolutely knock you out. If you want to stay in the Borgota, the Steakhouse is very good but I have not been to the Emeril or Flay places yet. I will say that Ive never been disappointed by Mesa Grill but Im not sure if that translates.

              For your sake, do NOT miss out on a few white house subs, at least on the way home. The best you are ever going to eat- ask to buy some extra rolls too.

              7 Replies
              1. re: yankeefan

                Where is White House? That sounds perfect for our drive home!

                Emeril has a place in the Borgata? Is that new?

                  1. re: yankeefan

                    Yum, looks great. Thanks for the link, yankeefan. What sandwiches do you recommend from there?

                    1. re: KWynn

                      You honestly can not go wrong with just about any choice.

                      My personal favorites are the tuna and the sausage/pepper. You truly cant go wrong. All this talk I need to make a trip down there now.

                      1. re: KWynn

                        The tuna and the meatball. The best!

                    2. re: KWynn

                      White House subs is at 2301 Arctic Ave, a block or so south of the Expressway corridor into mid town. But don't get take out, or it's just a sub shop. It's a throwback to Old Atlantic City.

                      There is no Emeril restaurant in AC. yankeefan probably means Wolfgang Puck or Michael Mina.

                      1. re: Rocket88

                        Sorry about that, I was thinking of Mina- got it confused with Emerils seablue.

                  2. Let us know what you think of White House? Bring me a tuna hoagie while your at it with hot peppers please.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: yankeefan

                      We're not going there until the second week in October, but will post my thoughts upon our return. Can't promise the tuna hoagie though--that might get stinky in the car...

                    2. The Knife and Fork Inn www.knifeandforkinn.com great steak place. Upscale, classic. Definitetly a celebratory place. Celebrated 1st anniversary there, couldn't have been happier.

                      1. My son and I had dinner at the Old Homestead in the Borgata Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City on Tuesday the 25th. Below is a review that I submitted to the nj.com restaurant forum.

                        In celebration of my birthday, my son treated me to a great meal last night at the Old Homestead in the Borgata Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City.

                        We both started off with clams casino that were terrific. My son had the blackened boneless rib steak with crab meat and blue cheese. I had the petite filet mignon with hash browns and demi glaze. My son had a side of garlic mashed potatoes and we shared sides of mushroom caps and roasted long hot peppers. For desert I had the crème brulee and my son had the “Big Fat Chocolate Cake”. We each had an espresso with anisette to finished things off.

                        It was expensive, but we both agreed that it was one of the best meals we ever had. It was certainly one of the best steaks.

                        Living near Trenton, I’ve eaten at Pete Lorenzo’s a number of times and although their steaks are usually good these were better in both taste and tenderness and they were cooked to perfection.

                        If you’re in AC at the Borgata, I’d highly recommend that you try it.

                        1. a stay at the borgata wouldn't be complete without making time for a visit downstairs to Tony Luke's for a pork, provolone, and broccoli rabe sandwich. unless you live in philly and get them all the time.

                          1. I will second the Old Homestead. Great steaks and a fun atmosphere. It is on the expensive side, but you get excellent quality.

                            1. Thanks for all the recs everyone. We're heading out to AC early next week...
                              As of now we have a reservation at Buddakan on Monday night, and one at Sea Blue on Tuesday night. We decided to forgo the "Up All Night" package since the breakfast option seems like a better deal, and this way we're not locked into checking out the comedy show or having the buffet for dinner. We also are definitely planning to go to the White House for a sandwich at some time while we're there (and hopefully snag some bread to-go). And we may end up staying one more night--if so, might go to Ombra or Old Homestead. Since it's during the week I assume we'll be okay without a reservation at either? Or we can make one once we're at the hotel?
                              Will repost here and let everyone know how our trip is.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: KWynn

                                I've eaten at the bar in Ombra on a weekend with no wait, so during the week you should be fine without a reservation. Enjoy your trip!

                                1. re: KWynn

                                  If it's not too late - avoid Sea Blue!!!

                                  I love MM, but this joint does not live up to his high standards.

                                  1. re: seal

                                    I have to agree with seal, Sea Blue is definitely overrated. Go to Ombra or Bobby Flay. Try the cap/salami/and prov at the White House. Delish! Also, I don't think you're getting any "bread to go", the staff are not known for their congeniality!

                                    1. re: KBus

                                      They send you to the bakery across the street. They are more than happy there at the bakery to send you with some bread to go. It is awesome.

                                      1. re: yankeefan

                                        Although the OP doesn't seem to have gone to Buddakan after all, I had dinner there on a recent trip to AC. From what I can tell, yankeefan, the menu at the AC Buddakan is not as extensive as the one in Philadelphia. I've never been to the one in NYC. Still, I really enjoyed my meal, as did the less-adventurous Texans who were on this trip with me. We split a few appetizers, including the beef satay and the chicken & ginger dumplings. I was regretting the fact that these choices were on the "safe" side, in deference to my companions' palates, but the flavors were truly good. The dumplings were not at all bland, even without the sesame dipping sauce. The Kobe beef used in the satay was tender and flavorful. I was also quite tempted to hoard all the mushroom pieces from the well-executed vegetable tempura that came on the side. For a main course, I had the pan-seared sea bass, which was perfectly cooked and pleasantly sweet in flavor. The fish was served over haricots verts, cubes of sweet potato, and maitake mushrooms. (The sea bass was the envy of the others at the table, who regretted their dull, and much less expensive, "chicken" selection.) For dessert, we had a couple of orders of the cream-filled donuts which, at this outpost of Buddakan, just came with chocolate and banana dipping sauces. I love warm-from-the-fryer desserts in general, and these sugar- and cinnamon-coated treats were quite good. The food, the friendly service and reception (even with no reservations), the over-the-top ambience, combined with several enjoyable Bonsai martinis—the ones with Grey Goose, cilantro, and lime—left us all very happy.

                                        Thanks for the tip, vvvindaloo.

                                        1. re: MPH

                                          Sounds good. Get yourself to Philly and have their doughnuts, they are really off the hook. Please dont miss the tuna wasabi tartar pizza and the calimari salad- I think that is what keeps me coming back to that place over and over and over and never being disappointed.

                                2. Report back on our trip to AC:

                                  Monday Night: Bobby Flay Steak
                                  Service was okay, but when you're paying close to $50 for a filet mignon, you want better than okay service. We started with some cocktails (both girls got the one that the waitress described as "the only girly drink on the menu"--without us asking for that suggestion, and the guys had a scotch and a vodka). Starters included tuna tartare (good but not the best I've had), lobster and steak skewers (very good) and the romaine salad (mediocre, at best). For entrees 3 of us got filets, which were cooked to perfection but came out lukewarm (mine was more room temperature). They were served with a small red pepper stuffed with a delicious onion relish, bernaise sauce and bobby's steak sauce on the side. Bobby's sauce was excellent--far from A1. I'm not a fan of bernaise but my husband enjoyed it. The other person in our party ordered a fish en papillote (can't remember the kind of fish) which he really enjoyed. For sides we shared the mushroom mashed potatoes with truffle (my favorite), sweet potato gratin (good but not great IMO, but my husband enjoyed), and sauteed spinach (this was soaking in butter--I prefer it sauteed in garlic and olive oil...took one bite and gave the rest of mine to my husband. It also needed more seasoning). We were too stuffed for dessert. Oh, and during the meal we ordered an inexpensive Syrah (< $40) which was a great deal and paired well with our steaks.

                                  Tuesday night: Sea Blue
                                  Yes, I read the warnings on here, but my husband's cousin claims it's his favorite restaurant in A.C. so we took his advice. And we were happy we did! Food was delicious and service was excellent. Perhaps those who complained about mediocre service had newer staff serving them as our waiter has been serving there since it opened and he was very responsive and helpful. We started with the mussel appetizer for the two of us to share. It was a very generous portion of steamed mussels in a butter, cream, and dill sauce. Normally I would prefer mussels in a tomato or garlic/white wine sauce but this was a unique preparation and I'm glad we ordered it since both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it. For entrees I had the miso glazed chilean seabass. It came with 4 or 5 scallop raviolis in a light mushroom broth with various mushrooms which were quite tasty. The seabass had a light sweet soy glaze on it, which complemented the buttery flavor of the fish. My husband had the special which was a black bass in a pinot noir reduction with truffle risotto. This is quite possibly his favorite combination and I'm lucky I took a bite when it first arrived because before I knew it his plate was cleaned! For dessert we took our waiter's recommendation to try the special funnel cake (not on the printed menu). This was a large portion of cinnamon and sugar coated funnel cake (closer in flavor to a churro than funnel cake I've had in the past) served with 3 sauces: chocolate, bluberry, and a honey maple sauce. We loved them all but were unable to finish the dessert.

                                  Wednesday night: The Continental
                                  On Wednesday we went to the pier and really enjoyed our meal at Continental. While service was a bit shaky at first (we sat for 15 minutes before someone came over to take our order--and this was only after my husband said something to the hostess!), the tapas-style menu was fun and inventive. We shared several items, of which we really enjoyed most of them. We had the following: buffalo chicken meatballs (my favorite of the night), BBQ chicken quesadilla, cheesesteak eggrolls (my husband's favorite), kobe beef sliders (our least favorite as we have a place back home in DC--matchbox--which makes them much better), and one other one which I can’t think of…

                                  We ate breakfasts at the Borgata Buffet (tons of food, none of which stood out as phenomenal, but it had a huge selection and enough variety so that we ate different items the 2 days we ate there) and Bread & Butter (I had a split buttered muffin and my husband enjoyed his pb&j with banana concoction). Unfortunately we never made it to the White House, but will be sure to make it a destination the next time we return to A.C.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: KWynn

                                    Thanks for the report back and I'm happy you enjoyed your stay in AC. I've been on the fence about SeaBlue but maybe I might actually now give it a shot.

                                    1. re: KWynn

                                      I am so happy that you went to Sea Blue, I have been there about 4 times and never had a bad meal always excellent...