Craftsteak at MGM Grand, Bring your bankroll
Finishing up our vacation, which started in Cape Cod and finished in Mystic Seaport, my husband and I decided to have dinner at Craftsteak in the MGM Grand Casino at Foxwoods.
First, if there is something magical about the MGM as its commercials imply on TV, it alludes me. I wasn't tempted to throw any money away on the pedestrian looking slots. So, it was just dinner for us.
I had made the reservation the night before by phone and was on hold for 20 to 30 minutes. There has to be a better way.
I liked the interior of the restaurant, sleek look and design, bronze and leather. There are paintings of cows on the walls, I don't think they add anything to the room.
You will never be lonely at Craftsteak. Servers, bussers, water guys, plate guys, whatever, are constantly monitoring the perimeter. You gaze up, you will be attended to. When you ask where the rest room is, you will not be told, you will be led to it instead. Fortunately, the staff does not go inside to attend to your other business. And while I had trouble figuring out how to turn the water on in the bathroom, hubby said he had no problem.
On to the food. Hubby was driving and didn't want alcohol. I ordered a glass of sparkling Brut Rose which was excellent. Since we weren't ordering wine, I didn't thoroughly review the list, but it leaned towards expensive.
We decided to skip appetizers, and just nibble on the Parker House rolls instead. The rolls were freshly baked, but they weren't true Parker House, and they were bland. The circle of butter served with them was good but insufficient to butter the six small rolls in the basket.
For steaks we ordered corn fed: T-Bone medium rare, and Rib Eye medium. Sides are a la carte and served family style. We ordered the baby carrots and fries.
Having watched an episode of Top Chef where one of the challenges was cooking steak properly, l expected Craftsteak, under Tom Colicchio's brand would do it right. Wrong. The T-Bone was cold and red in the center and very rare. As a result, it wasn't juicy either, and it was bland to boot. My husband and I ate one piece each and were done with it. Brought it home to our son. At $67 it was a disappointment majeure. Even though waitstaff abounded, after an initial "How is everything," when we hadn't even eaten the steak yet, no one seemed to notice we didn't eat this one, or ask about it.
The Rib Eye was also undercooked - medium rare, but that was good for me, because that's how I like my meat. It was juicy and very flavorful. Even though it was a bit underdone for my husband he acknowledged the good beefy flavor and tenderness. In the $50 range, this was a good steak.
The baby carrots really were baby carrots and not what the supermarkets call baby carrots (that is, regular carrots cut small). And they were very good, roasted and glazed! Fries were hand cut and were also very good. The side portions were ample.
We decided to splurge on dessert, and ordered the Chocolate Souffle and Doughnuts. Both were very very good. The souffle was light and full of good quality chocolate. The doughnuts were hot and soft, and were enhanced by the chocolate, caramel, and vanilla dipping sauces. Portions were generous.
My cappucino was bitter and tasted slighly burnt, and our server apologized profusely and remade it for me. He came back and explained how sometimes the espresso can be too strong. Still too bitter for my taste, my husband downed it.
Because we skipped the apps and didn't drink we spent about $110 per person at Craftsteak. I've had better $100 meals and I have had worse. I would go back if I had enough casino points to make the meal free. On my own nickel...I don't think so.
One more thing I should add...
I learned a bit about Craftsteak during the meal because a table near us was receiving VIP treatment. One man in the party said he was the brother-in-law of the chef.
They got extra food on the house as well as lengthy visits from the service manager, and someone from the kitchen who brought a huge piece of meat out (I believe it was Wagyu) and explained it to them.
Although I tried not to eavesdrop, it was unavoidable. I learned that the service manager once worked for the Steak Loft in Mystic, and there had been a shake up in the kitchen because the original chef did not work out.
So if you are seated near any VIPS, you may find out all kinds of things.
We had an unpleasant and expensive evening there a few weeks ago. Husband's $57 sirloin was ordered medium and served bloody rare. He sent it back and received a steak that was cold with lots of gristle. We won't be going back.