Harrah’s New Dos Caminos, Luke Palladino
The term non-casino amenities has been the “save Atlantic City” mantra ever since the economy tanked and took the mega-profits of the Atlantic City casinos with it. As always, the town that is called dead or dying by media prognosticators always manages to get up off the canvas and reinvent itself.
With the summer arriving, Atlantic City is revitalizing itself big time in the Marina district, with the Golden Nugget taking over the former Trump Marina property, and Harrah’s Resort injecting new life in the already vibrant dining scene with two new restaurants, Dos Caminos and Luke Palladino at Harrah’s Resort.
Luke Palladino had its official ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday night, while Dos Caminos opened Memorial Day Weekend.
I had a chance to dine at both establishments over the weekend and both are presenting regional cuisine with flair and a great view. Dos Caminos presents modern Mexican cuisine and a gorgeous view of the bay. Luke Palladino at Harrah’s Resort features an open kitchen so you can watch the master chef offer up his personal take on Italian cuisine, steak and seafood.
The trip to Dos Caminos was an expansion of the tasting preview experienced at the Viking Cooking School a few weeks back. Dos Caminos, a chain that also has four locations in New York City, one in Ft Lauderdale, Fla. and one in Las Vegas, is known for its killer guacamole. It deserves the reputation; its guac trio sampler is highlighted by the mango guacamole.
Another top choice is the roasted plantain empanadas, a pocket of plantain dough filled with cheese, black beans and chipotle aioli.
The margaritas are out of this world, and the menu also features quesadillas, tacos, fish and steak entrees and wonderful sides. Don’t pass up on the Mexico City street corn, an ear of corn roasted with cotija cheese on the outside, making for a wonderful blend of sweet and salty.
At the press night for Luke Palladino Saturday, the chef provided a sampling of appetizers, pasta selections and dessert (including his grandmother’s recipe for canolli), while diners ordered from the entrée menu. My favorite from the pasta menu was the potato gnocchi in a creamy Parmigiano reggiano sauce with peas and prosciutto. It was delicious and the first time I’ve had gnocchi — but not the last! My entree was a lovely piece of beef tenderloin cooked with the bone. It arrived exactly as ordered, medium rare, and was plated with a flat manicotti, which looked like a long ravioli. The filling was creamy and incredible, the best manicotti I’ve ever had.
Anyone who wants to say Atlantic City is dying has obviously not dined in town recently.