Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Day at the Casinos, A Night at Ron's Roost

Dexter Climbss the Mileage Marker in Lawrenceburg, IN
      Eric's Mom was visiting, and a trip to the Indiana casinos is always on her list for entertainment.  We decided to make it a day trip by starting out on Route 50 West.  I like taking that highway from Cincinnati as it is more scenic and really just as fast as the interstate.  If you have time, stop off at Fern Bank Park...a lovely city gem stretched out along the banks of the Ohio River.  The tree-lined promenade is a great place to take temporary residence on one of the many benches along the walkway.  

Whiskey's Interior
      We usually make the buffet at Hollywood Casino our first destination, but they were in the middle of a remodel (they're still open though) so we decided to have lunch at Whiskey's nearby in the Newtown district of Lawrenceburg, IN.  I had been there before so the challenge was to please Carol and Eric. Whiskey's is two connected older buildings one of which was a button factory.  The look was turn-of-the-last-century, dimly lit, and inviting.  Be sure and check out
the restrooms as they both have unique themes.

      Eric and I settled on a cup of the Potato Soup and the Grilled Pork Tenderloin Sandwich.  The soup was thick, ladened with shredded cheese on top and accompanied with sour cream and saltines.  It had good flavor but I would have liked it to have been less
Cup of Potato Soup
pasty and warmer.  The sandwich was served with grilled peppers and onions on a toasted bun.  The bread could have been larger to accommodate the large tenderloin.  I'm used to deep fried tenderloin and given a second chance, I would have preferred that preparation (it was offered that way also).  It was billed as home made but we both found it not to be of the highest quality meat.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
Maryland Crabwich
Carol ordered the Maryland Crabwich served with a roasted red pepper mayonnaise.  The crab cake looked manufactured but had good flavor.  The sauce was a highlight.  Carol was also going to have the French Onion Soup but saw that it was served with Swiss cheese as opposed to Gruyère, which does not stick to the roof of your mouth.

Whisky's Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Rising Star Resort Entrance
Entering the Casino
      Grand Victoria Casino in Rising Sun had recently been renamed Rising Star so we were interested in seeing the changes.  All of them were cosmetic and mostly just routine maintenance like painting and repaving.  They have stepped up their entertainment offerings on Saturdays with stars trying to rise again or more famous entertainers past their prime times.  None-the-less, it was a "rising scar" day for us at the casino.  We were hoping for a repeat of when my niece won $600 there a few months ago.  

Entrance to Hollywood Casino
      Carol was ready to move on to Hollywood.  There, we fared a little better.  Since its complete casino replacement in 2009, improvements have continued to take place on the property with every new visit.  There are numerous options for meals.  The Epic Buffet (the new name pending its complete renovation) offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily with certain days featuring crab legs and prime rib.  Final Cut is
Final Cut Steakhouse
the fine dining steak house.  The Marquee Café has limited hours and serves local comfort food as well as more adventurous selections.  The Hollywood & Grind is perfect for refueling and light snacks.  Inside the casino is Celebrity Grille serving diner style platters and beverages, while Boogie Nights is the disco bar and entertainment club.  The casino itself couldn't be more Las Vegas.  Its décor is over-the-top with structures that look as though they were from the backlot of a major movie studio.  It's entertaining just to walk through.  All of the opulence makes it hard to believe that the two-story structure is actually floating!

Hollywood Casino Floor

Ron's Roost Complete with a Chicken on Top
      To complete our day we had decided to stop at Ron's Roost in Bridgetown for some German cuisine.  For a German city, Cincinnati can be hard pressed for finding traditional German fare at a reasonable price.  Eric and Carol were brought up on German meals since Eric's grandparents lived there for several years so they know what to expect.  Ron's Roost offers two authentic Oktoberfest dinners on their menu year 'round.  Carol decided on the Oktoberfest Sauerbraten and Eric had the Bavarian Platter Sampler.  "The Roost" is also famous for their fried chicken so I had the Quarter White Meat Chicken Dinner.  The sauerbraten was beautifully tender and the vinegar marinade left a tangy and sweet taste to the meat.  It was served on noodles with potato pancakes and the hot bacon slaw.  It tasted great, but Eric’s Mom preferred the pancakes because her system can’t take the acidity of the slaw dressing anymore.  The sampler platter is a good introduction to Ron’s German influenced specialties.  Again, the terrific sauerbraten is served with the potato pancake, hot bacon slaw (or applesauce if you choose), the red cabbage, which is soft, sweet, and sort of velvety with the acid of the marinade, and a smoked German mett.  This was tender, juicy, and with enough flavor that it doesn’t need mustard.

Oktoberfest Sauerbraten
Bavarian Platter Sampler
Quarter White Meat Chicken Dinner
Hot Bacon Slaw
The chicken was lightly breaded and seasoned for a crispy coating, but the difference is that they use skinless chicken making for less greasy pieces.  It's definitely a winner...perhaps not everyone's favorite fried chicken, but still a masterful take on a classic recipe.  We all had the Hot Bacon Slaw, which always conjures up family memories.  It's the salty/sweet taste that is so popular now so perhaps this old-timer will see a resurgence on other menus.

Lemon Meringue Pie
Carol (and us too) can never resist a good dessert so we decided to share a slice of the Lemon Meringue Pie made by a neighboring business, Gary's Cheescake and Fine Desserts.  I've had his lemon pie before and it is sublime.  A tart clear gelled filling with lots of firm meringue toasted on top.  Service was delightfully friendly and entertaining.  She was attentive and anticipated what we needed before we knew it ourselves.  

Ron's Roost on Urbanspoon

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