Atlantic City restaurants embrace the farm-to-table trend

Chef Mitchell's fava bean sweet pea tortellini is worth the drive to the beach.
Chef Mitchell’s fava bean sweet pea tortellini is worth the drive to the beach.

You may not be able to order your favorite dish at one of the restaurants at Caesars, Bally’s, Showboat or Harrah’s at the beach this weekend — it depends what was caught that day. The four casino-hotels, part of Caesars Entertainment Corporation, are focusing on fresh, locally produced fare for Garden State to Plate, their Jersey-centric take on farm-to-table.

For executive chef Keith Mitchell, who oversees the restaurants at Caesars and Bally’s, it’s nothing new. “I’ve been doing locally sourced my whole career,” he told Metro last weekend, when we stopped by Atlantic Grill at Caesars to take in the panoramic views of the boards and beach and sample the chef’s fava bean sweet pea tortellini and house-made mozzarella with warmed sungold tomatoes.

The ingredients we gobbled up came from the 40-acre Masters Organic Farm in nearby Galloway. Masters provides produce exclusively for the Caesars properties, which means Mitchell gets to put in requests for what’s planted.

He has a similar relationship with fish and game suppliers.

“[The fisherman] will go out for clams, and I’ll get a message at 5 a.m. saying they also caught swordfish. And then we’ll design the menu around that,” he said.

With New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware offering gambling, Atlantic City has been making a big push to bring in money from restaurants and retail, not just slots and tables — and it seems to be working, Mitchell said. The majority of diners at Atlantic Grill and next-door Nero’s Tuscan Steakhouse are not gamers. People are now coming just to eat, and Mitchell wants to make sure they eat well.

The city and the casinos used to just “throw money at everything,” he said. “But people are paying more attention to what they eat and where it comes from. You have to be smart. You have to be thoughtful about what you’re putting on the menu.”

Celebrity chefs
Restaurateur extraordinaire Stephen Starr, of Morimoto, Continental, El Vez, Barclay Prime and others, is partially behind Atlantic City’s transformation into a foodie town, Chef Mitchell said. When Starr brought two of his chic Philadelphia restaurants, Buddakan (also in New York) and Continental, to the Pier Shops at Caesars, people started to realize there’s a market for that. Of course, bringing in celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay and Jose Garces, who have restaurants in the Borgata and Revel, doesn’t hurt either.

A few more “big name” celebrity chefs are planning to debut restaurants in AC, Mitchell said — but he’s “not at liberty” to give us the scoop on exactly who just yet.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Turkey: Voting begins in country's first direct presidential…

Some 53 million people are able to vote in the election, including 2.8 million citizens abroad. Until now, Turkish presidents were elected by parliament.

News

Libya seeks ceasefire as south Tripoli a militia…

By Patrick Markey and Aziz El YaakoubiTRIPOLI (Reuters) - Black plumes of smoke marked shell blasts and bulldozed earthen barricades mapped out the frontlines around…

Breaking: News

Russia mad about sanctions, says U.S. contributing to…

Russia reacted angrily on Saturday to additional sanctions imposed by the European Union over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, saying they would hamper cooperation…

National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Television

'Game of Thrones' livens up Comic Con with…

By Piya Sinha-RoySAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Laughter and death did battle on Friday at HBO's "Game of Thrones" panel at Comic Con, one of the…

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.