The stakes are excessive at Saracen On line casino’s Crimson Oak Steakhouse
When my buddy and I arrived for our reservation at Crimson Oak Steakhouse, Saracen On line casino’s high-end restaurant tucked away on the again finish of the 80,000-square-foot gaming house, we had a plan. Eat a $150 steak after which hit the on line casino flooring and win copious quantities of money, making our tab on the restaurant one thing we’d chortle at earlier than tearing up the receipt, laughing maniacally and tipping $100 chips for our complimentary cocktails. I used to be engaged on a narrative about Arkansas on line casino playing and I didn’t wish to report about shedding. It’s good to have a plan, which was just about precisely what Saracen’s meals and beverage director Todd Gold instructed me he and his culinary staff at Saracen had been attempting to attain earlier than opening for enterprise in October of 2020: vacation spot eating to go together with the playing.
Crimson Oak’s kitchen is seen from the final row of slot machines on the on line casino flooring, the cooks’ neon reflections shimmering amongst cooks cooking over excessive flames. There’s additionally a glass dry-aged beef case observable from the ground.
The restaurant has a pleasant vibe. It’s darkish and comparatively quiet, regardless of the open kitchen providing diners views into the house the place the steaks are ready. Our waiter who beforehand labored on the Capital Lodge acknowledged my buddy as a patron. The bartender was a well-recognized face from the Capital as effectively.
The complimentary bread served with mushy butter was glorious. Heat, mushy and seasoned with what tasted like Italian spices, I wished to keep away from it solely however I couldn’t. “Man, this bread is great,” my buddy mentioned.
“I’m writing that down,” I instructed him.
We selected the Arkansas Root Beer Glazed Pork Stomach appetizer. When my buddy ordered it, our waiter nodded his head ahead, however didn’t say something, making each of us query ourselves.
“Ought to we get one thing else?” my buddy requested. The waiter mentioned that our order was a great one, however that we shouldn’t go away with out attempting the fried oysters.
We ordered each. I figured, why not? In any case, we had been about to take the home down. Full disclosure: I used to be planning on expensing this meal, however I used to be nervous about it. I’ve by no means expensed a meal at work for over 80 bucks.
The pork stomach’s house-made root beer/barbecue glaze wasn’t too heavy or candy. It was a pleasant praise to the tender pork stomach, which I felt good about ordering in spite of everything. It was served with an arugula salad and a few outrageously mushy spoon bread that virtually dissolves in your mouth, made with candy corn from Esau Farms in Dumas. So good.
The fried oysters app our waiter beneficial may’ve be well worth the journey alone — a layer of scrumptious pork belly-smoked grits topped with creamed spinach and the delicately fried oyster, lined with a flavorful pickled-corn tartar sauce that I might fortunately eat out of a jar with a spoon. It’s one of the best dish I’ve eaten this yr. As our meal continued we observed so lots of these apps going out. I can’t imagine we nearly missed it.
Regardless of my confidence that we had been going to win massive after dinner, my voice cracked like an adolescent asking somebody to promenade once I ordered the A5 Kobe strip steak ($150). Crimson Oak is without doubt one of the few eating places in America providing licensed Kobe beef, an elusive breed of pure-blood Tajima Wagyu cattle born, raised, slaughtered and processed in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture. What makes the steak particular is its marbling, which Saracen’s meals and beverage director Todd Gold attributes to genetics. “With Kobe, there are not any massive chunks of fats like on conventional steaks. Relatively, the fats is evenly dispersed all through the muscle in a sort of spider internet of ultra-thin veins,” Gold mentioned. Carlton Saffa, Saracen’s chief advertising officer, instructed me Saracen sought the certification to bolster its dedication to elevating the bar in Arkansas, making Saracen as a lot of a meals vacation spot as it’s for gaming.
The 8-ounce Kobe strip arrived on a picket reducing board with three crisped rice rounds resembling scallops and topped with microgreens. Every rice spherical has a dollop of a candy and tangy orange sauce beside it, nearly resembling cherry tomatoes.
Slicing by way of the Kobe strip proved to be easy; a uninteresting butter knife would in all probability work simply high-quality. So far as steak goes, I’ve by no means had yet another tender. A “wow” is actually so as. It’s additionally thinner than my buddy and I each imagined, properly seared, however may’ve executed with one much less pinch of salt. It’s not like any steak I’ve ever eaten and, to drive the purpose house, it got here with a letter of authenticity. Our waiter dropped off a complimentary facet of Brussels sprouts, which had been improbable and sufficient to feed a household of 4 ($9 worth).
If we’d been blindfolded and brought to Crimson Oak Steakhouse, I’d be shocked to exit the restaurant and discover myself behind a on line casino in Pine Bluff. It may undoubtedly exist among the many elite eating places in Little Rock or Northwest Arkansas. I’d return for the fried oysters alone, which I have to do quickly as a result of I’ve to win again the cash I misplaced on the craps desk that evening.