LEDYARD, Conn. – When is a steakhouse more than just a steakhouse? When that steakhouse is David Burke Prime at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. The bacon served here is so ridiculously good, you have to eat here.
David Burke Prime is the big, bold, beautiful creation of celebrity chef and cookbook author David Burke, and like his other restaurants around the country, this spot is all about spectacular food and eye popping presentation.
“I think it’s very creative. It’s whimsical; it’s unique,” Burke said. “There’s a little bit of fun to it. It’s not a boring menu, and it’s not only a restaurant in a casino – it’s one of the better steakhouses in America.”
The dining room seats more than 300 people, with cow print upholstered banquets, walls lined with Himalayan salt blocks, and an oversized bar and busy open kitchen adding plenty of energy to the room.
According to General Manager James Olsen, this certainly isn’t a stuffy space.
“We’re a high end, rock and roll steak house. The most important thing to me is that our customers have fun, and they have a great meal.”
Appetizers range from traditional, to inventive, to insane, and nothing is more over-the-top than David Burke’s Maple Glazed Double Cut Pepper Bacon. It’s served like you’ve never seen before.
“Well it’s little wooden dowels which we had made for us. And then we hang it [the bacon] actually with clothespins, on a clothesline. So it’s bacon on a clothesline,” described Olsen.
“‘People are like, ‘I should have brought my laundry’,” Chef Burke laughed. “We slow bake it with maple syrup, little bit of mustard, black pepper and it kind of gets lacquered. Sweet, smoky, salty and spicy.”
Other interesting apps include Surf and Turf Dumplings stuffed with lobster and short rib, and a Pretzel Crusted Crab Cake with tomato marmalade.
If you’re up for something more traditional, there’s always the classic Caesar salad prepared tableside, or the always impressive Shellfish Tower.
“The shellfish tower is three levels. It has King crab; it has oysters, clams, shrimp, lump crab meat, lobster. You put that in the middle of the table and people are just like, ‘Wow!'” Olsen said.
When it comes to steaks, it’s no surprise that beef is serious business at David Burke Prime. Serving a great steak isn’t so simple.
“There’s a lot that goes into a simply great piece of meat,” Burke declared.
In fact, right inside the restaurant, David has constructed his own patented Dry Aged Meat Room, where cuts of beef are aged for weeks and even months.
“75 days. 55 days. 40 day. It’s my family of meat,” the chef laughed while showing us around.
What makes this aging process unique is that one of the walls of the room is lined with blocks of salt, to help create even greater depths of flavor.
“The salt wall creates salt air, kills bacteria. Actually seasons the inside of this meat because there is an exchange of ozone. There’s air going in and out believe it or not,” explained Chef Burke. “That air that goes in is salty, very slightly, so that when you get a thick piece of meat, it’s kind of seasoned on the inside.”
Once that steak is ready for the grill, it’s cooked in a blazing hot, 1,800 degree, infrared broiler. In less than a minute you can see the fat boiling on the bone.
Out of all the great steaks on the menu, the one Burke suggests is the 36 ounce, 55-day dry aged Ribeye for two.
“It’s a thick cut of meat and we slice it up. It’s really delicious. It’s the way to eat meat.”
There’s plenty more to the menu here than just steak, like a Cracklin Pork Shank with mustard glaze, an Asian inspired Angry Lobster with lemon chili sauce, and a gourmet burger topped with smoked mozzarella, barbecued bacon, and fried shallots.
“A good burger is a good meal. And when they’re done well they are truly classics,” Burke said.
To go along with all this great food, David Burke Prime offers 450 wines, all stored in the restaurant’s stunning three story wine tower. With 6,000 bottles inside, servers are constantly climbing the ladder to retrieve your selection.
You simply can’t avoid dessert here, because the selections are irresistible. There’s the signature Cheesecake Lollipop Tree with bubble gum whipped cream for dipping, and warm Drunken Ricotta Doughnuts that arrive at the table in a bag, get shaken up and dumped out, before diners fill them with three booze-infused sauces.
For a truly interactive treat, Burke described the baked-to-order “Can ‘O’ Cake”:
“It’s a rich chocolate cake. It’s baked in a cookie tin and it comes out hot with ice cream and sauces and crunchies, and all that good stuff.”
Since it takes twenty minutes to bake, you even get a surprise while you wait.
“We serve the beaters, and you lick the batter.”
It’s those little touches that make David Burke Prime a favorite at the casino for visitors, and even Foxwoods CEO Scott Butera.
“What I think, in a restaurant you want to have an experience that you can’t get at home, that you can’t get somewhere else, and you go, ‘I don’t know how the hell they did it, but I loved it,’” Butera said. “David offers that every time you come here.”
“Everything I’ve done my whole career as an adult has been food. It’s not only what I do for a living, it’s what I do in life,” Burke reflected. “I mean a restaurant is like kids. You’ve got to work on them, work on them, work on them, and you want them to grow up and mature and get better and better, and that’s what we do.”
David Burke Prime is in the Grand Pequot Tower at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, or online at davidburkeprime.com.
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