The third annual Atlantic City Restaurant Week kicked off Tuesday night with a sold-out VIP preview featuring a tasting menu from a dozen of the over seventy participating restaurants. Held at the Atlantic City Country Club in Northfield, the event catered to industry professionals and foodies alike with the charity event ticket sales benefitting the Food Bank of Atlantic County, Alcove of Atlantic County, CASA of Atlantic County, and the ACCVA Foundation.
Highlights included Il Mulino New York’s flavorful ricotta meatballs and the club’s own restaurant’s pork buns with Sriracha hoisin sauce, but hands down the most satisfying and deserving of a second helping –third, if you were counting my trips to the table – would be the pan-seared lamb shanks from Sofia of Margate. I already planned to visit the restaurant as part of my restaurant week tour, but so garlicky and tender, the flavorful meat pops almost had me reaching for my OpenTable mobile app to book my dinner reservation straightaway!
The night’s dark horse proved to be Showboat Casino’s dessert display. Assembled as mini fast-food items, the burgers and fries, chicken and biscuits, and tiny tacos were sweetly disguised cakes, fruit, and other confections. Chef Deborah Pellegrino’s small touches from the sweet, tart candied orange peel and salted, honey brushed buns to the fragrant, curry-dusted pound cake “fries” were unexpected highlights in what is often thrown together as an obligatory course by participants of restaurant weeks.
It was an enjoyable night that, according to organizers, couldn’t have taken place in Atlantic City up to a few years ago but has blossomed as area residents look to the city for a tasty night out and visitors as far as Texas come to take a chance on good food and good fun. Toward the end of the evning as more of the public filtered in, a woman and her friend approached the table I was lucky enough to share with fellow food lovers Lisa and John Howard of EatingInSouthJersey.com and Holly Burtchaell of randomcravingsblog.com. Glancing around the pile of plates we had dutifully pillaged, she asked if we were food bloggers. As we introduced ourselves she laughed and offered my favorite mouthful of the night, “With all those plates I knew there was something not quite right over here. A toast to New Jersey food bloggers!”
AC Restaurant Week
February 27 – March 5, 2011
Pre Fixe Per Person Lunch $15.11/Dinner $33.11
Colleen Wood, regional editor for Camden County, maintains her blog jerzEATS.com by making food discoveries and retrying old haunts in and around New Jersey. She loves a good deal and learning how to make restaurant dishes at home. After spending her college years up at Boston University earning her journalism degree, Colleen returned to our great state as a marketing assistant by day and dance teacher and restaurant enthusiast by night! A foodie by birth, Colleen credits her mother for her love of good food and talent in the kitchen, and hopes they’ll one day get to open a bake shop!