As excitement builds for the grand opening of the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cleveland, there’s more to look forward to than just casino gaming. The Horseshoe Casino will boast some impressive dining options. The food court will house B Spot, Corky & Lenny’s, and Rosie & Rocco’s, a new Italian concept from Chef Rocco Whalen.
It wouldn’t be a casino without a buffet, though. Horseshoe Casino’s “The Spread” buffet sprawls 12,000 square feet with 400 seats. An impressive size, for sure, but what about the food? I got a sneak peek at the buffet this week and I can tell you, this is no cheesy old Vegas buffet.
Executive Chef Steven Varga and Executive Sous Chef Matthew Jankowski are both Cleveland natives and quite proud of the quality and diversity of food that The Spread buffet provides. The Spread is meant to lure not only casino patrons, but the downtown breakfast and lunch crowd, too.
The stations at The Spread include a salad station featuring fresh, constructed salads made with locally-sourced vegetables. In fact, the whole buffet focuses on local ingredients for dishes created by local chefs. Not what I would have expected from a place owned by a national chain.
There are Italian, American, and Asian stations featuring favorites from those country’s cuisines.
The carving station features grilled, barbequed, and roasted meats, sliced up right in front of you.
The Shuffle station will feature of variety of ethnic cuisines. When we were there, pierogies were served side-by-side with a taco bar. It’s an interesting concept and provides a lot of variety to The Spread’s offerings. But am I the only one wondering if the name was inspired by “The Cleveland Shuffle?”
The prettiest and most tempting station is the pastry station. From mini desserts to pies to a cotton candy machine, this had a little bit of everything. I also got to see a college sorority sister working at this station…hi, Holly! But the coolest part is the slowly rotating “wheel of gelato” (totally my name for it, anyway). There is a gelato machine on premises whipping up these tasty concoctions.
So, it was a feast for the eyes, but how did it all taste? I tried to take a little nibble of something from every station…
I started with fried chicken, creamed corn, and roasted Brussels sprouts from the American station, brined turkey and whipped potatoes from the carving station, grilled aspargus salad from the salad station, and a duck enchilada from the shuffle station.
The fried chicken, Brussels sprouts, and corn were all really solid: just good, homey flavors. The brined turkey was a bit salty for my taste, but the meat was tender and the potatoes helped cut the saltiness when eaten together. The grilled asparagus salad I could eat every day of the week.
As a sucker for packaging, I loved the little metal warming tray the enchilada came in. Beyond that, the flavors were delicious. The duck was tender and the salsa verde had a nice kick.
It was back to the buffet for more tastes (trust me, I wasn’t clearing my plate each time). This time, I went with pizza and baked pasta from the Italian station, spicy ramen noodles with peanut sauce from the Asian station, and pierogi from the shuffle station.
The pizza and pasta were good with pretty traditional and easily accessible Italian flavors. The spicy ramen was great and another dish I could eat a lot more. The pierogi had a nice crisp on the outside and the braised cabbage underneath is a good touch. As a picky Polish gal, I wouldn’t put these up against Sokolowski’s, but I was surprised with how well they were done.
Finally, dessert…this is all for research purposes, remember…
I had coffee gelato, a mini chocolate cupcake with peanut butter icing, and a red velvet cake pop. I may have cleared my plate on this round. The gelato was so creamy and light!
The Spread opens Monday, May 14, along with the rest of the Horseshoe Casino. There will be a separate entrance just to The Spread though Tower City, so if you just want to go eat, you can do so without walking through the casino. Prices are $11.99 for breakfast, $15.99 for lunch, and $23.99 for dinner.
Whether you’re at the casino or just working downtown, The Spread offers a wide array of really tasty, high-quality food. You can easily make a meal even at just one of the stations. I was impressed, and frankly surprised, by how much I enjoyed everything I tasted. Which station sounds most interesting to you? Are you a variety buffet eater or do you like to focus on one or two items?
***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Horseshoe Cleveland Buffet Media Preview. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***