Last Saturday I drove up to Cherokee, NC with plans to lose a few dollars in the Harrah’s slot machines as a tribute to my father. He enjoyed the slots quite a bit and Friday was his birthday.
I got there early and spent a few hours donating money to the Native Americans and generally having a good time playing various games. After a few hours of blinking lights, spinning wheels, and tossing the dice I got peckish and figured I’d see what the food scene was like here.
It was more potential than reality. Several of the spots located just off the casino floor are only open late or early depending on your point of view. The Gordon Ramsey food court or whatever it was called has a burger place and a pizza place that were open and had long lines. They have several other places that are being prepped but not open. It’s new and they haven’t had the grand opening yet so I’ll give them a break and not judge too harshly. I opted to go on down to the next spot which was Brio Italian Grille.
The hostess let me know that there was a 45 minute wait for the main dining area but I could get a place at the bar sooner and the bartender would seat me. Based on the number of open seats in the main dining area they were dealing with a limited staffing situation. So I walked over to the staging area for bar seating. This is where I had the worst experience of the day. The bar was pretty much full and the bartender actively avoided making eye contact with me or anyone waiting to be seated. Honestly not being acknowledged at all was starting to tick me off and that was building the more I waited. Fortunately I had my phone to distract me and a spot came open before I got really mad. When the spot came open she was all sunshine and smiles.
I selected the portobello stuffed ravioli in a brown butter sauce.
The bread came first and oddly did not come with olive oil but the provided a lot of butter. I sampled it but didn’t want to overdo the carbs. The ravioli was very tasty. The grape tomatoes were sweet and acidic. The crimini mushrooms in the sauce added nice texture. The cheese was not parmesan but another, milder semi-hard cheese. The portobello stuffing was flavorful and hearty. My gamble paid off with a very nice lunch in spite of the rocky start.
I’ll be going back to Harrah’s Casino to try out some new craps strategies and maybe give Gordon Ramsey’s food court another shot.