Stakes and Steaks Are Great in Northwest Indiana - Wednesday 12th of April 2006

The casino destinations in Northwest Indiana have a lot more to offer than just gambling. Each of them, over the course of a decade, has broadened their entertainment horizons, especially when it comes to dining.

The signature restaurants at the four properties are comparable to any fine dining establishment in the greater Chicago area.

Even if you're not inclined to gamble but can appreciate a fine dining experience at exceptional value, any one of them is worthy of your consideration.

Jack Binion's Steak House at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond: The classic American steak house nestled in rich wood interiors bordered on one side with windows featuring panoramic views of Lake Michigan. The menu features prime grade beef, fresh seafood flown in daily, elegant desserts and generous sides all complimented by an extensive selection of wines that has earned an award from Wine Spectator magazine every year since 2001. Chef John Wyatt, a graduate of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago who also trained in France at Le Cordon Bleu's culinary arts program, prepares house specialties that include lobster Diablo, three cheese oysters and proscioutto wrapped scallops. Dinner specials such as mussels with basil cream and tapenade encrusted sea bass are offered daily. Steaks, chops and prime rib also are accented. The restaurant is unique among the fine dining options at casinos in the Chicago area in that it is open for lunch Monday through Friday starting at 11 am with an emphasis on great burgers, sandwiches and salads at prices that business men and women will appreciate, including the famous three-quarter pound Binion Burger with Angus beef. Cigar aficionados will be impressed with the humidor cabinet filled with fine selections from around the world. Open 11 am – 10:30 pm Monday through Thursday, 11 am – 11:30 pm Friday, 4 pm – 11:30 pm Saturday, and 4 pm - 10:30 pm Sunday. Phone 1-866-711-SHOE.

TJ's Steak House at Resorts Casino & Hotel in East Chicago: The recently remodeled restaurant showcases fine dining in an elegant, contemporary setting. Award winning Chef John Anthony, formerly with the Stouffer Renaissance Oak Brook Hotel, received the 2001 National Culinary Excellence Medallion at the 15th Annual Chicago Chefs Grand Tasting. He prepares such specialties as lobster bisque and medallions of veal strip loin topped with king crab, grilled asparagus and hollandaise served on a bed of truffle risotto. There's a complete selection of USDA prime aged steaks and chops, including a savory bone-in rib-eye, as well as center cut twin Colorado lamb t-bones. Fresh seafood is flown in on a daily basis, including Australian lobster tail, Alaskan king crab legs, blue point oysters and Norwegian salmon. The lump crab stuffed jumbo shrimp is a house specialty. Open 4:30 pm – 10 pm Sunday through Thursday, 4:30 pm – 11 pm Friday and Saturday. Phone 1-866-711-GAME.

KoKo Taylor's Blues Café at Majestic Star Casino in Gary: Themed and named after the legendary Queen of the Blues, KoKo's is in a class by itself among fine dining at Chicago area casinos, spotlighting down home classic southern style dining in an elegant setting. Here's the place to go for classic soul food, featuring many recipes from the grand lady herself, including Memphis-style BBQ ribs flavored with Georgia peaches, crab cakes accented with Creole remoulade as well as Southern fried chicken and catfish. Starters include the barbeque rib platter and Mississippi Delta crawfish gumbo. Classic sides are offered, including black-eyed peas, dirty rice and sweet potato fries. Steak lovers aren't forgotten with Koko's queen cut and BB's king cut char broiled tenderloin of beef. Chef Tim Bellamy, who studied at the Florida College of Culinary Arts, creates monthly specials served on weekends. Dessert items include the "Let Me Love You Baby" Kentucky bourbon pecan pie. Open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 5 pm – 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 5 pm – Midnight. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Phone 1-888-2B-LUCKY.

William B's Steak House at Blue Chip Casino & Hotel in Michigan City: Another traditional American steak house featuring both booth and table seating amidst warm levels of light and natural wood tones which create a comfortable yet intimate atmosphere. Executive Chef Brian Grzyb, a graduate of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, accents "American cuisine prepared with Midwest flair". He has created such specialties as Filet Oscar laced with bordelaise and topped with asparagus, lump crab meat and béarnaise sauce, and pan seared Chilean seas bass served over mango demi-glace with pineapple cilantro salsa. The menu also includes aged prime rib, broiled lobster tail served with clarified butter and a savory grilled New York Strip accompanied by haricot verts and shiitake mushrooms drizzled with garlic oil. The dessert headliner is cheesecake served with strawberries and whipped cream. Open Monday through Thursday 5 pm – 10 pm, Friday 5 pm – 11 pm, Saturday 4 pm – 11 pm and Sunday 4 pm – 10 pm. Reservations are recommended. Phone 1-888-879-7711, Ext. 2118.

Next Week: The fine dining experiences at Illinois casinos.

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