Casino File: Borgata debuts new restaurant, slates Sebastian Maniscalco, Santana; news about Resorts, Rivers

The new Borgata eatery replaces celibri-chef Wolfgang Puck’s long running AyCee outpost.
The new American Bar & Grille at the Borgata.
The new American Bar & Grille at the Borgata.Chuck Darrow

Atlantic City’s post-pandemic string of new restaurant debuts continues Saturday with the unveiling of American Bar & Grille at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

Located in the space that spent almost 13 years as Wolfgang Puck American Grille, AB&G does not represent a radical departure from that popular outlet. Only minor alterations to the interior—including the removal of the staining on the hardwood floors and the large wine towers that greeted guests, and an expansion of the bar—have been made. More importantly, the kitchen remains under the direction of Executive Chef Aram Mardigian.

According to Mardigian, the menu will be keyed to the calendar. “It’s all about seasonality,” he said during a Wednesday night media preview. “We try to get the best product available locally, if possible. Right now in the summer is the best time to be in South Jersey, right? Jersey tomatoes, corn, zucchini; all these great vegetables are coming locally. And we're going to try to cook through the seasons.”

That, he added, means patrons should expect heartier fare like pumpkin soup and braised lamb shanks when the weather turns chilly.

The full-service menu includes casual fare like wood-oven pizza (including a “white” vegetable pie that even this dedicated carnivore enjoyed) and Berkshire Farms pork ribs (whose sauce is a perfect blend of sweetness and heat; it's served with homemade cornbread) as well as more upscale dishes, among them wild Alaskan halibut with buttery lobster sauce and rib eye steak prepared with Argentinian chimichurri). Two dining tips: Make sure to include an order of the to-die-for homemade Parker House rolls ($6). And try to have Bart Richter as your waiter. Bart’s tenure in AyCee gourmet rooms can be measured in decades; he is truly a hall of fame server.

Wide selections of specialty cocktails and wines are also available. And the bar area boasts both a stage for musical combos and TVs screening sporting events, both of which align with Mardigian’s goal of having AB&G be a go-to outpost for good times.

“We want it to be fun for everybody,” he offered. “We want people to come in and be able to really enjoy their dining experience. You can come in here and create your own experience.

“I like to think that we give people the opportunity to create different experiences. You can come in and sit at the bar and have a burger and watch the game, or you can sit in the dining room and have an elevated dining experience. It's up to you.

“But no matter what they're eating, the level of hospitality and the service is the same.”

American Bar & Grille is the latest in a string of new dining rooms to open in AyCee gaming halls. Others include Rum Point Crab House at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, Dougherty’s Steakhouse & Raw Bar (Resorts Casino Hotel) and Jerry Longo’s Meatball’s & Martinis (Bally’s Atlantic City).

Borgata adds headliner dates

While we’re at the Big B, be advised that more headliner dates have been added to the schedule at the bayside pleasure dome. Tickets to all go on sale at 10 a.m. today.

The biggest names of the bunch are the reigning King of Standup Sebastian Maniscalco and legendary classic-rock band Santana. Maniscalco’s two shows on July 25 at the Event Center are the latest additions to the already sold-out 12-show run scheduled for July 23 to Aug. 7. Guitar god Carlos Santana and company hit the Event Center Sept. 11.

Also on the books for the Event Center are: “Long Island Medium” Theresa Caputo (Aug. 20) and comedian Chelsea Handler (Nov. 26).

Set for the smaller-by-half Music Box are The Office star (and keyboardist) Craig Robinson and his band, The Nasty Delicious (Aug. 7) and Olympic-grade kvetch Lewis Black (Dec. 3).

For tickets, click here.

Gypsy Bar ready to rock

Gypsy Bar, a longtime Borgata nitery featuring top regional “cover” bands, reopens today. The 18-year-old room will be raging from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. every Friday and Saturday. There is no admission fee, but you must be at least 21 to avail yourself of the pleasures within.

New gaming area at Resorts

Resorts Casino Hotel has introduced a new electronic table-games parlor. Located just off the Boardwalk entrance adjacent to the 5 o’Clock Somewhere bar, the space offers 19 state-of-the art betting terminals where customers (over 21, of course) can simultaneously play multiple games including Big Wheel, roulette, blackjack, baccarat and craps. An electronic craps table with room for 10 players is also part of the new-unit mix.

“We’re always looking to offer our guests the best gaming options in Atlantic City,” said Resorts President and CEO Mark Giannantonio. “This modernized gaming experience will provide our guests with a thrilling twist on some classic table game favorites.”

Kudos flow to Rivers Philly

Rivers Casino Philadelphia has won a slew of honors from readers of Casino Player and Strictly Slots magazines.

The 11-year-old gambling den on the banks of the Delaware River took the top spots in the following categories of the Pennsylvania casino competition:

*Best Steakhouse: Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House. *Best Place for Cocktails: Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House. *Best Place to Celebrate: Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House. *Best Asian: Mian *Best View: Jack's Bar + Grill *Best Casino Cocktail Service.

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