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Best of John Grochowski

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Better Buffet and Sandwiches to Savor

9 March 2004

Food service at the Buffington Harbor casinos - Trump and Majestic Star - has taken a giant leap forward with the opening of the Passports World Class Buffet, managed by the Compass Group.

On the first floor of the Buffington Harbor pavilion, it's in the same location as the old buffet - a dreary cafeteria-style line that satisfied neither Trump, Majestic Star nor the customers. But at Passports, foods are fresher and tastier with more variety. It's a multiple-station line, with a pasta chef and an Asian foods chef standing at the center to prepare fresh dishes.

Along the way, customers can pick and choose from different styles of food. On the day I went, the Southern Classics station included fried chicken, sausage and shrimp jambalaya, collard greens, fried okra and sweet potatoes with marshmallows, while the Asian station had crab rangoon, Szechuan-style cashew chicken and beef lo mein among the dishes.

At the Italian station, in addition to pastas, there were Italian herbed vegetables, garlic-skinned red potatoes and several pizzas. The Adobe station, with Mexican foods, included tamales, fajitas and cheese jalapeno quesadilla. And the carver was loaded with ham, roast beef, turkey and sausages.

The location is out of the normal traffic pattern these days. Before the parking garage was built at Buffington Harbor, players used to walk past the buffet space on their way to the escalators that took them to the casino level. Now, players walk out of the garage right on the casino level and never walk past the buffet space unless they're looking for it.

But once word gets out that Majestic Star, Trump and Buffington Harbor are now offering a quality product in that space, more and more will be taking the trip down that escalator to get there.

SANDWICHES TO SAVOR: Horseshoe Casino in Hammond has the best overall food service at local casinos, with Jack Binion's Steak House and the Village Square Buffet both being among the best of their kind, the Lake Michigan Deli Company offering tasty deli sandwiches, and Java Jack's coffee stand serving up coffee, pastries and ice cream.

New in the lineup is J.B.'s Gourmet Sandwiches and Salads, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offering a 15 percent discount to those who show their Horseshoe players club card.

I went to check it out a few days after it opened, and J.B.'s was kind enough to serve a sampler platter of hot sandwiches along with a couple of desserts. Panini - grilled, stuffed sandwiches - are a specialty here, and I got to sample four.

I'm a big fan of portabella mushrooms, so my favorite was the vegetarian panini, with Roma tomatoes, portabella, roasted red peppers, pesto and provolone. The early best seller is the cheese steak sandwich, with ribeye, sauteed mushrooms and pepper jack cheese. The Havana, with spicy pork, dill pickles, Black Forest ham, Gruyere cheese and spicy yellow mustard, was a real taste-bud pleaser, and the grilled chicken club, with apple smoked bacon, provolone and tomato pesto, was another goodie. It was all capped by a piece of a Binion burger, along with little tastes of tiramisu and a terrific cinnamon roll.

When I'm back buying a whole meal, I look forward to trying the Asian-style Bento boxes. Don't know if the roasted octopus with curry is quite my style, but the spare ribs with black bean sauce sound as if they'll be right up my alley.

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski