Last weekend, The Front Row Eats team headed over to Foxwoods Resort & Casino, not only to press our luck, but to dine at David Burke Prime. In case you come from another planet and don’t know who David Burke is (shame on you!), he is one of the most celebrated chefs and restaurateurs in America today. He has pioneered his way through the culinary scene with his creativity and inventive concepts. He is best known for reinventing classic dishes, making the familiar unfamiliar in a new, innovative way. Being fans of his work, we were anxious to have dinner at Prime which is Burke’s modern interpretation of a classic steakhouse.
Prior to our meal, we were informed of Prime’s new farm fresh initiative, an effort led by Executive Chef, James Klewin. He said, “It can be a challenge to find local farms that can produce the quantity of ingredients that we need here at Prime. But the quality of those ingredients is so good that we will make it work. Nothing beats just-picked fruit and produce.”
He is absolutely right about that. It’s admirable that Chef Klewin has decided to take this approach, especially considering their large volume of food sales on a nightly basis. We, at Front Row Eats, have the utmost respect for Chefs that use local, sustainable ingredients. Quality is the most important ingredient and Prime puts it on the forefront of every dish.
A succulent fried oyster atop a bed of creamy, sweet spinach was the perfect way to start the evening. There was a smooth butter sauce that smothered the lightly-breaded bivalve. And if you look closely enough, you will see some beautiful caviar on top too. The use of caviar as garnish left us wondering how the rest of the night would unfold.
After the oysters came a slew of appetizers. We were happy to see such variety on the menu. After a few minutes of debate, our choices of starters included a Tableside Caesar Salad, Surf and Turf Dumplings, and Double-Cut Maple Pepper Bacon Strips. Yes, you heard right, bacon!
Hands down the BEST bacon we have ever tasted. EVER!! Two gigantic strips of thickly sliced bacon were basted with maple syrup creating a combination of smoky and sweet. A theme that would appear throughout our meal is BALANCE, a masterful display of balance that is. The flavors in every single dish were balanced perfectly and the bacon was a great example.
It might feel weird to order bacon as an appetizer, but trust us, these savory slices of pork belly are simply too good to pass up. Imagine these alongside some eggs and toast….ok stop dreaming!
On deck were the acclaimed Surf and Turf Dumplings. These tiny pockets of joy were jam-packed with chunks of lobster meat, chives and lemon (Surf) as well as barbecued short ribs and cheddar cheese (Turf).
David Burke’s rendition did not disappoint. The shorts ribs resembled the taste and texture of pulled pork and the two Surf dumplings were bursting at the seam with fresh lobster and savory butter. So they were right all along, good things DO come in small packages.
Alas, it was time for the headliner, a freshly prepared Tableside Caesar. When Jimmy arrived, he asked us if we would like any “special modifications” to the salad. He recommended Chile Oil for some kick and extra cheese for a more flavorful salad. We quickly agreed!
I know what you’re thinking. “What makes this salad so special?” “I mean, it looks like the one I make at home.” Believe us when we say this – it will be one of the best salads you’ve ever tried. Over 12 ingredients went into this simple harmony of romaine, Parmesan Reggiano, and a made-from-scratch dressing.
We were extremely pleased with the appetizers. Each offered a unique mix of flavors and textures. And the party was just getting started. Onto the steaks!!
This was our favorite steak of the night. Take a look at the beautifully charred exterior that can be seen in the picture above. The outer crust almost resembled a candied coating. If that doesn’t make your mouth water, I don’t know what will!
Sirloin, located near the rump, is already a flavorful cut of steak, but this was extraordinary! It was even more flavorful than your typical sirloin. All of the natural juices were oozing in every bite. We ordered the steak to be cooked medium and it was cooked perfectly for the most part. Near the bone, it was a bit too rare for our liking though. This commonly happens and is almost unavoidable because it would cause the other areas to be overcooked.
Chef Klewin later told us that this is his favorite steak on the menu. If the Chef himself says that, you can only imagine how delicious it really is!
You rarely see a steak aged for 55 days on any menu so we had to give it a try. Ribeye is naturally a more tender cut than Sirloin, not to mention that the aging process adds to the overall tenderness (which we will explain later).
In just a few chews, the Ribeye dissolved completely. It was unbelievably tender and profoundly flavorful. These characteristics would not have been achieved without the aging process, making it one of the most unique steaks on their menu. It’s a must try for any steak enthusiast!
Prime features an aging room with walls lined in imported pink Himalayan rock salt. The restaurant’s state of the art aging room, designed by Chef Burke himself allows meat to age longer and enhances its flavor
After our meal, we were invited for a tour of the kitchen. This turned out to be an exciting experience! We were first taken to the walk-in to view their astounding supply of beef. Just to give you an idea, Chef Klewin informed us there was approximately $70K worth of beef in there! Holy Cow! (No pun intended)
Dry aging is often considered a lost art and is rarely done by restaurants nowadays. The purpose of aging is it allows natural enzymes to breakdown the hard connective tissue in meats and for water to evaporate away, intensifying the flavor. The downside of aging is that the outside and end cuts need to be discarded so a portion of the steak is lost.
All of Prime’s steaks are sourced from Creekstone Farms in Kentucky. Their steak is the only product not bought locally due to the supreme quality beef this farm is able to provide them with.
We were honored to meet Chef Klewin, who was radiating with passion. We appreciated his vision towards the farm fresh initiative. We can’t wait to see how his menu will evolve as the seasons change.
After returning to our table, and with barely enough room for dessert, we were presented with two of David Burke’s signature dishes: “Drunken” Ricotta Doughnuts and his famous Cheesecake Lollipop Tree.
We were instructed to inject each doughnut with a desired filling and then eat and enjoy. They don’t call them “drunken” doughnuts for nothing. You could definitely taste the alcohol in the sauces.
The Cheesecake Lollipop Tree definitely showcased David Burke’s whimsical style. The bubble gum flavored whipped cream was playful and imaginative. Judging the taste of the cheesecake lollipops alone, they were similar to truffles; nothing to rave about. It was a fun dessert overall though, especially based on the presentation.
In the end, we thoroughly enjoyed our experience at David Burke Prime. We tried LOTS of different items on the menu and everything exceeded our expectations, pleased our taste buds, and most importantly, left us wanting more! So next time you’re at Foxwoods and you cash out more money than you came with, treat yourself to a phenomenal steak dinner at Prime. It’s one of the few times at the casino the odds are in your favor…to leave feeling like a real winner. We’d be willing to go “all in” on that bet!
-Chris & Nick