Saturday, June 02, 2012

Let it ride--UPDATED

UPDATE - 6/3/13 - 7 a.m.: This post garnered the attention of Ceasars Marketing Manager Christina Karas, who emailed me with this informational link on casino parking, and the following: "The entrance you reference is not the only indoor entrance. We also have an entrance through the concourse level of Tower City that is indoor. This entrance is open to the public 24/7. The corridor to the entrance is located by the Foot Locker and Susy’s Soups."

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The following is an incomplete, biased and possibly inaccurate review of the Horseshoe Casino, Cleveland. 

I've heard that parking can run you upwards of $30 unless you join some miserable casino rewards club and gamble so much and do all this stuff no one in their right mind can figure out in order to get a discount.

Screw that.

Just drive to a park-n-ride (parking is free) and take the Rapid Transit to Tower City. Train tickets are $2.25 one way (um ... winning).

Pardon my crappy photographs, but I was under severe limitations. You are allowed to have a camera in the casino, but you are not allowed to take photos of people you don't know or the tables. I guess if you try, they make a cast of your hand and use it as a wall decoration in the buffet dining room (dunno if the cams in this pic came from past misbehavin' photographers or not):

I haven't been to a casino in about 94 years, but the Horseshoe is about like the ones I remember, although I never would have known I was in the old Higbee building unless I knew I was in the old Higbee building.

The joint is (thankfully) without a theme other than glitz/swank, although there are nods to Cleveland all around--perhaps most notably in the small food court, which has a B-spot Burger by Michael Symon (but you can't get bourbon in your milkshake at this location), a Corky and Lenny's and Rocco Whalen's Rosie & Rocco's .

No free boozin' here, Boppers. The cheapest potent potable will run you $4 for a draft beer. Well drinks are $5. Top shelf pours at $9. I didn't check bottled beer prices in between. Soft drinks are free.

The bathrooms are gorgeous, with faucets nicer than the ones in my house. Way nicer. And the motion thingies worked pretty well.

Hey, Audrey, can you figger these newfangled slots? Me neither. Come on. There's a roulette table with a $10 minimum. Or we could try our luck at black jack, but that's gonna run us $15 a pop.

Damn. There is not one open seat at the lower minimum tables. Aw, to hell with it. Let's get something to eat.

Ham hocks
The buffet, Boppers, is better than you'd expect. While I wouldn't call the food A-list, it was mostly pretty good with a huge and diverse selection. Lots of comfort food. Lots of salt. Lots of fat. The best thing I had was the roast turkey (from the carving station) and creamed spinach. (Yes, I like creamed spinach. Go to hell.)

I honestly could not tell if the mashed spuds were fresh or from a mix. The fries were pretty good, but no match for what you get fresh from the fryer under the Golden Arches.

I didn't try the ham hocks, egg salad sliders or mussels, but Kudos to whomever decided to offer up something a lil' different.

Pizza and pasta? Yup. Didn't try it, but it looked pretty good. 

Egg salad sliders
The fried fish was tender and moist with a crispy batter and plenty o' grease.

The General Tso chicken=soggy McNuggets in an oversalted sauce. Avoid.

The BLT salad was fresh enough, but a tad overdressed. And hell if I could find any "T" in there.

The smoked brisket (carvery) was good, albeit a little dry. Then again, it was the very end of the cut and I probably should have opted for a splash of au jus. Shame on me.

Dressed baby iceberg wedges.
The desert station was totally down with a spread of perfect little bites (slivers of cheesecake and blueberry pie, mini cupcakes, tiny tiramisu cups, etc) as well as an ice cream service. EXTREME LOVE for the dish of freshly whipped cream that wasn't overly sweetened.

The way they've sectioned the huge dining room somehow makes it cozy. Well done.

No hard liquor down at the buffet, but you can order beer and wine. The one all-you-can-eat price is ... $13? ... $15? Who the hell knows? It was very reasonable considering the selection. You get a discount if you join the silly casino club.  The Goat did join (silly Goat) and the bill for the two of us was $30.

Oh--tip the waitress for chrissake. And since we're here. Every. Single. Horseshoe. Staff. Member. Was. Charming.

In all seriousness, we had a blast at the buffet. The trick is to get little tiny bites of several different things and save room to share a few deserts.  


That the only people who are allowed to use this direct entrance from Tower City (where the trains let out) into your casino are the upper-crust card-holders in your silly club is SHITTY AND LAME.

Making everyone else go outside (which yesterday=pouring rain) in order to pour money into your tight-ass slot machines gets one BIG ASS FAIL.

One other thing: Ya'll went to a lot of trouble to make this place look swank and then you put your poor cocktail waitresses in dresses that look like they came out of the bargain bin at Woolworth's on the day after Halloween. Come on already. Those girls are hustling tips. Put 'em in something that's got a bit of style.

Yeah, yeah. All in all, I had a pretty good time. Loved the roulette guy and the black jack dealer was darling, if a bit inexperienced.

But you haven't seen the last of me. After all, I'll be back to cash this mother effer in:

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Contrary Guy said...

Not surprised about the photo policy... actually, wait, I AM surprised you got that many pics in. I think they let women take more pics than men. One place I was staying at didn't even let me walk across the casino floor to get to my room, when carrying a camera bag.

I suppose I'll eventually wander down to the west side here in CBus to check out what they've built... no trains here, and the driving down there is already dangerous (aka 80% people w/ no insurance).

Glad to hear it was worth a trip.

Ham hocks, lol.
Casino boss: "What do Ohioans eat?"
Catering staff: "Shit I dunno."
Casino boss: "OK, put EVERYthing out there and see what sticks."

Craig Hughes said...

Love that creamed spinich. I've often said, or at least once I said that if all else doesn't work, do the casino buffet. My ex-snake couldn't stand the local food on the gulf coast (reason 3,548 for the divorce) so opted for the Casino in Buloxi. Pleasantly surprised but would still rather had the chicken and sausage gumbo with crawdads up in town. Naw on a ham hock girl, and try to look good doing it!

Derf Backderf said...

On the plus side, you can bet your ass YOU were being secretly photographed from the second you popped off the Red Line. They probably have surveillance cameras in the fucking toilet bowls.

Anonymous said...

Derf: I have been searching in vain for a direct e-mail address. Erin can vouch for me (I hope)

Erin, did any of the dealers provide a visage for your Grim Reaper? And was there salmon mousse at the buffet?


Erin O'Brien said...

I have to admit, I was sort of hoping that Security would come out and Question me. Didn't happen.

Kirk said...

I'm surprised the booze ia so much. I've been told that in Vegas casinos it's practically free, the reason being since they make all their money on the gambling, it's to their benefit if you get sloshed and stay at the tables long as possible. Did you order these drinks at the bar? Could it be that liquor is cheaper if you actually order it a slot machine or game table?

I'm not against legalized gambling, but I am against state constitutional monopolies. It's hard to see how this is going to revitalize downtown. People are going to go into this building and they're going to stay in this building. Unless they have a hankering for cheap beer.

Erin O'Brien said...

Actually, Kirk, I didn't have any beer or booze, just asked about the pricing at the bar. And yes, I was also surprised at the prices. I have no idea if the drinks are cheaper at the tables, but I know they're not free.

Kirk said...

Oh, is that the cartoonist Derf? Almost missed that. Love "The City". Middle-Aged Surburban White Guy is a hoot. Will read the new Jeffrey Dahmer soon as I have a little more disposable cash in my pocket. Or when it turns up in the library. Why Scene let you and Erin go is beyond me. I'm not even sure what they're publishing schedule is anymore. Used to be once a week. Now, two weeks seem to go by before I see a new issue. Alternative newspaper monopolies aren't what they used to be.

DogsDontPurr said...

Oooo...creamed spinach! When spinach is transformed into CREAMED spinach, it is no longer spinach. Something magical happens...just short of alchemy. Like turning lead into gold.

Most of my experiences with creamed spinach have been at high-end steak houses. Secretly, I always look forward to the creamed spinach more than the steak!

LoafingOaf said...

Unfortunately it's state law that the alcoholic drinks can't be free.

Your review was entertaining!

Kristian said...

Loved the review! Very entertaining, smart and honest!

Anonymous said...

Guido just knocked on my door. He told me to tell you to watch your language or he was going to "help me with my orthopedic problem." I don't have an orthopedic problem. HELP!


Joe said...

I Love creamed spinach

Luke Frazier said...

Mmmm...I want brisket, blueberry bites and mashers that are potentially real. And the egg salad sliders earn points just because they're sliders. But what I really want is to win enough money to deliciously eat for free. Great post Erin! Here's my take