Last weekend before taking in the Kid Rock show at Mohegan Sun (stop snickering) we decided to have a proper dinner at Bar Americain. Having never dined at the original location in New York City, I was really looking forward to trying it out and possibly catching a glimpse of Mr. Flay laying the smackdown in the kitchen. I looked, but the only thing staring back at me was the red snapper from the seafood display.
Mohegan Sun has done an excellent job of attracting a variety of big names in the restaurant business, and the latest addition is no exception.
For starters, the restaurant is a welcoming space with high ceilings, marble flooring and amber lighting. It’s airy and comfortable. Several glassed in areas displaying wines flanked the walls. A bar to the right of the entrance looked like a great place to wait for a table and do some people watching.
Upon being seated, we decided on a couple glasses of wine while perusing the menu. The wine list contains a well chosen selection, with something for every budget. I loved that we didn’t recognize many names, and proceeded to choose poorly with a glass of Malbec! On the flip side, my friend enjoyed an outstanding Tempranillo, which I also ordered with dinner. I think it was one of the best wines by the glass I’ve tried recently. Wine in hand, we faced the daunting task of narrowing down our dinner choices, not as easy as we thought. Every single item on the menu piqued our interest, which doesn’t happen very often. The Bobby Flay influence was in every dish, his signature bold style enhanced by complex flavors.
As we nibbled on warm and spicy cornbread sticks, we chose the Tuna Tartar and Gulf Shrimp with Grits from the appetizer menu. If they had given us ladles for the grits, we would have used them. Creamy with a spicy kick, it was something that would be perfect with a pork dish, shrimp or with eggs for breakfast. The one complaint was that the shrimp in the dish were on the small side; we would have preferred four medium shrimp as opposed to five tiny ones. We also enjoyed the Tuna; it was fresh and provided a refreshing accompaniment to the grits. If that was a taste of things to come, we were in for a treat. Our friends ordered the Mussels & Fries American and the Red Snapper. The Mr. also ordered the Red Snapper and I chose the Duck with Dirty Wild Rice. Apparently, we were worried about leaving hungry, so Brooklyn Hash Browns and Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin were added as side dishes. When the dishes were brought to our table, the shark feeding frenzy began. The Mussels arrived, smothered in a wonderful green chile sauce with a side of addictive fries. My duck was perfectly cooked, so tender and moist on a bed of wild rice with bourbon sauce. Quack. I think the prettiest and most complex dish was the Red Snapper Florida Style. A generous portion of fish, dressed with a thin plantain crust and mango salsa. Tropical and spicy, a taste explosion indeed.
Can you believe we left room for dessert? Oh yeah. Our plates were cleared to make room for Sweet Potato Pie and Pistachio Crème Brulee. Both were outstanding and the ideal ending to our dinner adventure.
The service was spot on, friendly and relaxed. Given we were there on a Saturday night, we would have easily been rushed through dinner, but that was not the case. Bar Americain adds yet another destination restaurant to the already stellar lineup at Mohegan Sun. Thanks Bobby!!