AC Dining Scene: Always Something Happening

Along the Boardwalk and beyond, new restaurant options aim to entice Atlantic City visitors.

SANDWICH HAVENS: As popular as distinctive sandwiches are in New York and Philadelphia, they have taken a long time to permeate the Atlantic City casinos.

True, Nathan’s Famous has for years sold its hotdogs along the Boardwalk, but that chain has long forsaken its Coney Island roots, at least in ambiance. And an outlet of Pat’s King of Steaks in downtown Atlantic City always seemed a bit off. After all, it is indoors, as opposed to the South Philly Pat’s, which is a street-side, take-out operation.

However, while Tony Luke’s—another South Philly cheesesteak classic—has been ensconced in the Borgata’s lower-level food court for years, it has lately emerged as one of the resort’s most popular food attractions. And at the Trump Taj Mahal, the new outpost of the White House Sub Shop may well be out-selling its iconic Arctic Avenue progenitor.

Tony Luke’s promotes its steak sandwich ($6.99), but connoisseurs gravitate to the roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe ($6.40). Another good choice is the mixed veggie sandwich ($7.99), with broccoli rabe, roast peppers, spinach, fried onions and marinara sauce.

The White House at the Taj does steaks, but most people stick to the subs—Italian, tuna and regular—all about $10.

EAT SUSTAINABLY: The venerable Knife & Fork Inn has instituted a sustainable food initiative, responding to customers who have asked for fresher, environmentally friendly proteins on their dinner plates.

The restaurant, beautifully renovated a few years ago, now features line-caught wild Alaska salmon and halibut, which are shipped whole overnight. Another variety of salmon—caught in Loch Duart in Northern Scotland—is raised without hormones or antibiotics. The day boat scallops are harvested in sustainable fashion, too, and shipped in daily from Maine.

In addition, Knife & Fork and other Atlantic City restaurants have joined the Jersey Fresh program, featuring locally grown fruit, vegetables and herbs at lunch and dinner.

GOOD NEWS FOR PARROTHEADS: Several years ago, the prospective buyers of Trump Marina said they would turn the place into a Margaritaville Casino. The recession had just started, and when its full force hit, the takeover and the Margaritaville plans capsized and sank.

Now, Margaritaville—named after the popular song by Jimmy Buffett, who founded the restaurant chain—is reported to be coming to the Resorts Casino-Hotel. The folks behind Mohegan Sun, the Indian-backed casino in Connecticut, will take over most operations at Resorts. While keeping the current Roaring ’20s theme at much of the casino, they will add a Margaritaville casino, restaurant and bar along the Boardwalk, perhaps as early as summer 2013.

Margaritaville’s Key West-inspired menu leans heavily toward Caribbean-style fish dishes, from jerk salmon to coconut shrimp to Jimmy’s Jammin’ Jambalaya. Prices should be moderate for Atlantic City, with entrees in the low $20 neighborhood. Drinks will be of the umbrella-topped style. Ambiance: As Buffett likes to say, it’s always five o’clock somewhere.

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