LTH Home

Harrah's Joliet

Harrah's Joliet
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
  • Harrah's Joliet

    Post #1 - January 29th, 2006, 9:49 pm
    Post #1 - January 29th, 2006, 9:49 pm Post #1 - January 29th, 2006, 9:49 pm
    Mrs. JiLS and I parlayed her VIP "gaming" status into a free day and night at the Harrah's outpost in Joliet. As a disclaimer, note that we received (1) free hotel, (2) free dinner, (3) free food and subsidized drinks in the Diamond Club (how's about a $3.00 Manhattan) and (4) free breakfast this morning in the buffet. That said, I think my sensibilities were not too terribly prejudiced, and I really think there is some pretty good food getting served at Harrah's. First, let me point out that the hotel, the casino and the food service were all about 2-and-a-quarter times nicer than I ever imagined they would be. Our freebie dinner last night was in Van Buren's, which is a steakhouse. Very comfortable setting, good service, and the food was a solid "B" or "B+". Maybe about like the Palm (but with excellent lobster bisque, not bitterness whatsoever). A decent wine list (had a nice Ridge Zin Ponzo '03) . Shrimp cocktail was good enough (I don't ask much of this dish, I just like it despite myself) -- though the shrimp were too cold to get the full taste. Prime rib (not something I often order) was buttery soft and indulgent as it should be. Mrs. JiLS had the rack of lamb, which consisted of four very large chops, the meat of which was "old school" -- i.e., very flavorful lamb, not the super-mild stuff that seems to be dominating the market nowadays. Sadly, there was no Fonda del Mar mole negro in which to bathe them, but they had a nice pepper crust. We split a fantastic molten chocolate cake for dessert; this was really an amazing version of a dessert that has become somewhat trite and overdone; at Van Buren's, they play it straight and the effect is somewhat overwhelming (in a good way). A very nice dinner, and one I would have been happy to actually pay for, had I been required to!

    Breakfast this morning was taken in the Union Station buffet, and this was a top-notch breakfast. Mrs. JiLS had a made-to-order omelette, which allowed her a choice of easily a dozen ingredients (she chose sausage, cheese and black olives). I'm not much for buffet breakfast, but they were doing everything right here. Scrambled eggs on a steam table -- errr, ummm ... not usually a first choice for me. Here, they were FANTASTIC; how they made a tray with maybe four dozen scrambled eggs taste like they were cooked to order (and note that if I'd asked, they would've done so), I cannot answer. These eggs were very good. As was the bacon, which somehow managed to be deliciously crisp and hot and delectable despite the steam table presentation. And they had grits -- real grits that were a solid C+ or B- (about as good a grade as any in Chicago are likely to receive, with the possible exception of Harry's Hot Dogs). But I save the best for last. Harrah's Joliet serves the finest biscuits and gravy in the entire Chicagoland area. True, I've not sampled them all -- but let's just say it would be pretty hard for anybody to do better than a close runner-up or tie to this B&G combo. Were the biscuits the VERY best? No; Kuma's Corner is still my baseline for best biscuit in Chicago. However, the biscuits were very good examples, and no good Southern cook would be embarrassed to serve them. The gravy, however, was hands down the best country gravy I've had north of I-70. Here we have an almost perfect blend of cream, grease, pepper and sage-rich sausage. All I can say is, they got it right.

    So, anyway, if you are interested in one of the gambling (err..."gaming") opportunities in the Chicagoland area and also like to eat, I'll highly recommend trying Harrah's Joliet. It also puts you only a few blocks from Amanecer Tapatio (which unfortunately I was too busy gaming and eating comped foods and $3.00 Manhattans to get to THIS TIME ...).
  • Post #2 - January 29th, 2006, 11:57 pm
    Post #2 - January 29th, 2006, 11:57 pm Post #2 - January 29th, 2006, 11:57 pm
    any word on what the "retail" price of these things are?
  • Post #3 - January 30th, 2006, 7:55 am
    Post #3 - January 30th, 2006, 7:55 am Post #3 - January 30th, 2006, 7:55 am
    dudefella wrote:any word on what the "retail" price of these things are?

    Not sure about the hotel room, although given the quality and size of the room, it would likely be around $150 - 200/night if it were in Chicago. For dinner we were given a credit of $150. Cocktails "retail" for $7.00 in the casino. Breakfast would've been about $14/person.
  • Post #4 - January 30th, 2006, 11:02 am
    Post #4 - January 30th, 2006, 11:02 am Post #4 - January 30th, 2006, 11:02 am
    Thanks for the report! We got a coupon for a free dinner at Van Buren's just recently, but stupidly didn't call ahead for reservations because every time we go by there, it's empty. So we just dropped in, and they were full.

    We've had one dinner there, and it was weird. We were the only people in the dining room, yet every course came out stone cold. The service was very friendly and the food would have been pretty good if it was at the correct temperature.

    The food in the diamond lounge is pretty good anyway. I cool my heels a fair amount in there while my SO gambles. I would really rather go to Amanecer Tapatio (that chicken in spicy cream sauce!) but rarely manage to, since we're always in this big honking hurry to get to the casino. I don't quite have the nerve to get takeout and eat it in the diamond lounge.