Saturday, June 19th, is the day! The American Bar & Grille at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City officially opens and it’s perfect for a Father’s Day meal or a casual meet up at their intimate bar space. Executive Chef Aram Mardigian created an American fare menu that shakes up some of your favorites and adds in seasonal (and local!) ingredients for a unique experience. Whether you’re hungry for a burger or pizza, seafood, pasta, or want to get adventurous with something you’ve never ordered before, you can bet that the team at American Bar & Grille will present you with a dish you’ll love.
On Wednesday night, I got a preview of the restaurant, which takes over the spot that currently housed Wolfgang Puck’s similarly named American Grille. Chef Mardigian was a part of that restaurant too, so he’s very familiar with the Borgata’s dining scene. The Chef and the amazing staff walked us through each dish- starting with the must-try corn soup (topped with a dollop of jalapeño cream) and some rolls with house baked Vermont cheddar butter. If two more courses (each with multiple dishes) weren’t arriving shortly after, I would have finished off everyone’s soup and asked for more rolls. Do not (do not!) get a meal here without ordering these two items!
The fresh taste of Jersey corn was apparent in other dishes throughout the evening as well- as a side caramelized with aioli, cotija cheese, cilantro and lime, and accompanying pork ribs (with a housemade bbq sauce) in the form of cornbread. Jersey peaches were sliced for the bigeye tuna crudo- also part of the first course- and were placed on top of double-cut pork chops during the second course. Roasted zucchini and summer squash were served together with seasonings like parsley, basil, mint and garlic which will pair nicely with just about any dish on the current menu.
The restaurant is warm and welcoming, making your evening feel intimate and cozy. Main courses like housemade rigatoni topped with fresh ricotta cheese, Atlantic salmon (with Jersey tomatoes), wild Alaskan Halibut, and ribeye steak are great for a special night out. Everything was cooked to perfection and beautifully plated. If I had to order just one, the halibut would be it (because it was placed on top of a buttery lobster sauce and I can’t say no to that).
If you’re looking for lighter fare and a drink at the restaurant’s bar, the white vegetable pizza along with the baby gem kale and Caesar salad (this included a tasty garlic-anchovy streusel) is a great idea! Additional soups, salads, and pizza options (from the on-site wood burning oven) are available on the menu. Mix and match burgers, housemade sausages, and other side options too. All of the restaurant’s offerings can be viewed here (and a “trio of sides” is a menu item, so definitely go for that if you have a hard time deciding).
Dessert? Oh yes, please. You might be too full, but the sweets here cannot be passed by. Jersey blueberries taste amazing in a tart with crème fraiche cream and lemon sauce. If you love cheesecake, try a slice of their New England caramel version. If you just want something classic to end your meal, go with the New York chocolate cake filled with fudge and served with chocolate mousse and candied pecans.
You can order standard drinks like local craft beers (Cape May, Yards, Double Nickel) and wine by the glass or bottle. The restaurant’s signature cocktails are also familiar but with some regional twists. The Jersey Blueberry Mule incorporates those local blueberries, the Philly Sour is made with Rittenhouse Rye (a nod to Philly’s famous square), and Bluecoat Gin from Philadelphia Distilling is a part of the ABG Negroni. If you enjoy a well made cocktail, there are eight specialty ones on the menu. Or ask the bartender to make your favorite drink.
American Bar and Grille is an incredible addition to the Borgata. If you’re spending some in Atlantic City this summer, make a plan to visit this new spot. The restaurant is open Sunday through Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday & Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Book a table here.