I’m not used to fine dining at our Ohio Casino’s. It’s usually buffet or an offshoot of a restaurant where I would rather go to the original (B-Spot, Corky and Lenny’s, Fahrenheit etc). From a price point it just makes no sense to me to go to a convenience restaurant when there are so many better choices downtown. We went to the Hard Rock Casino to play some games and to catch a comedy show at the newly opened Club Velvet. The Hard Rock Cafe was a 45 minute to an hour wait. The buffet, the line was just as long if not longer. Kosar’s, looked to have open tables so we said sure why not? Let’s live it up tonight. However, they were reservation only and booked solid. I was a little bummed, made a couple calls and seated in roughly 2 minutes. Ahhh the perks of being a blogger.
I am not going to lie, I was not expecting much from Kosar’s. I thought it was going to be mediocre with a local name tied to it. Boy was I wrong. One of the reasons I am such a huge promoter of the Rocksino is because of Kosar’s restaurant. This huge national brand is willing to take a chance on a local name to be their flagship fine dining restaurant. That says a lot to me. They were willing to take the risks to tie their brand into Cleveland and make their casino as local as possible. The small little touches throughout the casino from the Joe Walsh T-shirt on exhibit to Kosar’s memorabilia embraces the community and our Cleveland roots.
With no wait at all we were seated promptly at our white tablecloth table and given the pigskin cover menus. The wine list is a little sparse but has a little for everyone at decent prices. All main courses are served cooked to order and all sides and sauces come a la cart. This was no shocker, it’s a steakhouse. I’ve never been to a steakhouse that didn’t do that. There is an option for a salad bar to be added to the meal for $6.00. The salad bar is small but mighty and comes with soup. It is all you care to eat. The appetizers range from Crab Cakes and a classic Shrimp Cocktail to a Wood Fired Sausage Sampler. The appetizer portions are more than generous and won’t break the bank. The fresh bread trio that comes with the meal are soft and delicious. The pretzel roll was the standout paired with the mustard butter, but the apple butter was sweet and savory.
For our entrees we had the 12 ounce Center Cut New York Strip and the Pro Cut 16 ounce Prime Rib. I ordered the Strip medium rare and it came out perfect. My wife had the Prime Rib rare and I faintly heard it moo as it was brought to the table. The Prime Rib was menacing in size, it was that big. The herb crust was not overpowering and seasoned to perfection. It was came with a small au jus side but absent was any horseradish which was odd. Maybe it was an add-on I didn’t notice. The strip was served on a small bed of roasted root vegetables with a mild demi-glace au boeuf. The wood smoked flavors were amazing with a perfect seer and beautiful pinkish red interior.
Service was extraordinary. Our server was Mark (His name tag already won cool points as he opted for The Beastie Boys. The name tags that all the staff wear have a band or artist name on them that they choose. The lady in the high limit room had Nickelback which made her immediately suspect. Having the Beasties just added to the cool factor) and he was professional and very entertaining. He got a little irritated that the steaks came out while we were still finishing our appetizer, but it was only a minor hiccup. I’d definitely request him again as you can request a favorite server. I don’t remember the last time I was greeted and exited with a handshake from a server. That was a nice touch. He had extensive knowledge of the menu and the wine list. He asked for my wife’s order first, let her sample the wine first and made her feel special. That’s great service right there.
When I think of Kosar I think of one of the greatest football heroes in Cleveland. The photos that line the walls and memorabilia trophy case are a testament to his amazing career. I never thought I would think of fine dining but was won over by his steakhouse. He obviously has an amazing crew working the front lines and he has an absolute winner in Kosar’s Wood Fire Grill. Many times you see an athlete put their mug and name on a sign and it turns out to be run of the mill chain food. This is not the case here. Kosar’s is an amazing dining experience with OCD attention to detail from service to presentation. I would come for the steaks and stay for the gaming based on my experience. The restaurant is as much of an attraction as the casino itself. Come for the Quarterback but be wowed by the entire team.