Disclosure: I was invited out to do this review and my meal was provided by the restaurant. All opinions are my own.
Cuisine: Italian, Pasta, Pizza, Seafood, Steaks, Dessert
Restaurant Features: Casino, Hotel
Location: Prior Lake, MN
Address: 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd. Prior Lake, MN 55372
Hours: Sun, Wed, Thur 5pm-10pm Friday-Sat 5pm-12am
Links:* Il Premio Website * Google Map *
Atmosphere: Located within Mystic Lake Casino near the hotel, Il Premio is located in the space that was formerly Ribbons Steakhouse, which was fully remodeled and opened as Il Premio in August 2010. The large space is divided into two dining areas, both of which have white-clothed tables, as well as booths throughout the area. It is elegant and cozy, a quiet sanctuary away from the sounds and activity of the casino.
Menu: Appetizers at Il Premio include Calamari Fritti, Grilled Eggplant Crustini, Tomato Garlic Bruschetta, Zucchini Fritters, Grilled Asparagus Rolls, Caramelized Brussel Sprouts, Italian Crab Cakes and Vegetable Antipasti. Soups offered are Minestrone and Chicken Wild Rice.
Salads include Insalata Osteria (unlimited refills), Caprese, Bleu Chicken, Tuscan Bread Salad Panzanella, Mediterranean Caesar, and Boston Bibb with Apples, Walnuts and Gorgonzola.
Foccacia Flatbread choices are the Balsamic Onion with Rosemary, and Parmesan, Oven-Dried Tomato and Pesto, Roman Potato with Ricotta and Garlic, Margherita, and Prosciutto Di Parma with Melon. Neapolitan Pizza choices include Sicilian Sausage and Mushroom, Sicilian Sausage and Pepperoni, Pepperoni and Mozzarella, Margherita, Quattro Formagi, and Tomato with Garlic and Oregano.
Il Premio’s signature Pasta dishes include Lobster Ravioli, Bucatini with Meatball, Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto Milanese, Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken, Basil Pesto Farfalle, Orecchiette Prosciutto Di Parma, and Homemade Lasagna.
All Steaks at Il Premio come from Creekstone Farms and are handcut daily including the 8 oz Filet Mignon, 14 oz Ribeye, and New York Strip Florentine. Other entrees at Il Premio include Lobster Tail ($28), Brick-Oven Chicken, Grilled Pork Prime Chop, Chicken Parmigiano, Veal Saltimbocca, and the Chef’s Seasonal Catch of the Evening.
Desserts include Almond Cheesecake, Tiramisu, and Cannoli.
Price guide: Appetizers $6-10 Salads $8-9 Flatbreads $8 Pizzas $13 Pastas $14-18 Entrees $16-20
What we ordered: We started with a couple of Homemade Italian Sodas, one of the non-alcoholic beverages that are offered Il Premio. Like all areas of Mystic Lake Casino, Il Premio is a “dry” restaurant and does not serve any alcohol. One soda was Lavender, the other was Cucumber. Both were light and refreshing, the Lavender soda was slightly sweeter than the Cucumber.
We started with this complimentary loaf of warm bread while we waited for our appetizers. The bread itself was crusty on the outside while soft and warm within. It was served with a plate of Il Premio’s extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese for dipping. Delicious and comforting!
There were many appetizers that sounded wonderful and since I couldn’t decide between the Calamari and Crab Cakes, I ordered both. This calamari ranks up there with some of the best I have ever had. The breading was crispy yet the calamari was cooked absolutely perfect. It was tender without any hint of rubbery-ness that is common when calamari is cooked even a second too long. It was served with a basil tartar sauce and lemon wedges.
The Crab Cakes were also magnificent. There were three small cakes to the order, but each cake was made almost entirely of crab meat with just a hint of basil and onion. They were crispy and browned on top but filled with soft, succulent crab meat within. Served with a creamy basil dipping sauce. So good!
For my entree, I knew I wanted to try one of the pastas so I ordered the Lobster Ravioli after careful deliberation of the menu and asking the server his opinion. Wow, was this dish amazing! I knew the pasta would be prepared al dente, as each ravioli was handmade to order. There were five giant raviolis in the order and each pocket was stuffed with freshly-cooked buttery lobster meat, parmesan and fresh herbs, then tossed in a creamy tomato butter sauce topped with basil, tomatoes and parmesan. I loved every bite!
My companion was deciding between the Veal Pasta and the Ribeye, but went with the ribeye after asking the server’s opinion. What a great steak! It was 14 oz and cut thinner than most, but it was a very tender and flavorful steak, cooked a perfect medium rare yet still seared on the outside to keep all the juices inside. The steak was very lightly seasoned and garnished with Il Premio’s signature Parmesan Lombardy Butter and garlic.
For dessert there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to have the Almond Cheesecake. I love cheesecake and anything almond, so this was sure to be a winner, and it was!! It had the creamy consistency of cheesecake, but the distinct flavor of almond. It was plated with a pretty swirl of raspberry and cream, which added just the perfect amount of fruitiness to compliment the almond.
My companion ordered a Mocha and the Cannoli for dessert. The Mocha was overflowing with sweet creaminess, the perfect dessert drink.
The Cannoli was a delicious blend of sweetened ricotta cheese with mini chocolate chips overfilling the tube-shaped pastry. The first bite I tasted had a mild hint of cinnamon to it, an unexpected but enjoyable addition to the overall flavor.
Service: We had wonderful service at Il Premio. We were warmly greeted by the hostess who showed us to our table and then by our server, Kevin, shortly after. Our server had many suggestions for us and was polite as well as knowledgeable in answering the questions I had about Il Premio. The timing of the food was just right so that we were able to enjoy each course without rushing, yet our entire visit was just about an hour and a half. We couldn’t have asked for better service, even the busboy did a wonderful job.
Overall Impression: We loved everything we had at Il Premio, but I was particularly impressed with the seafood we had and the steak was also excellent. It is worth a trip to Mystic Lake soon if only to have dinner at Il Premio!