Mar 182012

Disclosure: I was invited out to do this review and our meals were provided by Mystic Lake. All opinions are my own.

Cuisine: Fish & Seafood, Steaks, Ribs, Chops,  Desserts
Restaurant Features: Casino, Hotel, Lobster Tank
Location: Prior Lake, MN
Address: 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake, MN, 55372 1-800-264-2821
Hours: Sun, Wed & Thurs 5-10pm * Fri-Sat 5-11pm
Links: Mystic Steakhouse Website * Google Map

Atmosphere: The space that is now home to Mystic Steakhouse was remodeled in 2010 when it became the (then ) home to Il Premio Italian Steakhouse.  Fast forward to December 2011 when the space transitioned to become Mystic Steakhouse with an all-new menu featuring steaks, chops and seafood.  Gone are the fancy white table clothes to reveal a much more casual, comfortable space with a contemporary feel.

There is a live Lobster Tank near the kitchen that you can see when you enter the dining room.

Menu: Appetizers at the Mystic Steakhouse include Seared Tuna, Broiled Jumbo Shrimp, Battered Walleye Strips, Fried Calamari, Maryland Crab Cakes, Hearth-Baked Pizza, and Bull Bites.

Salads offered are dinner-size and include House or Caesar or you can order a full Cobb Salad.  Soups offered include Wild Rice or French Onion.

House Favorites offered at Mystic Steakhouse include Homemade Lasagna, Spaghetti with Meatballs,  Chicken Parmigiana and Steak House Burger.

Mystic’s Seafood Selections include Fried Jumbo Shrimp, Broiled Shrimp, King Crab Legs, Shore Lunch Battered Walleye, Broiled Walleye, Grilled Norwegian Salmon, and Jumbo Sea Scallops.

Steakhouse Entrees include 6 or 8oz Filet Mignon, 10oz Ribeye, 10oz New York Strip, 16 Oz T-Bone, Brick Oven Chicken, Roasted Lamb Chops, Hickory Smoked Barbeque Ribs, Bone-In Pork Chop.  You can also order the Filet, Ribeye or New York Strip as a combo with any of the following added: Walleye Fillet, King Crab Legs Fried Shrimp, Broiled Shrimp, 5 oz Lobster Tail or Scallops.

Accompaniments include Caramelized Onions, Sauteed Mushrooms, Demi Glace Sauce, Bearnaise Sauce, or Melted Bleu Cheese.

Desserts offered at Mystic Steakhouse include Almond Cheesecake, Apple Streusel Pie, Creme Brulee, Tiramisu, Chocolate Cake,
Price guide: Appetizers $10-13  Fish/Seafood $19-35  Steakhouse Entrees $15-24
What we ordered: My companion and I started with a couple of non-alcoholic beverages, since the Mystic Steakhouse adheres to the alcohol-free policy of the Mystic Lake Casino and Mdewakanton Sioux Community.   I tried the Pina Colada which was sweet and every bit as tasty as its counterpart with rum.

My companion ordered the Ginger Beer by Cock N Bull. The undertones of this drink were similar to a Ginger Ale, but the ginger was much more pronounced and quite spicy.  Excellent choice if you enjoy ginger!

We started with the basket of bread, which included two varieties that were both delicious. The Italian loaf was soft inside and crusty on the outside but the real star in this bread basket was the Pumpernickel with raisins. So good, especially with the salted sweet cream butter.

We then ordered a couple of appetizers.  The Walleye Strips were one of our first choices for appetizer and I am so glad we got these! There were four pieces of fish in the order, each of which was battered with Shore Lunch then fried to a crispy golden brown.  The texture of the breading paired with the light, flaky walleye was a winning combo.  It was served with Mystic sauce,  a spicy aioli, and lemon wedges.  These were great and rank up there, I highly recommend.

We also tried the Maryland Crab Cakes.  These were delicious; a mixture of succulent crab pieces mixed with mayo, mustard, worcestershire, herbs and breadcrumbs and then fried to a crispy golden.  Each of the three crab cakes were served atop a very thin slice of lemon, plated with little dollops of a spicy Cajun Remoulade (mayo, lemon, cayenne, mustard, ketchup, worcestershire, garlic, celery salt).

Our entrees came with side salad, my companion and I both chose the Caesar.  The lettuce was cold and crisp and the Caesar dressing was fresh and homemade, the croutons crunchy and flavorful.

For my entree I ordered the ribeye, which I was sold on after looking at the menu for about two minutes.  I was delighted with my ribeye in every way, yet I wish I had paid closer attention to the fact that there was a tank full of Live Maine Lobsters that I somehow overlooked on the way to be seated at our table.  I love lobster and any of of those big beauties would have made me a fine meal, but I was just as satisfied with the tender, juicy, flavorful ribeye steak that I chose.  The steak itself was only 10 oz so I paired it with the Broiled Shrimp, which came recommended (along with the fried shrimp) by the server.  Each of the three shrimp were butterflied with the shell still on, then lightly seasoned and broiled.  The meal came with sauteed carrots and choice of potato. I chose the sea-salt crusted baked potato which is how I think I shall make baked potatoes at home from here on out.  The salt made the skin really soft and no further seasoning was necessary even after I added butter and sour cream.

My companion ordered the Bleu Cheese Crusted Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail combination dinner.  The filet was a ten oz cut of very tender beef, and my companion opted to add the warm bleu cheese which was not a sauce but rather bleu cheese that had been baked into a fluffy golden pillow. Awesome! The steak was paired with a 5 oz Lobster Tail and a sea salt-crusted baked potato.

We companion and I ordered a variety of accompaniments for our steaks, including Demi Glace, Bearnaise, Caramelized Onions and Sauteed Button Mushrooms.  Everything was wonderful, just depends on what flavors and textures you like ot enhance your steak with.

I saved a tiny bit of room for dessert, starting with the Apple Streusel Pie.  Filled with a heaping pile of tart, firm apples mixed with cinnamon and sugar.  The crumbly streusel topping was good but let the apples take center stage.

We both love Creme Brulee and the version at Mystic Lake is one of the biggest serving sizes I’ve seen to date.  An entire bowl is filled with the creamy custard and then a layer of sugar is crystallized on top, then topped with whipped cream, tea cakes and a slice of strawberry.

Service: The folks at Mystic Steakhouse knew we were coming, as they had invited us down to try to the new menu and set up a reservation in my name.  We were greeted by the smiling hostess and shown through the partially seated dining room to one of the nice semi-circle booths along the wall.  Our server greeted us just a few minutes later and talked up the non-alcoholic drinks selection.  Our server also had some good suggestions for appetizers and although I wish he had made it a point to talk up the live lobsters, it is my own fault that I overlooked them after not reviewing the menu more carefully.    The food was prepared in the appropriate amount of with the courses being staggered.  Drinks were filled and plates cleared often.  The manager was friendly as usual, and stopped by to check on us a couple of times.
Overall Impression: Mystic Steakhouse has a nice selection of steaks and seafood at very reasonable prices and is a great sanctuary away from all the stimulation of the casino.  Mystic Steakhouse is a great destination restaurant, so whether you plan to spend time at the casino or not, consider a trip down to Mystic Lake soon.
Mystic Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Dec 282010

Disclosure: I was invited out to do this review and my meal was provided by the restaurant.

Have you been down to Mystic Lake Casino recently?  Have you tried their Buffet? The menu at the Buffet changes every couple of months with seasonal items, so it is always fun to try the plethora of food items no matter what time of year you visit.

Today I will highlight the Winter “Holiday” Around-the-World Buffet, which runs through December and January.  Mystic Lake is offering a special Buy-One-Get-One-Free Buffet Dinner throughout the month of January, get the printable coupon here on their website.

Cuisine: American, European, and Pacific
Restaurant Features: All-You-Can-Eat, Hotel
Location: Prior Lake, MN
Address: 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake, MN, 55372 (Mystic Lake Casino)

  • Mon – Fri Lunch:  11:30am – 2:30pm $9.95
  • Saturday & Sunday Brunch:  10am – 2:30pm $13.95
  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday Dinner:   4:30pm – 11:00pm $12.95
  • Wednesday  Seafood Night:  4:30pm – 11:00pm  $22.95
  • Saturday & Sunday  Dinner:  4:30pm – 11:00pm $16.95

Links: Buffet at Mystic Lake Website * Mystic Lake Facebook Page * Google Map

Atmosphere: The Buffet at Mystic Lake Casino is an International-Themed Buffet with three main stations: European, American and Pacific.  Each station is host to a variety of holiday foods found in that particular region of the world.  There are also two salad bars and a dessert station.

For the holiday season the Buffet is festively decorated with trees and lights but also displays these beautiful, elaborate Gingerbread creations by Marshall Rosenthal.

Menu: Salad Bar items include Mixed Greens, bean Sprouts, Mushrooms, Green peppers, Garbanzo beans, Broccoli, Shredded Carrots, Garden Peas, Julienne Red Peppers, Black Olives, Radish, Cucumber, Onion, Tomato Wedges, Chopped Eggs, Bleu Cheese Crumbles, Cheddar Cheese, Parmesan Cheese, and Sliced Beets.  Dressing include Caesar, Italian, Bleu Cheese, French, Ranch, 1000 Island and Parmesan Peppercorn.  Soups include Chicken Wild Rice, Asian Soup and a Soup of the Day

Other Salad Bar Items include Ham salad, Tropical Fruit Salad, Smoked Salmon, Pickled Herring, Green Olives, Grilled Vegetables, Baby Corn, Roasted Mushrooms, Cherry Peppers, Pepperjack, Cheddar, Swiss, Honeydew, Cantaloupe, Pineapple, Oranges, Pears, Peaches, Strawberries, Cottage Cheese, and Yogurt.

Items found at the American Holiday Station include Waffle Fries, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Beef Enchiladas, Stuffed Peppers in Tomato sauce, Alaskan Cod with Mushroom Dill Sauce, Acorn Squash with Apple Bacon Crumble, Rotisserie Chicken, Chicken with Banana Mango Chutney, Macaroni and Cheese, Broasted Chicken, Smoky Cowboy Beans, Vegetable Medley, Roast Beef (lunch), Prime Rib (dinner), Mashed Potatoes, Oven Roasted Turkey, Sage Dressing, Corn Niblets and Blackened Atlantic Salmon.

Items found at the European Holiday Station include Pork Saltimbocca with Fresh Sage and Brown Sauce, Ziti with Sundried Tomato and Pancetta in Basil Cream Sauce, French Peas with Mushrooms and Pearl Onions, Potatoes Au Gratin, Mahi Mahi, Beef Stroganoff, Tomato Provencale, Buttered Egg Noodles, Garlic Cheese Bread, Assorted Hearth Baked Pizzas.

Items found at the Pacific Holiday Station include Cream Cheese Wontons, Sesame Sedd Balls, Pork Egg Rolls, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Vegetable Lo mein, Chow Mein with Pork, Chow Mein Noodles, Dan Dan Noodles with Bok Choy, Mongolian Meatballs, Chinese Spare Ribs, Egg Fu Yung, Honey Seared Pork with Peppers, Steamed Rice, Vegetable Fried Rice, and Grouper in Black Bean Sauce.

Dessert Station Items include Sugar-Free Carrot Cake, Sugar-Free Cheese Cake, Sugar-Free jello, Apple Spice Cake, Caramel Custard, Ice Cream Sundae Bar, and many more.

What we ordered: We first started at the Pacific Station where we tried a little bit of everything.  The Mongolian Meatballs were a spicy-sweet bite of meaty awesomeness, the Chinese Spare Ribs were very sweet and tender, the Dan Dan noodles were packed with flavor, and the sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, lo mein, eggrolls and cream cheese wontons were also very tasty.  My favorite item from the Pacific Station was the Grouper in Black Bean Sauce.  Yum!

Our next stop was the European Station where everything looked so good we tried it all!  The French Peas with Mushrooms and Pearl Onions was very tasty, as was the Tomato Provencale, which was stuffed with Parmesan Cheese and Italian Seasonings then baked.  The Mahi Mahi was decent and the Pork Saltimbocca was full of flavor from the sauce it was cooked in and the prosciutto baked on top.  The Garlic Cheese Bread was full of buttery-garlic goodness with bubbly baked cheese on top.  Delish! Our second plate from the European Station included the rich, meaty Beef Stroganoff, Ziti in Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Cream Sauce, Buffalo Chicken Pizza and the Stuffed Pizza.  Everything was very good.

We made a couple of trips to the American Station where we tried everything that was offered. I made a traditional “Thanksgiving” plate with Roasted Turkey, Rotisserie Chicken, Sage Dressing, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes. Everything was excellent, I must have eaten it all before I took a photo… sorry!
Feast your eyes on this gorgeous cut of Prime Rib from the American Station. Incredibly tender,  juicy and fairly lean.  I could eat at the Buffet for Prime Rib alone!

Other items we tried at the American Station were the Macaroni and Cheese which was very creamy and cheesy but not at all clumpy like mac and cheese can get sometimes.  The Smoky Cowboy Beans were as good as any I have had, and the Alaskan Cod may have been my favorite fish that I tried at the Mystic Lake Buffet, the sauce was flavorful and the fish was not at all fishy.  The Blackened Salmon was also good.

I didn’t have much room for dessert but wanted to see what the Sugar-Free Desserts were all about.  So glad I tried both the Carrot Cake and the Cheesecake because both were delicious, even sugar-free!

I tried one last dessert before I was too full too move, the Caramel Custard.  I love custard and thought this was delicious! It was smooth, creamy and the caramel was just the right touch without being too rich.

Service: We were able to get a table right away and were greeted almost immediately by our server who quickly took our drink order and kept the refills coming all night.  For a Buffet, I thought Mystic Lake did a great job with service.  The Manager stopped to greet us, as he did with nearly every other table of guests, to make sure the food was enjoyed by all.

Overall Impression: The Buffet at Mystic Lake is the perfect place to go if you want a HUGE selection of All-You-Can Eat International foods at a very reasonable price.  I highly recommend you take advantage of the January BOGO Buffet coupon offer! Print your coupon now. Even better would be to have lunch or dinner at the Buffet, then stay the night at Mystic Lake Hotel and try Il Premio Italian Steakhouse the following Night!
Buffet on Urbanspoon

Nov 172010

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.Calamari al Fritti at Il Premio at Mystic Lake ~ Prior Lake, MN

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!

Il Premio on Urbanspoon