EAST ST. LOUIS — Innovative dishes, farm-to-table cuisine and vegan delights may not be what comes to mind when thinking about dining at a casino, but that’s exactly what new Executive Chef Alex Eusebio is cooking up at the Casino Queen these days.
Since joining the casino directly across the river from the Gateway Arch, the chef has retooled the entire food and beverage operation to create a variety of dining experiences.
A common ingredient running through the different menus is a focus on rotating seasonal dishes that include locally grown produce as Chef Alex seeks to provide the freshest of food while also shortening the carbon footprint. A sampling of the other changes at the individual venues underscores that each now has its own unique flavor.
Changes at the Market Street Buffet include the addition of a new Bloody Mary Bar and Chocolate Fountain, which will soon be joined by a Mimosa Bar. A focus on fresh produce instead of frozen will ensure an ever-changing selection at the various stations, which also will include more vegetarian options. Local favorite Norrenberns of Mascoutah, Ill., is now providing all the carved meats for the buffet. Also new is a range of desert options, thanks to a recently formed partnership with St. Louis- based La Bonne Bouche and Alpha Baking, which also will be providing deserts for SEVENS and Deli & Chips.
Other new dishes on the menu at SEVENS range from Tater Tot Raclette and the SEVENS Signature Burger to the Don’t be Cruel Monte Cristo sandwich and vegetarian offerings like Eggplant Parmesan. Adventurous diners can even delve into dishes with a distinctive local flavor, such as fried beef tripe. New beer and food pairings help diners to select the best brew to accompany each bite.
The Prime Steakhouse has added Monterey Bay Watch Certified Sustainable Seafood (Grilled Pacific Salmon), Asparagus Stuffed Free Range Chicken Wrapped in Bacon, vegetarian dishes like Penne alla Arrabbiatta and vegan offerings such as Mediterranean Tapas. The menu pairs each dish with a recommended wine.
Deli and Chips will feature a farm-to-table concept using fresh, all-natural ingredients from proteins, dairy, seasonal produce and artisan fresh-baked breads.
VIP Lounge members are enjoying rotating offerings ranging from tapas to tea sandwiches. An array of freshly prepared dips and sauces complement chips and crostini.
“We’re really shaking things up for the casino dining experience, making sure our guests are as excited about food as they are about playing at the home of the loosest slots,” said Eusebio. “In our restaurants, diners will enjoy some of the most innovative, fresh and flavorful food to be found in the St. Louis region.”
As part of his efforts to create a more sustainable dining operation Chef Alex is also committed to buying from local farmers and ranchers, reducing waste from disposable cooking equipment and even designing an herb garden to help expand his farm-to-table offerings.
Alongside the updated every day operations at the Casino Queen, the team will be hosting several exciting events throughout the year for those who want to enjoy upcoming big-ticket sports events on the big screens at SEVENS along with Chef Alex’s new menu items. Future plans also call for outdoor dining events and holiday cooking classes for VIP members, while a revamped catering menu will be available to those booking banquet services in the adjacent Casino Queen Hotel.