Discard any preconceived notions you might have about eating dinner in a casino. I certainly had many, and after dining at the Final Cut steakhouse, I had to throw them all out the window..at least as far as the Hollywood Casino at the Kansas Speedway is concerned. The pictures on its website don’t do it justice, the restaurant itself is stunning. In addition to the huge collection of Hollywood memorabilia that is beautifully displayed in niches and on walls throughout (including one of the dresses Dorothy wore in the Wizard of Oz), there are massive booths, views of the Speedway and a dining room adorned with gorgeous Tiger Maple wood.
I was treated to dinner for two at Final Cut, undoubtedly in the hope that I would thereafter extol its virtues. Fortunately, the meal was outstanding so I can rave about it with all honesty. Admittedly, we didn’t have the typical diner experience because we were showered with personal attention….and close to half the menu to sample…but it was clear that Chris the GM is passionate about his job and he’s on a mission to make his restaurant a destination for Kansas Citians whether they gamble or not. And it was equally clear that our server, Sherry, is very good at what she does. I urge you to ask for her if you go.
Final Cut is a steakhouse yes, but unlike some of its ilk, the other dishes are not an afterthought. In fact, the appetizers may be as compelling as the entrees. Certainly I could have made a meal out of the crabcakes (all crab, held together only by a scallop mousse) and the Barbecued Shrimp (sautéed cajun spiced shrimp, garlic, beer, roasted corn relish, and chile-garlic remoulade). But since we were showered with dishes, that was just the beginning. We also enjoyed seared tuna with wasabi aioli, Seafood Gumbo (tons of seafood, light on spice) and a deconstructed (and a bit bland) French onion soup, the house salad with Parmesan ranch dressing, and a spinach salad.
And that was before the entrees started coming! We sampled very sweet and tender sea scallops with blood orange beurre blanc and seabass with soba noodles in a coconut curry sauce. I didn’t detect any curry flavor, but the fish was light and flakey.
Then came the focal point of the menu…the meat. We were given a double Berkshire pork chop that was served with a too sweet caramel glazed apple mash, but the chop itself was juicy and immensely flavorful, as all heritage breeds seem to be these days. The star of the show however, was the Tomahawk chop, an Australian Wagyu 28 ounce bone-in rib eye beef steak. To give us an idea of both of their specialty items, it was topped with blue crab, lobster, and herbed cheese, in the manner that the filet mignon can be ordered. I eat very little red meat, but it was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had. It was cooked to order and each bite was mouth-watering. (If you order this medium or even more done than that, I can’t vouch for its magnificence–mine was rare.) I took more than half of it home and ate it the next day…it travelled well and was every bit as enjoyable left over. I don’t remember the last time I had more than 4 bites of a steak in one sitting, which should give you some idea of what an incredible piece of meat this was.
As if this wasn’t enough, Chris insisted we taste a South African lobster tail, which is supposedly sweeter than its Atlantic counterpart. I love lobster so this was a real treat.
All entrees come with a salad and bread, but how many of us go to a steakhouse and don’t try any of the sides. We sampled lobster mashed potatoes, heirloom carrots and sauteed steak mushrooms.
With no room for dessert, we of course had two! The creme brulee reminded me of a dish called Creme Fromage that my sister-in-law used to make. It was creamier and thicker than most…simply outstanding…as were the homemade gelatos.
The restaurant has taken a page from its Vegas brethren and puts its wine list on iPads. It’s fun and informative. Breaking down the list by color and varietal, when you make a selection you can read a description of it to be sure its flavor profile fits your tastes and the dishes you’ve ordered. If you have any questions, Chris is well-versed (and educated), and can help you hone in on a selection.