Friday, December 10, 2010


This past June I published an article on this site about the Sunburst Buffet at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. What has made Mohegan Sun stand apart from most non-Las Vegas casinos is that it has had two buffet restaurants - Sunburst Buffet and Seasons Buffet. Before I go further let me say that since my visit this past summer, the Sunburst Buffet has closed. There is now only one buffet at Mohegan Sun and from what we could learn while there, the Sunburst Buffet will remain closed. It is no more...

While this was a surprise, it was not a disappointment, as you will understand if you read that article here from last June. We were heading for Connecticut again and the plan this trip was to have dinner at the Seasons Buffet at Mohegan Sun. Many of you must wonder why, when I place so much on value at buffets - do I go to so many casinos. Well, it is not for the gambling. I do not gamble. It is for the food - specifically for the buffet. Seasons has been at Mohegan Sun since the casino/resort complex first opened. It was always considered the lower priced buffet. It was considered the more basic buffet. Now that this is the only buffet at Mohegan Sun, it has borrowed a little of what had been at the Sunburst Buffet- a sample selection of items from the various menu restaurants in the complex. Let me start from the beginning so that you get the full flavor of this buffet.

The buffet is located just off of the floor of the Wolf Den casino - there are several casinos in the complex that closely resembles what a Native American theme park for adults would look like. You pay at the entrance way. The price of the buffet is $16.99 every day for lunch and dinner. There is also a breakfast buffet. Once you have paid you are directed down a short corridor where you are greeted by a hostess who escorts you to your table. The dinner room is large and the buffet serving area fills around the rear wall. The buffet is set up with two sides - both a mirror image of the other and when in full operation both sides serving the same things to accommodate the crowd. Since we were there in November on a weeknight, only half was in operation with the exception of the dessert area which was doubled (and serving the same desserts on both sides.

As always we start with soup and there were two soups. One was Manhattan Clam Chowder (the red clam chowder and interestingly unusual to find in a New England state). The other was something labeled Persian Meatball soup. Of course, I had to try that. As I was ladling it into my cup it looked very much like mushroom barley soup. When I got it back to the table and really could get a good look at it, it looked even more like mushroom barley soup. And that is exactly what it was. No meatballs - nothing Persian. I was minor-ly disappointed, but I do like mushroom barley soup and this one was good. I also went back for a cup of the clam chowder. The clam chowder was full of clam pieces with potatoes and peppers and onions in a thin red broth. The soup was spicy to the taste - the proper Manhattan Clam Chowder spices and herbs but perhaps a bit more seasoned than necessary - yet, again it was good even if my lips burned a bit.

We moved on to the salad bar. The salad bar was small, both in size and what it had to offer. It is split in half by a new cook to order pasta station in the middle of the two salad bar sides. There were three types of lettuce/greens. There were several toppings. The dressings were not labeled except for the Ranch and that was with a serving spoon that said "Ranch" on it. You could guess what the others were - orange color equals French, but then there were several cream color ones and one that may or may not have been creamy Caesar. My intention had been to create a Caesar Salad - but I was taking no chances and the only one to ask was the pasta chef who was very involved with a skillet making pasta dishes to order. So I took the Ranch and moved on. The other side of the pasta station, the salad bar continued with a few prepared salads which included cole slaw, pasta salad, and a very good mozzarella cheese salad with Mediterranean olives. I took some of the cheese and olive salad. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Greek black olives were pitted. The cheese consisted of small braided balls of mozzarella and were nicely fresh. I came back for more of that later on.

Before selecting my first entrees I took a walk along the buffet servers to see what there was. The first server was a flat grill and there were hotdogs cooking. A sign said Nathan's hot dogs. Those from the Northeast - and others with these hot dogs now sold in supermarkets - know that Nathan's Famous is the original Coney Island hot dog. It made the hot dog famous. The hot dogs being grilled at this buffet were the commercial variety of Nathans - in other words - what you find in the supermarkets - which are slightly different than the "real" Nathans sold at their restaurants. For $17, many do not want to eat hot dogs but I was not the only person getting a hot dog - complete with toppings for you to add yourself and served on a bun. I skipped the bun - I like hot dogs. During the meal I had two. Along the line there were buffalo wings, a carving station with roast loin of pork, a large steamship round of beef, and turkey breast, an area with Chinese dishes including sweet and sour chicken, shrimp and vegetable lo mein, and fried rice, an area with two large, square, thick pizzas - one cheese pizza and a white and spinach pizza, and then there were a row of hot chafing servers. Here there was garlic mashed potatoes, a Sicilian vegetable stew, fish Florentine, Pasta Carbonara, vegetables, macaroni and cheese, and more. Along the way there were baked beans, sauteed onions, and sauteed mushrooms. There was also an area with a variety of gravies to top the carvings. Of course, as mentioned, there was also the Pasta Station where you select the type of pasta and sauce and could add a variety of meats such as chicken and ham to your pasta dish. A chef was there cooking to your order. As everything here was made to your specification there was a short line leading up to the chef. On a crowded night this line could be much longer - though there is a second pasta station when the whole buffet serving area is open.

There was plenty to eat and it was good, solid food to choose from. At first it did not give the appearance that there was a lot to choose from. In fact I heard several people when first walking through make a comment that there was not a lot being offered for $17.00, but really there was and what is more - and what I could not say about the former Sunburst Buffet - the food was really good.

I always do a tasting selection - a little of everything of what I like and then go back for more of what I really enjoyed. The steamship round of beef is a large roast beef that has been cooked to offer a variety of doneness to the beef. I wanted rare and the carver carved me a slice from a section that was rare. Others asked for well done and medium and that was there too. The portions were generous and my wife had to tell the carver to give her less turkey than he was offering.

I tried the fish Florentine - what must have been flounder in a cream sauce with spinach garnish. The fish was a bit dry and while the sauce was tasty it did not add enough to the fish. This was the only dish that I passed up on when I returned. I also tried the Pasta Carbonara which was good. This is Pasta coal miners style. When I have had it in the past it usually is pasta in tomato sauce with bacon tossed with beaten eggs and cheese. Here it was not bacon but a chopped meat finding its way into the ear-shaped pasta in a thickened red sauce which did have cheese mixed in and I am sure beaten egg as well. The taste was good and it tempted me back for more.

The one dish that both my picky eater wife and I enjoyed a lot was the Sicilian Vegetable Stew. What looked like chunks of potatoes were actually yellow squash. There was also green squash, onions, and peppers in a spicy red sauce. The sauce was wonderful and we kept trying to guess what was in it (my wife thought she would like to try making this at home - it was that good). We both enjoyed this dish very much.

Over at the dessert area there were also biscuits and rolls to have with your meal. The dessert area was extensive and there was also a section with sugar free cakes, pies, and muffins. Of the regular desserts there were fresh strawberries with whipped cream near by to mound on top, puddings, bread pudding, jello, cakes, pies, cheesecake, and vanilla and chocolate soft-serve frozen yogurt. Over by the salad bar there were also trays of fresh fruits. Everything was tempting.

We both had a filling and satisfying meal. There was nothing that I would say that was missing from this buffet. It was not "fancy" as some casino buffets try to be, nor was it plain.

The meal includes soft drinks (which are refilled by your server) and you are offered coffee or tea with dessert (or more soft drinks if you prefer). We had a very good server who cleared dishes each time we left the table to get more and she offered refills of our drinks without our looking for her to ask for them. This was very different from our server at Sunburst.

What we were able to learn is that Sunburst will not reopen BUT this buffet - Seasons - will temporarily move into the space that Sunburst had been in - along with all of the Seasons staff, menu, and chefs, while the Seasons room gets some renovation, particularly the addition of rest rooms inside the dining room (now you have to leave the restaurant and use the restrooms near the casino. Once complete, Seasons Buffet will move back to where it is now. We could not find out when this will happen other than "soon".

It is important to note for those with children that there is a children's price - $9.43 - and that this casino complex is laid out so that children can move around all of the complex without entering a casino area. There is no problem bringing a child to get to the buffet. The complex includes a shopping mall and a children's game area. (Plus a crystal glass mountain and waterfall, and a wall of water.

I very much recommend Seasons Buffet at the Mohegan Sun Casino/Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut. Go and enjoy. If you gamble, you will enjoy that too - and there are FREE concerts in the middle of the Wolf Den casino with some big names on Friday and Saturday nights. There are free concerts every night but the names were not as big.

There is a web page listed at the side of this page for Seasons Buffet.

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