As menus are perused by picky eaters, we’re thinking about not only nutritional values and staying power but let’s what we enjoy, too.
Enter Todd English’s Tuscany at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. As I sat at its bar one Saturday afternoon with its cascading waterfall making friends with nearby neighbors, it was like a game of “I spy.” That is, “I spy with my little eye…flatbread pizza!” A mushroom there, a meatball there—flatbread was everywhere.
Here’s the thing about visuals and scents as well: there’s no denying they’re an advertisement for a simple, delectable bite. So I did not check out the braised porchetta sub on the menu. I passed over the lobster BLT and certainly the orecchiette with Italian sausage with broccoli rabe, garlic, crushed red peppers, and extra virgin olive oil — though sounds quite tempting now; I did commit to a Caesar salad (got to have the greens, right?) and a meatball-laden flatbread that was certainly big enough for two, if not three or more people. My flatbread fanatic neighbors were pleased with the selection, too.
I visited Todd English’s restaurant during the annual Sun WineFest — a fantastic celebration featuring celebrity chef demonstrations along with copious wine samplings. I was curious to find out what the chef himself thinks about selective eaters, and if he has any advice for us picky folks to alter our habitual, limited ways.
“Casinos attract world travelers to locals” he explained, “and some people are experimental and some aren’t. I believe if I’m going to make a meatball, I’m going to make the best meatball I can make. I love a good meatball.”
Amen to that! He pointed out chicken Parmesan and meatballs are their two best-selling dishes on the menu and added, “What are we going to do, fight it and say we’re better than that? No, that’s not how you do it.”
He does, however, absolutely encourage people to try new things. “People go, ‘oooh, I never knew I liked rabbit. Oh wow, this is really good!’”