My Mother-in-law, Elaine, is here visiting from Delray Beach, Florida, which means a trip to Reno – and any other casinos that are handy – with my mother, Renate, Sr.
They came back with a story the other day about some sort of buffet lunch at the San Pablo Lytton Casino (13255 San Pablo Avenue, San Pablo) based on a sign they supposedly saw on the way back from somewhere else. I was a little skeptical because I know the restaurant set-up there, but, what the heck, Matt and I decided to drive over and meet them for lunch.
After a parking nightmare we made our way in and to the restaurant – which has no buffet. We located the two of them at slot machines and decided to eat there anywhere – in the casual dining/coffee shop part, as I recalled having had dinner at the fine dining restarant there a few years ago and it being just fine and figuring the rest of the food is probably OK, too.
I questioned their information about the buffet, and got back something sketchy from them about a sign saying, “Lunch for $7.99,” and their assuming that, since it was a casino, it “has to mean buffet.”
I’m actually glad they kept the casual dining part as-is, because it’s pretty good. They have many, many choices, including a couple of oddballs (for a casino coffee shop, anyway), like “oxtail over rice,” and there is a Chinese theme here – in keeping with a large portion of the casino’s clientele. There are all kinds of sandwiches, fried chicken, burgers, fried catfish and chips, steak, calamari, and almost anything else you’d want. The prices for most things are quite decent, which makes sense, though be aware that the fine dining option, The Broiler, is pricey. In my opinion they should be running their entire food service operation as a loss-leader; there are not many regular diners near the casino, and I think they could rope more people into the place by making all of the food a bargain.
Our table of four ordered two BLT’s with avocado ($6.75), one catfish with chips ($7.25), a “Big Bucks Deluxe” burger ($6.95), an iced tea ($1.75) and two coffees ($1.25).
Everything was fresh and appetizing looking and the service was great. The BLT’s had plenty of ripe avo and enough bacon to satisfy her nibs (Renate, Sr.), though both mothers said they like their bacon less crispy. Well, the time to say something about that is when the order is placed. Matt’s catfish was a side fillet that looked like it had a cornmeal crust, and I guess it was pretty good because he chomped it down. My burger was nice and hot (everything that was supposed to be hot was hot) and cooked rare, as requested. It tasted like decent ground meat, and had some fried onions along with the usual toppings. All the sides of fries were fine, and the coleslaw that came with the fish was very good, tasting as though the dressing was something on the order of a Chinese chicken salad dressing.
My mother was very pleased about the coffee being $1.25; she keeps complaining about the price of a regular cup of coffee in the Bay Area. They make a good cup of coffee, by the way, and the ice tea is fresh-brewed.
The people in the place are very nice and were happy to accommodate my requests for special things, like a side of ranch dressing for my fries.
It’s seems odd in that you are eating in an open area near the slots, but the air is well-filtered of cigarette smoke and it’s kind of a hoot, really, to have a bite in there.