Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Buffet at Seven Feathers

While our time in Santee, CA, this August was short, we did have time to have lunch with Dick and Karen Allsing and Dick’s brother Paul and his wife Cindy. When learning that we would be spending time in southwest Oregon, they recommended that we go to Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville for the Thursday evening “all you can eat” seafood buffet. A buffet that included Dungeness crab. Say no more.

For a variety of reasons, we relocated from the RV park in Shady Cove, OR, and drove north to the Seven Feathers RV park, one of the nicest at which we have stayed. So come Thursday night we boarded the casino’s shuttle bus that picks you up and delivers you back to your site and headed forth to the casino.

Today’s blog will be a bit unusual. Since casinos have hard and fast rules regarding photography, you will not see any of the traditional atmospheric photos. In fact, before embarking, Chuck called the restaurant and, after being bumped four levels up the authority chain and promising that we would only photograph our food plates, received permission to bring a camera into the dining room. Still, we brought it in somewhat clandestinely concealed in my purse. (There are a few more things that you won’t see in this blog, but I will identify them later.)

The Seven Feathers complex (casino, multiple dining rooms, RV park, conference center, and truck stop) is owned and operated by the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe.
To us, this was unusual since most “Native American” casinos in the Northeast are operated by major corporations using the various tribes as “fronts” to obtain the required gaming licenses in exchange for monetary and other forms of remuneration.

The Gathering Place Buffet is open daily, but Thursday is “The Day,” and one blogger’s experience is described at southernoregonlife-oregonman33.blogspot.com: “Deep concentration, the kind that monks possess while fasting, furrowed into the brow of my girlfriend. A sudden crack resounds against the walls. With this crack comes the faintest smile across her face as the meat from the crab claw she furiously fought with dropped to the table. With a quick and total drowning of the meat into her lemon butter, she takes a large bite, moaning softly, as her eyes move toward the next claw on her plate. This scene is played out every Thursday evening during the seafood buffet…Although the buffet is open seven days a week, the seafood buffet they offer is the real attraction that draws in customers….”

But even on Thursday the offerings aren’t limited to seafood. There is an Asian station, a Mediterranean station, a Mexican station, a salad station, a carving station, and an American station. But I was there for seafood, so set forth to construct my first plate of oysters on the half shell, cured salmon “rosettes,” and—of course—Dungeness crab.
The oysters were plump and briney. The salmon could have graced any bagel with cream cheese at a Northeast Jewish deli. And the crab was meaty and sweet. But I do have to admit that it was somewhat watery—I suspect from being chilled with ice.

Chuck came back with a plate of crab along with some fried rice from the Asian station.
Hidden under his pile of food were pick ‘n peel shrimp that I helped him eat. The rice was rather bland, but gave him his necessary starch component.

The menu promised me mussels. Where were the mussels? Hidden over in the Mexican station. (Go figure).
And where were the clams? Hidden over in the American station. (Go figure again).
The mussels were delicious, especially when dipped in melted butter. The clams were less successful—a bit tough and a bit flavorless.

Having satiated myself with seafood (three plates to Chuck’s one), I ventured forth to the dessert station where I had my choice of various fruit or cream pies, ice cream, cookies, and assorted cakes. I returned with a slice of a decadently rich pie and a slice of spice cake.
And Chuck’s dessert choices were a slice of rich coconut pie along with a brownie and some assorted cookies.
So what else didn’t you see—on my plates at least? You didn’t see salad. You didn’t see veggies. And you didn’t see starches. Why waste important stomach capacity on this stuff?

As I was headed back from the dessert station I glanced at the carving board. And I see the most beautiful medium rare prime rib. “Take a look at that as you get your desserts,” I said to Chuck.

“There’s always tomorrow night,” he says to me upon his return.

So the following evening we again caught the shuttle to the casino. Looking for a traditional steakhouse experience, I began with the made-to-order Caesar salad. I could have added tomatoes, crab, shrimp, and chicken, but I am a Caesar purist. I want the romaine, dressing, cheese, and croutons period. No other stuff.
And this was a very good salad. At the same time, Chuck was eating a cup of white bean and ham soup that was chunky and rich. Unfortunately, he forgot to take a photo.

Time for the prime rib. Chuck’s first plate included a slice of prime rib, mashed potatoes, green beans, and garlic bread.
Mine was the prime rib, baked potato (from the Mexican [?] station), and green beans.
The prime rib tasted as good as it looked and was medium rare with a warm red center. Both of us topped the meat with a ladle of good beefy au jus and I added a small cup of sinus clearing pure horseradish. Chuck loved his (real) mashed potatoes, and we both loved the crisp tender green beans that were seasoned with bits of bacon. And the skin on my baked potato had been rubbed with coarse salt, a nice touch that I will have to remember.

While the slice of prime rib may look thin, it was enough meat for me. But not for Chuck who went back for seconds of everything.
He did note that this serving of beans wasn’t as good as the first, and we surmised that there was more bacon. Can more bacon ever be bad?

I had a pre-dessert snack plate of deviled eggs (these had a touch too much vinegar in the filling) and shrimp.
Dessert time. For Chuck it was banana cream pie accompanied by a small chocolate cupcake and cookies.
For me it was the chocolate cream pie.
We learned from our server that evening that virtually all food served at the buffet is prepared in-house. This includes all desserts (except the ice cream), salad dressings, veggies, and entrees. This may be why, despite my long-established reservations about buffets, I would return to this one again and award it 4.5 Addies.

To review the role of Adler and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

1 comment:

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Carving Stations and Food Warmer Lamps