Over the weekend I was invited to check out one of the restaurants inside of the new Hollywood Casino in Jamul, CA. I choose Final Cut, a steakhouse within the casino, as our restaurant for the evening.
Hollywood Casino has been open for about a year now. This was Jake and I’s first visit out to Jamul and the casino. It’s about a 25 minute drive from Jake’s – pretty impressive! It feels like a quicker drive than going to the other local casinos such as Sycuan, Viejas, or Valley View.
Final Cut is a short walk inside of the casino. A friendly greeter helped us locate the restaurant.
Final Cut is quite elegant inside. It’s also well insulated so you don’t hear any of the casino noise just outside the restaurant.
There are photos of various Hollywood icons in a little lounge area near the bar at Final Cut.
Also at Final Cut there are some costumes from different movies. Here’s Superman’s outfit plus Will Smith’s uniform from Independence Day. There were also costumes/dresses of Marilyn Monroe, Halle Berry, and the movie Seabiscuit.
We were seated right by one of the floor to ceiling windows which gave us a wonderful view. Jake and I found ourselves gazing out of the windows quite often, noticing the wildlife (such as coyotes and hawks) and watching the light change as the sun started to set.
Excited for our meal!
Here’s the new menu at Final Cut, which was updated just a couple of days prior to our visit.
We started off our meal at Final Cut with a couple of beverages. On the left is a Pomegranate Mojito Limonade [$7] and an Orange Iced Tea [$7]. Both are virgin, by the way. We weren’t really feeling like drinking it up this evening. Both of these drinks had a nice flavor to them. I preferred the Pomegranate Mojito drink (I loved the taste of the mint mixed with the pomegranate and lime) while Jake preferred the equally tasty Orange Iced Tea.
We were served amuse bouches before the meal. This was a simple slice of cooked potato with a refreshing and cool bit of herbed cream on top.
We were given a plate of warm bread to munch on while we waited for our appetizers to arrive. The bread was warm and crusty but the real star was the butter…
Ooo… look at those salt crystals on top of the butter! Our waitress informed us that the butter is made in-house at Final Cut. It was almost pure white in color and had a creamy and rich taste to it with a slight sweetness. We loved slathering the butter on top of the warm bread. It was heaven!
Our appetizers arrived shortly after we devoured the whole loaf of bread (we couldn’t help ourselves, I guess). I ordered the Shrimp Cocktail [$12]. The shrimp cocktail was served on a bed of ice and garnished with lemon wedges and a little bowl of cocktail sauce. Normally I am not a fan of cocktail sauce but this stuff was outstanding! It tasted incredibly fresh and was chock full of herbs. It had a slight zestiness to it that I enjoyed with my chilled shrimp. I squeezed lemon all over my shrimp before dipping them into the luscious cocktail sauce. This was a terrific way to kick off the meal.
Jake opted to get the Crispy Pork Belly [$12] which was served with grilled peaches and had a cherry bourbon glaze on top. After he took a bite he said, “I know exactly what you’re going to say about this.” I cocked an eyebrow and took a bite. The cherry bourbon glaze had added a wonderful sweet flavor to the tender pork belly. It was slightly crisp – I thought it could have been crispier – but overall it was a meaty, delicious bite.
“It could be crispier, but it still tastes good,” I said to Jake.
“That’s exactly what I thought you would say,” Jake said, smiling at me.
“It’s like you know me or something,” I said while rolling my eyes and finishing off my piece of pork belly.
Jake opted to get the Iceberg Wedge [$10] to go along with his meal. I was surprised to see a deviled egg on the plate. Jake told me I wouldn’t have liked it since it had pickles mixed in. Luckily I didn’t try it. There was quite a lot of blue cheese crumbled on the plate, but it was a more mild blue cheese. It didn’t have the pungent taste of a strong blue cheese. The bacon was sadly soft and not crispy. Jake only ate half of it. He didn’t seem really into it at all.
To go with our entrees, we selected three different side dishes. One was the Truffle Macaroni and Cheese [$9] which we polished off quite easily. The macaroni and cheese is made with aged sharp cheddar and gruyere. The truffle element was recently brought back and I’m glad; the truffle added a wonderful additional layer of flavor that I just couldn’t get enough of. The sauce was incredibly creamy – it looked like it was made with pure heavy cream. It had a velvety texture that we both really loved.
Our second side dish was the Fire Roasted Creamed Corn [$7]. We later found out that the corn was made with hatch green chilies , giving is a slightly spicy flavor to the corn. While the hatch green chilies did give it extra flavor, the corn tasted a bit underseasoned to me. It was good, but not a great dish.
We debated getting Au Gratin potatoes but in the end decided on the Baked Idaho Potato [$8]. We figured we needed something less rich than macaroni and cheese and it was a good decision. The plainer baked potato (stuffed with all of the goodies, though) helped balance out the richness of our meal.
For my main entree, I chose the Stuffed Maine Lobster [$39]. You get half of a lobster tail that’s stuffed with chopped up shrimp, fennel, asparagus, and a creamy bechamel sauce. I believe on top of everything was a herb panko crust. The shrimp were plump and juicy and tasted amazing with the bechamel sauce. The lobster came out of the tail easily and I gobbled it up and ate every single bite. I liked the combination of lobster and shrimp here – great for any seafood lover!
One of the specials that evening was this 32oz Tomahawk Steak [$75] and Jake knew right away that’s what he wanted to order. He requested the steak to be medium rare. We had a giant tomahawk steak like this one when we were in Chicago and he loved that one, so he was really looking forward to this steak.
After his first bite though, he was kind of making a face. He took another piece and ate it and then offered one to me. I ate it and I thought, “Well… that’s not really medium rare.” The steak was more medium well, almost well done, on the outer edges. Jake tried from the other side of the steak and got the same result. Disappointed, he told our waitress that the steak was overcooked.
Shortly after, a Final Cut manager came by and asked Jake about the steak. He asked Jake to cut the steak open and said, “isn’t this medium rare?” Jake sliced it open and saw the meat and said, “Yes, it’s medium rare in the middle, but on the edges it’s more well done.” The manager asked Jake if he would like the steak cooked less than this, and Jake replied, “Yes.” The manager came across as a bit… cold to us. Jake felt like he was being accused of not being happy with his steak. It left us with a weird feeling.
So, we waited for another steak.
I finished off my meal while waiting and shortly later the second steak came out. And… it was rare.
Jake was disappointed. He wanted the steak to be cooked so that it was medium rare all across and since he said he wanted it cook less, they made a rare steak for him. Jake didn’t want to argue about it anymore and just ate a few pieces of the steak and took the rest home.
The executive chef, Keoni Simmons, came out to speak with us about the steak as well. He wanted to know how it was and what had happened. He had a new chef on the grill and wanted to ensure that we were happy with our food. He was incredibly nice while Jake explained what had happened. We felt that Simmons was much more warm and friendly than the manager who came by the speak with us. A bit of a weird experience, but Simmons made up for it with his friendly demeanor.
Now time for a little dessert! The only thing they didn’t have was “coffee and donuts” which I probably would have ordered. Ha.
I treated myself to a glass of Taylor Fladgate Port [$8]. I loved the tiny glass it came in. It tasted wonderful with bites of my dessert (especially the chocolate cake).
Jake ordered the Blood Orange Cheesecake [$9], mostly because he knew I wanted to try it. We were surprised to see this toasted topping! Jake thought it was whipped cream and I thought it was a less sweet marshmallow and well, we were both wrong. It was toasted meringue! Duh! The little meringue cookies were a nice crunchy texture for this dessert. All of the blood orange flavor was in the curd on the plate – not in the cheesecake itself. The cheesecake was dense, creamy, and quite smooth, like a good New York cheesecake. The curd added a bright citrus flavor that we both really liked. Yum!
I went for the uber chocolatey dessert and tried the Molten Chocolate Cake [$10]. The center had a rich fudgy sauce in the middle and the raspberry sauce on the plate helped to cut the rich flavor of the cake. This was a semi-sweet to dark chocolate flavor, not very sweet, and really only for true chocolate lovers. Jake, who is not a big fan of chocolate, wisely did not have a piece. What I really liked was the hazelnut gelato which had big chunks of whole hazelnuts along with pieces of toffee or brittle in the gelato.
Of the two desserts, the cheesecake was the winner to me.
To end our meal, we were given two lollipops made by the pastry chef. They were bubblegum flavored! I had one lick of Jake’s and they weren’t kidding – it was definitely bubblegum flavored!
After our meal, we roamed around the casino a bit. Over at Tony Gwynn’s Sports Pub, they have some Tony Gwynn memorabilia which we went to take a look at. There’s his silver slugger award and golden glove to look at.
We went to sign up for new player cards. They have a promotion for new players. You get $20 of free play – after you earn 20 points. I sat down and earned points pretty quickly, losing $30 bucks off the bat. To get the additional money, you have to go to a kiosk and swipe your card to have the free play loaded on. Then you back to a slot machine and load the money into a machine.
If you’re wise, you will just cash out the money and be on your merry little way. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll unwisely play it and lose it while watching Leonard DiCaprio and Kate Winslet swoosh by on the screen. Ho hum.
Final Cut Steakhouse at Hollywood Casino Jamul
14145 Campo Road
Jamul, CA 91935
Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Final Cut. Our meal was complimentary, minus my delicious port wine. I was not further compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.