I get a little nervous when someone says the words gambling and fine dining in the same sentence. At any rate, I decided to “throw the dice”, if you will, and dine out at the Flint Creek Steak House. This establishment is located at the Cherokee Hotel and Casino in West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma. I should have known I’d be pressing my luck with this place. When my group showed up on Monday night we discovered it was closed. They’re only open Wednesday through Sunday. That makes sense. It’s not like they’re in a CASINO where A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL BE HANGING AROUND. At any rate, on that evening we dined at the buffet. I’ll have more to say about that later.
When Thursday came around, my entire group decided to go to back to the Steak House. This time, we called ahead to make sure they were open. They told us we needed reservations. Why? They were very busy. I’ll have more to say about that later, too.
Upon entering the Flint Creek Steak House the dining room ambiance impressed me. I found it spacious and rather elegant. I liked the blue color of the walls and the drapes in front of the window to the casino. It gave the establishment an air of sophistication. It had the appearance that a fine dining establishment should have.
It’s a harbinger of bad things when something like ordering an iced tea raises red flags. The menu listed it at $2.50. Before Starbucks customers tell me what a deal that is, I should point out that the casino had a “free” soda fountain. I helped myself to an iced tea while waiting to go to dinner. The brand the restaurant served tasted exactly the same. So, when I drank it while walking around the casino, it was free. When I ordered it with dinner they charged me for it. Hmmmmm.
I ordered the Seafood Chowder as an appetizer. I liked it, but not to the point of justifying the $6.00 price tag. That’s an awful lot to pay for a small bowl of soup. For that kind of money, I could stop off at the supermarket and buy enough to last me a week.
As readers can guess from my choice of appetizer, I’m a big sea food fan. Even though the place billed itself as a steak house, I decided on the Seafood Lafayette. The menu described it as, “Shrimp, Scallops, Sausage and Spicy Cajun Cream Sauce.” I like my meals with some zest to them. I licked my lips in preparation for the perfect dinner.
Here’s where I started losing my temper. It’s never good when that happens in a “fine dining” setting. The Steak House’s web site clearly reads, “At Flint Creek, you’ll be pampered by our accommodating staff…” Yeah. I’m not sure how long my group waited for dinner. The server took our orders at 6:17 PM. My best estimate is that we didn’t receive our meals until sometime around 7:20 PM. I dined with a group and enjoyed the opportunity to converse with everybody. Still, that’s a long time to wait for food when you’re hungry. After we finished eating, we had to wait a while for the bill, as well.
Remember earlier, I wrote that we needed reservations because the place was “very busy”? While I sat there, most of the tables in the dining room were empty. To irritate me even more, I witnessed two staff members standing around talking to each other most of the night. At least one other server worked the dining room, as well. For these reasons, I found the lengthy waits completely inexcusable. The fact that the establishment added the gratuity to the bill was even more intolerable. We practically had to hunt down our server to pay her. This did not meet my criteria for fine dining.
With respect to the meal, I thought my dinner good, but ridiculously overpriced. They charged $22.00 for something that fit in a medium sized bowl. Once again, while I thought the food decent, I didn’t think the quality or size justified the high cost.
I wanted to end this review with the line, “If you’re planning on dining at the Flint Creek Steak House, save your money and hit the buffet instead.” I may have pointed out already that the restaurant was closed on Monday. On that night, my group tried the RiverCane Café/Buffet. Once again, I found the food adequate, but I didn’t like the price. If diners sign up for a player’s card (which is free) they save $1.76 on the buffet. Everyone in my group took advantage of this deal and got to eat for $10.70. Obviously, I can’t complain about the portions in this case. The lack of variety did disappoint me, however. They served Italian, Chinese, and Mexican food. I didn’t see any high-end meals, though. (i.e. Steak, fish, etc.) To be fair, they did offer a diverse desert selection.
My point of reference for a “real” buffet is the Hibachi Grill in Cinnaminson, NJ. For $9.99 diners have their pick of Rib-Eye Steak, Salmon, Crabmeat, and a host of other fine foods, in addition to the kinds of things the RiverCane Café/Buffet served. I expected similar quality fare from the casino.
I bet the house that I’d get a good meal, but came up craps. I still can’t believe the prices. Doesn’t the casino want diners to have at least some money left to blow in the machines? The real issue I had involved the poor service. As anyone in business can recite, “you’re five times more likely to lose a customer over bad service than bad quality.” I can personally assure the Flint Creek Steak House just how accurate that is.