Even if you’re not a gambler — or “gamer,” as the industry prefers — visiting is a lively experience. It’s not a James Bond-style casino with people in tuxedos and evening gowns, but on any given day, you will discover a highly diverse set of patrons.
The enormous place is well-lit and clean, with well-appointed furnishings. Although blackjack tables and poker rooms abound, the vast majority of games are slot machines — powered boxes pulsating with blinking lights and sounds.
They are a sideshow unto themselves because of preposterous names such as Da Vinci Diamonds, Dam Lumberjack Beavers and Mr. Money Bags.
Strolling through the casino is enough to make one hungry and possibly game to start a meal with a stiff shot of liquor. Riverwind has several fast-food counters and one sprawling, all-you-can eat buffet called Willows.
But Chips ’N Ales pub is the only dining area with a full bar. It has a United Kingdom pub theme with crossed golf clubs on the walls, wrought-iron chandeliers, exposed brick walls and dark wood paneling. The British ambiance didn’t extend to the table at which we were smoothly seated; each booth had its own blaring TV screen tuned to a sporting event.
Volume immediately was turned down at ours and the adjoining empty booth. Hanging lamp shades over tables weren’t for lights; they concealed TV speakers.
Ashley was our server, and
it was her third day on the job. Questions about menu terms such as
“Zing Zang” and “ghost pepper” understandably called for her trainer,
Kirsten, to appear.
first is a brand name of Bloody Mary mix added to the onion ring
batter. The latter is actually Sriracha sauce used in the crab cake
sandwich ($14) remoulade, not ghost peppers,
which are among the hottest
peppers known to man.
When it was noticed
that Budweiser is credited three times on the menu as a batter
ingredient, it begged the smiling question if Miller beer could be
substituted. This kind of server torment naturally demanded a generous
eggs ($8) are an appetizer rarely seen in these parts. Hardboiled eggs
wrapped in sausage and coated with bread crumbs are then generally
baked, but dammit, this is Oklahoma! They came deep-fried and were
aforementioned crab cake sandwich on a trendy pretzel bun was a tad
pricey for what you get. A side order of béchamel macaroni and cheese
($4) tasted rich and decadent. Triple the serving of that small bowl
would have made a bang-up entrée.
bloody well right they serve bangers ’n’ mash ($11), along with
shepherd’s pie ($11) and stupendous fish and chips demurely called the
cod platter ($11). The house signature dish is chicken pot pie ($11).
Its pale puff pastry crust is on top only, concealing chicken breast
chunks, peas, carrots and onions in a thick, white sauce. The dish is
good but suffers in comparison to Paseo Grill’s version with a full,
thick, dark pie crust that could feed two men and a boy for two bucks
($7) was ordered for a carry-out treat later, and our server
thoughtfully hand-penned the five-step heating instructions on the
Step four, however, was discarded; cream, sure, but chocolate chips should never be added to bread pudding.