Approximately one month ago The Shrine restaurant in the MGM portion of Foxwoods Resort and Casino reinvented themselves as the Red Lantern Restaurant and Lounge and invited us out for a complimentary tasting.
The owners, Big Night Entertainment Group, decided to make their restaurant at Foxwoods similar to the Red Lantern in Boston. Other establishments owned by Big Night Entertainment Group include: The Estate, GEM, and Empire, and Red Lantern in Boston, Scorpion Bar, Shrine Lounge, and High Rollers Luxury Lanes and Lounge at Foxwoods. The Shrine nightclub remained the same. The restaurant also has a lounge separate from The Shrine.
The Red Lantern Kitchen is open:
Sunday through Thursday: 5pm to 11pm
Friday and Saturday: 5pm to 12am
The Red Lantern Lounge is open:
Sunday through Thursday: 5pm to 1am
Friday and Saturday: 5pm to 2am
The entrance to the restaurant and lounge is located the top of escalator leading to the corridor going from the MGM portion to the older portion of Foxwoods. Just look for the over-sized wooden Asian doors before the host station. Passing the host station leads you to the bar area on the right where one can enjoy one of several martinis or cocktails at the bar in comfortable over-sized leather couches or chairs. Off to the left is the dining area where some tables have dark bamboo chairs and couches while other tables use only dark bamboo chairs. Overhead lighting is provided by numerous, 66 according to their website, Asian inspired “red lanterns”. On nights that the Shrine is in full motion, doors separating the nightclub from the restaurant are closed.
Red Lantern features an open kitchen and full sushi counter and see overseen by Executive Chef Kevin Long who stopped by our table often to ask how we were enjoying the food and to answer any questions we might have. I asked how the “Crispy Rice Bites” (more about them later) came about and he said he was discussing with his crew ways to make their menu unique and it was suggested to pan crisp sushi rice and top with tuna – thinking outside of the box!
On to the tasting, which started off with cocktails, of course. Two that were suggested were the Blushing Geisha and Grass Fed Mule. The name “Grass Fed Mule” sounded interesting in itself, so I tried it. The Blushing Geisha is made with Grey Goose La Poire, St. Germain, grapefruit, and cranberry. The pear flavored vodka paired with the grapefruit and cranberry made this a light and refreshing drink. The Grass Fed Mule used house-made lemongrass infused Double Cross vodka, fresh lime, and ginger beer to result in a tangy drink common to drinks with ginger beer as an ingredient.
The first dish we tried was the Boneless Spareribs: smoked char sui, licorice powder, napa cabbage salad. The tangy cabbage salad went well with the slight sweetness of the spareribs. The ribs were tender and juicy.
The most interesting dish of the night arrived next, The Hot Rock: sliced Wagyu beef, Sashimi salmon, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes, sweet miso sauce – and a 6oo degree stone. You get to cook the beef, salmon, and vegetables to level to like most. This was fun and would be a “hit” with a group of friends. The Wagyu beef was super tender and juicy, ever when it was accidentally over cooked. Just remember, do not touch the stone!
As I mentioned about them earlier, the innovative Crispy “Rice Bites” arrived next. Blackened rare tune laying on top of crunchy sushi rice, then topped with tomato and sweet corn sauce. These made for an unusual sushi roll. However, the crispy rice gave it a great texture difference.
For sushi, we were given the “Chirashi Naruto” which was salmon, tuna, and hamachi in a freshly sliced cucumber wrap laying a shallow pool of Habanero ponza. The Habanero ponza gave this a slight heat that was quickly extinguished by the coolest of the cucumber.
Here is a photo of more traditional Sushi that they also offer at Red Lantern.
For the entrees, we enjoyed Singapore Street Noodles and the Tik Tok Chicken. The noodles were rice stick noodles accompanied by shrimp, scallop, pork, madras curry, and XO sauce. The noodles were light with just the right amount of shrimp, scallops, and pork. Not necessarily billed as an entree, but the bowl of noodles was large enough to be in that category, especially with the amount of seafood in this dish.
The Tik Tok Chicken was water chestnut floured, golden chicken, deep fried to a golden brown, then tossed with sweet and spicy flavors served over a bed of Jasmine rice. The chicken was cooked perfectly and the flavors bounced your taste buds back and forth from sweet to spicy in delicious way.
Later we adventured down the wild side and ordered a flaming Red Lantern Volcano, which contained Bacardi Gold rum, Bacardi Select rum, Bacardi 151 rum, Galliano, orange, pineapple, and cherries. This drink came out in a large bowl, enough for two to four people to enjoy. In the middle of the bowl was the volcano which contained the flaming Bacardi 151. The photo make it look small but this is actually the size of a serving bowl!
For dessert, we were treated to Pineapple Bread Pudding and Creme Brulee. The bread pudding was an interesting and unique combination of bread pudding with chunks of pineapple topped with pineapple caramel, coconut ice cream, and toasted coconut. I found the pudding to be quite good. Each bite consisted of a little of each ingredient. The Creme Brulee was of the vanilla bean variety with Star Anise biscotti. It was smooth and creamy, however, the burnt-sugar topping was a bit overpowering.
The Red Lantern offers some interesting and unique twist on Asian cuisine that were delicious. The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. You will enjoy dining at Red Lantern.