The house wins

Miami Valley Gaming’s Cin City Steak and Seafood

By Paula Johnson

Photo: Silver Dollar Corn Cakes at Miami Valley Gaming’s Cin City Steak and Seafood; photos: Paula Johnson


Slot Me In

Located just off the highway at the Monroe exit, Miami Valley Gaming casino offers easy access and ample parking—plus a whole lot of slot machines. If you are a gambler, this is a pretty convenient set up. But if you’re not a gambler, does it offer anything dining-wise to tempt you to visit? That’s what I set out to discover along with PIP (Palate In Progress) and friends DCP Superfan Russ and Charles in Charge. Our gang of four arrived at the casino on a Saturday night to try Cin City Steak and Seafood, one of three restaurants available. Cin City’s chef is Sandra Foote, who has had an extensive career at such places as Paris Hotel and Casino, Bally’s, and Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. The other two restaurants under her direction at the local casino are Trifecta Eatery, a casual hamburger place, and Acres Seasonal Buffet. Acres offers a changing all-you-can-eat buffet, ranging from $18.99 for the Wednesday Shrimp and Seafood to the $24.99 Friday and Saturday buffets, featuring Italian, and Shrimp and Prime Rib, respectively. All the restaurants are nearly hidden in the way-back wall of the casino so that a stroll through noisy rows and rows of slots is obligatory. I already stated I was there for the dining only. But how could I be at a casino and not gamble, at least a teensy bit? My hands were itching just a little as we passed the Wheel of Fortune machine. The $20 I had stashed in my pocket was going to have to wait.

No Bells and Whistles

Cin City’s interior is restrained, almost a purposeful respite from the bells and whistles and glitzy shininess of the casino. While you could still hear a little of the sounds of the machines, it was certainly not enough to detract in any major way. Generous booths with high leather upholstered backs lined one of the walls, with a small bar and tables filling the rest of the space. The palette of the decor was restful with neutral grays, tans, and creams. Natural stone on the walls seemed a purposeful contrast to the chrome and glass of the busy machinery just outside. Another noteworthy appointment I noticed was the flatware. Small details and attractive surroundings could portend a well prepared meal. We would soon see.

We began with a few things to share: Fried Calamari ($12.00), Silver Dollar Corn Cakes topped with pulled chicken and sweet tomatillo jam ($8.00), and a Beet Stack ($9.00), sliced beets on a bed of frisee with goat cheese and curried pecans. The deep sweetness of the beets paired with the bitter astringency of the frisee was really nice. Adding the creamy mildness of the cheese and the crunch of the nuts with the curry flavor made this a memorable and inventive appetizer. I felt the same way about the delicious light little Silver Dollar Corn Cakes with pulled chicken and sweet tomatillo jam. The corn cakes, soft and pillowy platforms for the chicken and sweet hot jam, were paired with nuggets of fresh corn. Both of these dishes indicated that care and creativity were on the menu here. The least successful of the three was the Calamari. Drizzled with lemon butter, balsamic reduction, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil, there was much to like about this dish. However, it was strangely dry—something usually desirable in frying. Far too often, frying results in an overly greasy taste, but in this case the result was hard, reminiscent of maybe a pretzel. The calamari nuggets were also excessively salty, and though offset somewhat by the balsamic reduction, I still couldn’t finish mine. I did really like the cherry tomato and basil and would love to give the dish another go with less sodium. I also sampled the French Onion Soup, which Charles in Charge ordered. French Onion often suffers from excessively salty broth that lacks any depth of flavor, but we found this soup, topped with gooey rich cheese, to be quite good. Another win for the house!

The House Wins Again

For entrees, we sampled the Filet ($32.00), Barramundi ($22.00), and, from the seasonal menu, the Giant Pork Schnitzel ($21.00). The fish was parmesan-crusted and served over shitake mushrooms and leeks, topped with brown butter sauce. The flesh was firm and mild, nicely done. Superfan Russ preferred his without the coating to better taste the fish. My preference was the crunchy bits of coating. Both of us enjoyed the leeks and mushroom pairing. The Filet plate held a pleasant surprise—a big chunk of marrowbone along side the steak. Rich, unctuous, marrow smeared on a bite of steak or bread is wonderful, even just spooned up alone. We also added two sauces, a good plan when ordering filet, a steak that is mostly about tenderness and mouth feel, but can be a bit dry. At an additional charge of $2 each, Cin City offers several sauces. We tried a good Bernaise and a Forestiere, both nice complements to the meat. The Schnitzel, pounded thin and fried, was served with a perfect savory, roasted Brussels sprouts with caramelized bits of onion and candied bacon. The pear sauce topping the Schnitzel was the only detraction. It was the consistency of apple butter with a thickness that trapped too much sweetness with each bite of meat. A thinner glaze on the meat would have been my preference. Still, it was an enjoyable seasonal dish for the most part, and I would order it again just for those Brussel sprouts.

We exited Cin City to the sin city, which was just outside. I broke away from the group to find that one machine I knew was hot. Turns out, not so much. That 20 was gone in a blink. Trying any new place is a gamble, but eating in a casino means at least there’s that, if the meal is a disappointment. In my case, the meal was the clear winner, not the time I spent at the Wheel of Fortune machine. Next time, I will wear my lucky sweater and try that machine in the next row… And maybe try the buffet.

Miami Valley Gaming’s Cin City Steak and Seafood is located at 6000 OH-63 in Lebanon. For more information, please call 513.934.7070 or visit

Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at

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Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at

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