07 Oct The Pines Steakhouse at San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino
In the mood for steak and some slot machines but don’t want to go all the way to Vegas? Head to San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in San Bernardino County, an hour and a half east of Los Angeles. That’s what I did with some friends when I was invited out to The Pines Steakhouse.
It was my first time to San Manuel Casino and I was impressed by the recently renovated casino. But, what is all the more impressive are the 3600 slot machines! That is a lot of slot machines and the sound of spinning slots and the bells are ringing from every corner.
Located on the second floor of the San Manuel Casino, The Pines Steakhouse is tucked away from the excitement and noise of the casino gaming floor. As you exit the casino and enter the restaurant, a sense of calm surrounds you. The large dining room will remind you of any Las Vegas dining room but this dining room is converted to a nightclub later in the evening.
Like most steakhouses, the lighting is not bright. So, when we opened the cocktail menu and it lit up, that was a welcome surprise. Not only did it make it easy to read the drink selections but it was also pretty cool to play with. So, like a little child, I kept opening and closing it to watch the light go on.
I ordered The Stone Age (summer stone fruit, herbs, whiskey) which was a refreshing summer drink but it was the Maximus (Ciroc coconut vodka, house made coconut cream, habanero, chile de arbol, honey, peanut butter, Thai aromatics) that was the most interesting drink. It was balanced between sweet and spicy and the peanut butter was a nice combination with the Thai aromatics. While there was a lot going on in that drink, it was very tasty.
The menu also includes a few tiki cocktails are we ordered the S.S. Minnow (Flor de Cana rum, Luxardo maraschino cherry liqueur, pistachio orgeat, pineapple, lemon) and Vintage Zombie (Zaya 12 year rum, Mount Gay rum, falernum, secret mix, cinnamon, grapefruit, lime, Angostura bitters).
A final cocktail was the Heming Lost His Way (turmeric root-infused Mount Gay rum, Luxardo maraschino cherry liqueur, kaffir lime leaves, lime).
Like any steakhouse, The Pines offers appetizers, salads and sides in addition to the meats so there is a lot of food. Being a party of six was the perfect number as it meant that we could order a lot off the menu and share.
We loaded up on the appetizers. There were too many appealing dishes not to order them all.
Tempura Asparagus (red pepper ad aji amarillo aioli)
Fruits of the Sea Assortment (Shrimp Cocktail, Red King Crab Leg, Fresh Oysters, Champagne Mignonette, Cocktail Sauce)
Calamari Fritto Misto (Freid lemon, artichokes, fennel, smoked tomato sauce, paremsan, rosemary)
When in a steakhouse, you must order steak. We opted for two steak choices to share as a group.
Rib Eye (USDA Prime Bone-in, 20oz)
New York Pave (USDA Prime 21 Day Dry Aged 6oz)
The menu also offers other meat, fish and pasta options should you not want steak.
Rack of Lamb
Squid Ink Spaghetti alla Chitarra (roasted golden tomatoes, squid, shrimp, garlic, chile de arbol, fennel pollen)
A visit to a steakhouse isn’t complete without ordered sides. Even though the meat dishes come with vegetables and a choice of rice pilaf or baked potato, we had to add a few more to the table.
Jumbo Shrimp Scampi
Creamed Corn (garlic, thyme, jalapeno)
Braised Short Rib Mac n’ Cheese (prime short rib braised in red wine)
As if we weren’t full enough, we still had to have dessert and chose three of the options. The Summer Semifreddo duo was refreshing but I especially liked the Butterscotch Pudding.
Summer Semifreddo Duo (lavender, lemon verbena, fruit compote)
Tahitian Vanilla Creme Crulee (Tahitian vanilla custard, fresh berries, whipped cream)
Butterscotch Pudding & Semifreddo Duo (pudding with dark chocolate soil, smoked vanilla beacn semifreddo)
If you are looking for a dining adventure in the Inland Empire, The Pines Steakhouse is your answer. And, before you hit the road back to Los Angeles, throw a few dollars into one of the many slot machines and see if you have any luck!