Needless to say, Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., brings in the people. After all, it's the second most profitable venue in the Caesar's gambling empire.
Until last week, I had never been to this particular site, which is 20 minutes outside of Chicago. Howeverhaving been to Vegas (several times) and Atlantic City, N.J.I knew what to expect.
Still, the sights and sounds (and, yes, the smellssuch as cigarette smoke) can be a little jarring. As I navigated through the casino area (more than 350,000 square feet), there were all sorts of things to catch the eye, from the Michael Jackson and Judge Judy slot machines to the gamblers themselves, hoping to win enough to retireor at least enough to make that house payment.
Horseshoe, while having some of the standard bells and whistles of casinos, also has its own distinctive aspects, including a cavernous VIP room, an Asian gambling room (which apparently has different rules than the rest of the place) and the performance space The Venue.
The casino also has its fair share of spots meant to satisfy hungry and thirsty individuals. One of those is Foo Noodle Bar ( www.horseshoehammond.com/casinos/horseshoe-hammond/restaurants-dining/foo-noodle-bar-detail.html ), which was pleasantly surprising.
Foo is all-encompassing in one sense, offering Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean items. The shu mai is extremely tastyand an excellent way to start your meal. Also, go for the pork dumplings and the shrimp (although you should be warned that the crustaceans come fully intact, with heads and legs that need to be peeled).
Among the other highlights were the fish (excellent with hoisin sauce) with string beans as well as the Chinese broccoli. The teriyaki chicken was excellent, and was among the best I've ever tried.
Moreover, everything is very reasonably pricedvital in a place where money is all-important. By the way, don't forgo the good-luck candy as you leave; it may come in handy.
However, Foo is far from the only place to go at Horseshoe. Among the other spots is the new Sixth Street Craft Bar ( www.horseshoehammond.com/casinos/horseshoe-hammond/casino-misc/sixth-street-detail.html ), which gives people a place to literally cry in their beer if they're inclined to do so. The place offers dozens of craft beers and alesincluding The Poet, Dragon's Milk and Goose Island Pere Jacquesand has applewood-smoked bacon that you can't stop devouring.
Other eateries include JB's Gourmet Sandwiches, Jack Binion's Steak House, Benny's Pub & Eatery and Uno Express. Oh, and don't forget the expansive Village Square Buffet.