Last week, Agent Education Superfest returned to L’Auberge Casino in Baton Rouge for a two-day event. I know, it’s a rough life having to attend WORK events at a brand new casino, but we tend to manage somehow! So today’s Baton Rouge Restaurant spotlight is on The Stadium Sports Bar & Grill, where my fellow agents and I had lunch on the second day of the event. This is not the first time I have eaten there so I’ll do my best to review all aspects of my previous visits as well.
In true casino fashion, everything is done more extravagantly than necessary for the wow factor. There are dozens of generic sports bars in Baton Rouge, but none compare to the decor, atmosphere and really the layout of The Stadium. Catering to dining patrons and casino-goers alike requires a big bar, and this place delivers with a bar that runs just about the length of the giant room and includes two 90-degree turns to seat even more people. Even on concert night, the bar was easily accessible and waiting to be served was not an issue. TVs in all directions make sure you do not miss any action, and open access to the concourse outside the restaurant is a nice touch. For a casino sports bar feel, this place has nailed the atmosphere perfectly.
On the several occasions that I have been here, I have sampled many menu items and really none of them disappointed.
Appetizers and Drinks:
Boudin Balls – These things were out of this world. Stuffed not only with boudin but also a savory melted pepper jack cheese, these things blew us away and the cajun “tiger sauce” was the perfect complement for dipping. In fact, when we ran out of boudin we started dipping our fries in it as well, it was THAT good.
Nacho Extravaganza – “Melted cheddar, stadium cheese sauce, grilled red onions, sweet peppers, jalapeños, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo over crispy tortilla chips.” There’s really no way this could go wrong if you like nachos. While I don’t see it on the menu anymore, we ordered ours with BBQ pulled pork as an add-on and it took nachos to a new level. Be sure to have some friends with you if you order this one – this plate is enormous.
Crispy Fried Pickles – A southern classic, the batter here was extremely light and seasoned with just enough to not get in the way of the pickle flavor. Cut into little circular chips and served with a chipotle ranch dipping sauce, I thought the sauce was just OK in my opinion. I preferred to dip it in the tiger sauce from the boudin balls!
Drinks – They have your standard Draft Beers, and a list of their “Beers Worth Knowing” featuring Parish Canebrake, Tin Roof and Fat Tire. They also have plenty of Red and White wine selections. I sampled the Cajun Spice rum, and as a fan of spiced rums like Sailor Jerry, Bayou, Appleton’s and even Pusser’s, I was not as impressed with Cajun Spice as many others have been. However I was told by the waiter they did not have either Bayou Rum (made in Lacasseine, LA) or Sailor Jerry which has quickly become a popular spiced rum nationally. Not a deal breaker, but for a casino restaurant I was perplexed to not see these there.
Entrees and Service:
Bacon Burger – I ordered this on recommendation from the bartender when I asked for the best burger here – he was not kidding. This thing is huge, cooked to order and seasoned very well. It can get a little messy with the dripping juices if you order it medium-rare like I do, and the hickory sauce on top of the bacon can get out of hand, but I was highly satisfied. And for bacon lovers they were generous with the thick-cut bacon. In short, a little messy but the taste and value were well worth it.
Club Sandwich – I went healthy this last go-around (of course the fries didn’t really help the cause), and the best thing I can say here is VALUE. For $11.25, I got what amounted to two full lunch meals – one today and one for tomorrow. The sandwich comes cut into 4 quarters, but it is piled high with smoked turkey, ham, applewood smoked bacon (there’s the bacon again), avocado, lettuce, tomato, on sourdough bread. The ingredients tasted fresh and the sandwich held together well after removing the toothpick. I would definitely suggest this sandwich as a healthier choice to the burger along with some steamed vegetables.
Fries – There really is nothing special about the fries that make them stand out from your average fry at a restaurant. They are seasoned with salt, pepper and a little extra spice that eludes me at the moment. The presentation in a metal basket with checkered-pattern paper is pretty cool though, and keeps them from sliding all over your plate.
Service – This has been a mixed bag each time I have dined here. It has seemed that the more crowded they are, the faster the food and drinks are prepared and delivered, i.e. for concerts or weekend evenings. On these nights I have been pleased with the service.
However, at the two lunch occasions I have dined, the service was significantly slower than expected – our drinks for our table of 6 took 20 minutes to arrive, and the appetizers arrived literally 2 minutes before the entrees, 45 minutes after ordering. The restaurant was nowhere near capacity, maybe 20 patrons total, and for a group of professionals with just a one-hour break before returning to the seminar we were less than pleased that we had to quickly finish our food.
I enjoy coming here. I think for the laid back casino crowd this is a perfect place to get bar/pub food with a touch more care and creativity. With other selections like salads and pizzas there really is something for everyone, and again the atmosphere and decor are terrific. My only suggestion would be just a little more attention to service timing around lunch time for the business crowd. The prices may be slightly higher than your average sports bar, but The Stadium is not your average sports bar in Baton Rouge. The portions are generous, so if you’re like me and prefer to take some home for a later meal, this is the place to be.
If you’re looking for a reason to go to the casino for a casual night out and not blow your money on slot machines, hit up The Stadium Bar & Grill.