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The idea for this blog is to blog about everything I think about food and food culture. I'll tell you what I like to eat, where I like to eat it and if I thought it was good or if I thought it was crap. My thoughts about food could go anywhere. Hey if you don't like it go blog at

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Paula Deen Buffet at Horseshoe Hotel and Casino Southern Indiana

You might have read my previous post hating on the food choices at the Horseshoe Casino.  What I was not expecting was for the hotel management to actually correct the problem.  Gone is the sub/pizza shop and the mediocre hometown buffet and here is the new style buffet in the model of the Paula Deen brand.  I'm well aware of how ubiquitous her and other Food Network personalities are these days so I kind of wanted to automatically assume the buffet would be pretty overrated and not worth trying.  I'm glad that the people I was with convinced me otherwise.

Okay, let's get the gripes out of the way up front.  The cost of this buffet, like everything at the Horseshoe, is not at all cheap at $20(including drink) per person for dinner on a weeknight.  On the weekends it goes up to 28 for their seafood buffet which from what I saw means snow crab legs.  Luckily it was Thursday so we got the cheaper price, but upon paying I was told that they were "having trouble with the gift cards" like the one I was trying to pay with.  This smelled a little fishy to me since it was a plain Visa gift card and I've never got turned down for using it anywhere where they otherwise took Visa.  After finally begrudgingly paying for my dinner in cash I sat down to eat every penny's worth of food I could possibly muster.   AKA Don't judge me for the tremendous display of gluttony of which you are about to read.

To set the scene the buffet basically consisted of 4 sections.  First was  a usual salad bar with veggies and other salads such as pasta and potato salad.  Next was the hot bar that at first looked to be more than 50 items in size until you realize that some of the items where duplicates on both bars probably so they don't have to restock as often. The seafood and dessert stations followed that.  There were still a lot of items on each section, but to keep people from TLDRing this I'll just try to hit the high and low points.

Coleslaw in bowl on left, pot pie at top of plate, meatloaf on the right.
As you might expect it was a southern down home style menu.  This was good as it made sense with the Paula Deen brand and made a fairly cohesive meal (no crappy pizza or tacos here).  The things I most remember from the meal were the shrimp and grits, the grilled oysters, the chicken pot pie, and the coleslaw.  The coleslaw was the perfect mix of creamy and tangy, and it was shredded fine enough to not have huge chunks.  I ate a whole bowl and probably could have had more.  Secondly, I was immediately drawn to the grilled oysters and shrimp and grits because they are things I like and you don't see them on a lot of menus.  I was happy I tried them both.  The grits were the right consistency, well seasoned and perfect compliment to the shrimp.  The grilled oysters were large in size and were drizzled with a delicious garlic butter sauce.  The chicken pot pie had big pieces of juicy white meat chicken with all the typical trimmings one usually associates with the dish.  However, instead of being covered with a crust  each piece was served under one of Paula's hoecakes.  No that is not a typo.  It is what they are actually called.  If I was to describe it I would have to say it's more similar to a cheddar biscuit than to G-Ride's best working girl on the strip.  Other than the name the biscuit was somewhat forgettable.

Oysters on the right, above that shrimp and grits and sweet potatoes.
Everything else I tasted in regards to the hot entrees was either middle of the road like all the bbq items, mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, fried shrimp or awful like the cheeseburger meatloaf (Why the heck did I even put it on my plate) and the fried pickles.  However, I thought the bbq wings and sausage were bright spots.  Both were juicy, fresh and had a lot of flavor.  They both would have benefited from a little extra sauce however.

Gooey butter cake on the left, bread pudding on right.
The dessert selection was absolutely incredible.  By the time I got done tasting everything I wanted to try I couldn't believe I even had the room to put down dessert, but hey I was in for $20 remember.  Despite all the choices of carrot cake, red velvet cake, cupcakes, banana pudding, ice cream etc. etc. etc. I decided to go with a piece of Paula's signature "Gooey Butter Cake" and bread pudding with a brandy sauce.  The butter cake seemed to me to be a sugar cream pie in bar form.  It was delicious.  The bread pudding was even better.  It was very sweet without being over the top and the brandy sauce was a nice compliment although it very obviously had booze in it that you could both taste and smell.  So now that we have finished dessert and they'll have to roll us out of restaurant let's rate this bad boy.

Taste: 6.8/10 Now usually in my reviews I only have one dish and rate it accordingly.  However, in this situation I tried so many items just picking out one wouldn't be fair.  Instead this rating speaks to the quality/taste of the food on the buffet overall. There were some very very good things on the buffet, but there also were a lot of mediocre items.  Also, keep in mind I haven't been to any other hotel/casino buffets so I can't rate the food on a comparison basis.  I'm just going on what my palate tells me.

Value: 6/10  diming you at every chance they get.  A bowl of cereal on the room service menu was I believe between 5 and 9 dollars.  A can of Coke and a hot dog was 5 bucks.  Since the Horseshoe is kind of in an isolated location the buffet was easily your best bet for a hot meal with some really tasty food.  No way I would pay that price if it was a standalone restaurant.


Seth said...

I'm still full from this meal ;)

Garry Brei said...

It's alright that you ate for the whole value of the buffet instead of eating only a few. Because of that, it sparked an idea in my head: maybe I'll take my friends on a food trip around Beverly Hills and other cities, since the repair for my auto will be done come Friday and I'm sure I'll be starving then.

Anonymous said...

I am so disappionted. First of all the price is horrible and the website states thats its $16 a person for adults, not even close. Try $28 plus your drinks and tax. It was $165 for our family of 6 and thats with 2 kids prices. No extras. The food was swimming in grease and cold . Just yuk! The prime rib and steak were good, but nothing to brag about. The desert bar was filled with mostly out of the box frozen desserts you can get at Walmart. Really less than you get at Golden Corral and there we pay around $50. I can't beiive this is what a name like Paula Dean presents to the public she should be ashamed and you shouldn't waste your money!!

Brent said...


Obviously it's been over a year since I was there last so I suppose it could have changed, but I have to say our experiences were quite different. I thought it seemed like a lot of things seemed made in house especially for it being a buffet. On a secondary note buffets in casinos are generally expensive. The Vegas 2 buck steak buffet is a relic of times past. Also, not sure why you were at a casino with children. Not really a lot else to do there besides gamble.

Anonymous said...

It's June 16th 2012, and I just finished my meal at the Paula Deen Buffet. I have to say there are some good things to eat. The mashed potatoes were very good, as was the corn casserole. The prime rib was over cooked to the point that it tasted like ham... But the au jus was good. It's way over priced for the quality of the food. $59 for two people is outrageous... You would expect more from a personality like Paula. I've been to several of Emeril's restaurants and was blown away. I would give this a 2 out of 5 stars. The mediocre food and high price.

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