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Tropicana Atlantic City unveils wood-fired grill and chef's counter

31 August 2017

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, located in The Quarter at Tropicana Atlantic City Casino & Resort in New Jersey, announces the addition of a brand new, impressive feature at the popular Cuban restaurant. From throughout the main dining room and from the restaurant's entrance, skilled chefs will be seen in the "open-fuego" kitchen preparing seared meats and seafood, wood-fired vegetables and even grilled fruits for innovative hand-crafted cocktails. Guests will experience a true taste of Old Havana with authentic, flavor-packed dishes to be enjoyed while seated in the dining room, at the bar, or at the grill's 12-person interactive chef's counter. Adding the wood-fueled grill and oven/smoke box was an idea inspired by two-time James Beard Award-winning Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot's years of travel to Cuba, where chefs traditionally prepare dishes a la parrilla, or on a wood-burning grill.

"In my travels to Cuba, I've tasted the most incredible dishes prepared on simple wood-fired grills, producing incomparable flavors and textures. I am thrilled to unveil a gigantic open-fire grill to Cuba Libre's Atlantic City location and to use this elaborate nearly-two ton apparatus to introduce guests to a truly innovative way of cooking classic and contemporary Cuban cuisine," said Chef Pernot. "This elegant work of industrial art and surrounding chef's counter will provide a completely new dining experience for our guests, with enhanced tastes and aromas from quickly seared steaks and seafood, wood-grilled seasonal vegetables and cocktails made with grilled tropical fruits."

Guests at the 12-person chef's counter, seated directly in front of the open-fire grill, will have an up-close-and-personal, interactive dining experience with Senior Executive Chef Kevin Couch and his skilled culinary team, with exclusive tastings of dishes as they are prepared, and a look into the traditional Cuban culture and cuisine that inspired the adoption of this elemental manner of cooking. The luckiest of guests may catch Chef Pernot himself, stoking the fires on his new mega-grill and regaling diners with stories of his culinary adventures in Cuba.

Cuba Libre's menus will feature an expansive list of new wood-fired items prepared on the grill, such as Octopus a la Parrilla, truffle-and-citrus-marinated grilled baby octopus with smoked potato crema, crispy garbanzo beans and Spanish paprika; Vacio Steak Argentino, all-natural Black Angus Argentine-grilled bavette steak, served with Moros y Cristianos and tostones, and Argentinean chimichurri; Ribeye Jibaro, 22 oz. salmuera-rubbed bone-in ribeye steak, with boniato gratin, grilled broccolini and Cuba Libre steak sauce; and the Paloma Ahumada cocktail, made with Pelotón de la Muerte Mezcal, grilled jalapeño honey syrup, St. Elder natural elderflower liqueur, fresh Ruby Red grapefruit juice and club soda.

The massive stainless steel grill spans eight feet in length, with two adjustable grates that are manually cranked up and down by steel wheels to cook dishes at the perfect temperature, plus a plancha (griddle) and an oven/smoke box. Fueled naturally by oak and ash woods, and charcoals made from hardwood and coconut, cooking on the grill creates a unique element of enhanced flavor, and because the heat is so intense, it will sear items quickly and char them to perfection, re-creating flavors found in Cuba.

In the fall, Pernot will introduce two new features: a special nightly tasting menu consisting solely of tapas, entrees and cocktails prepared on the open-fire grill; and a monthly Rotisserie Night, featuring off-the-menu crave-worthy proteins prepared on the grill's rotisserie, like whole loins of beef, pork belly stuffed with a pork loin and a whole small pig.

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