If it’s one thing American casino resorts have down to a fine art, it’s their ability to reel in top-notch restaurants – invariably headlined by a celebrity chef – and shoehorn them into the glittering line-up of gaming machines and floor shows.
For Marcus Samuelsson’s eponymous new restaurant in Maryland, the New York-based studio Parts and Labor Design have carved out a vast 5,700 sqft space on the ground floor of the newly minted Smith group-designed MGM National Harbor.
The décor is a modern mix – American craft overlaid with African-American influences by way of customised tribal wall tapestries, wooden spindles, and antique saws and drills. At the rear of the restaurant, French Colonial sliding doors lead into a supper club styled after Harlem jazz clubs from the Prohibition era.
In the kitchen, Samuelsson channels classic American flavours based on local Maryland ingredients. There are cornbread served with honey butter and tomato jam, crab dip gratin infused with lemongrass and ginger, and jerk chicken with black eyed peas, all washed down with an imaginative drinks list that’s powered by Catoctin Creek Roundstone rye and cardomon-infused Casa Noble Silver tequila.
And if the Black Jack table doesn’t tempt as a post-prandial diversion, then, the architectural excess of Washington D.C. is just, literally, minutes away across the state border.