While some holidays require special attention to certain traditional foods such as turkey for Thanksgiving or prime rib for New Year's Eve, Easter is the one holiday we can really let our imaginations run wild at the dinner table.
Baked ham, traditional on some tables, might just as easily be replaced by a leg of lamb on the Greek table or kielbasa on a Polish table. An Italian table may feature a pasta course first, such as homemade gnocchi and gravy, no matter what the main course happens to be.
Better yet is the chance to partake of a little bit of everything the springtime buffet or brunch has to offer, combining the best of ethnic cooking, the best dishes of breakfast and lunch, and, of course, a few things we would never think of taking the time to make at home.
The abundance of the Easter table can be all things to all diners, even permitting us to choose our mealtime, be it breakfast, brunch, buffet or a la carte.
Nero's Tuscan Steakhouse, Caesars, 2100 Pacific Ave., Atlantic City, 877-346-4642. Brunch served 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Available in addition to guest favorites: hand-carved sundried-tomato-and-feta-stuffed leg of lamb and honey-glazed ham; grilled asparagus with roasted lemon vinaigrette; bocconcini with chilies, garlic and extra virgin olive oil; roasted beets with goat cheese and orange vinaigrette. Entrees include roasted halibut with lobster potato pancakes and sauce Americana, braised short ribs with black pepper pappardelle and Stroganoff sauce and hand-made sweet potato perogies. Desserts: Chef Deb's seasonal desserts. $54 per person plus tax and gratuity.
The Buffet, Golden Nugget, Huron & Brigantine Blvd., Atlantic City, 800-777-8477. Easter champagne brunch served 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Center station includes Alaskan crab legs with drawn butter. Enjoy omelets made to order. Carving station includes baked Virginia ham and Dijon-crusted N.Y. strip loin. Breakfast includes Denver scrambled eggs, grilled turkey sausage, home fries, applewood-smoked bacon, pork sausage, homemade biscuits, Southern sausage gravy, corned beef hash, eggs Benedict, waffles, brioche French toast, pancakes and cheese blintzes. Hot entrees include braised beef short ribs, fried chicken, shrimp mac and cheese, sliced leg of lamb, salmon with champagne chive sauce, Asian pork ribs, chicken and broccoli and fried rice. Desserts include chocolate-dipped strawberries and mini French pastries. $23 per person plus tax and gratuity.
Central Michel Richard, 500 Boardwalk, Revel, Atlantic City, 609-225-9864. Brunch served 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner served 5:30 to 10 p.m. Easter brunch additions include almond Belgian waffle with roasted peaches and yogurt ice cream ($16), along with a ruby red grapefruit curd tart ($8). Other featured items include create-your-own omelet, hangar steak served with two eggs, lobster eggs Benedict, creme brulee French toast, Michel Cordon Bleu smoked salmon rillettes, burger selections and sandwiches. Dinner additions include eggplant gazpacho, goat cheese croutons, zucchini caponata ($12); seared salmon, spring pea risotto, red wine morel sauce ($24); rack of lamb, basil crust, lamb jus ($36). Pastries and desserts: Easter egg celebration cake for two ($15), lemon "eggs" ($9) and cherry clafouti ($19).
Knife & Fork Inn, 3600 Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City, 609-344-1133. Serving full menu with specials 2 to 8 p.m. Serving seared scallop appetizer with caramelized ramps and a lemon saffron beurre blanc ($14); poached salmon with leeks and spring peas ($28); Colorado lamb chops, balsamic fig jam, bacon mashed potatoes and spring vegetables ($36).
Dock's Oyster House, 2405 Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City, 609-345-0092. Serving full menu plus specials from 3 to 8 p.m. Specials include roasted cauliflower and scallop soup with grilled ramps ($10); champagne-poached salmon with leeks and spring peas ($28); and Cornish hen with oyster stuffing and roasted potatoes ($27).
Roberto's Ristorante Italian Buffet, Trump Plaza, The Boardwalk at Mississippi, Atlantic City, 609-441-6000. Easter brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mimosas and breakfast favorites include an omelette station with eggs made to order, prime rib and ham carving station. Selection of entrees and elaborate dessert display. $24.95 per person plus tax and gratuity.
Sultan's Feast, Trump Taj Mahal, 1000 Boardwalk at Virginia Avenue, Atlantic City, 609-449-1000. Easter brunch served 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. All-you-can-eat selections include made-to-order omelets, carving stations, pasta and decadent desserts - $19.95 per person plus tax and gratuity. Easter dinner buffet served 1 to 8 p.m. features carved turkey, honey-glazed ham and lamb, steaks grilled to order, shrimp, crab legs, salmon, international favorites and grand Easter dessert buffet. $27 per person plus tax and gratuity.
Phillips Seafood, The Pier at Caesars, 1 Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic City, 609-348-2273. Appetizer and entree specials available all day: blackened scallops ceviche salad ($10); grilled lamb chops with a minted port demi served with sweet potato and escarole hash ($28); Atlantic salmon with an avocado cream ($26). Brunch items available 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also enjoy crab Benedict ($15); brioche French toast ($10); steak and eggs ($19); smoked Scottish salmon platter ($16); shrimp, crab and asparagus omelet ($12); egg and pepper hoagie ($10).
Patsy's Trattoria, Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, Boston Avenue & The Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 609-340-7585. Open 5:30to 10 p.m. Easter dinner special features pan-roasted pine nut and basil-crusted rack of lamb with crimini mushroom ravioli and Marsala wine sauce ($32).
The Coffee Shop, Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, Boston Avenue & The Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 609-340-7240. Easter dinner special features assorted greens with sliced peaches, toasted almonds and goat cheese with Tuscan vinaigrette dressing, roasted garlic and rosemary crusted leg of lamb with minted pan gravy, custard potatoes with chives and red bell peppers, sauteed spring vegetables and sherry trifle ($15.95).
Cornucopia Buffet, Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, Boston Avenue & The Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 609-347-7111. Noon to 8 p.m. Easter dinner special served along with regular extensive menu. Cream of wild mushroom soup, carved roasted lemon and rosemary-crusted leg of lamb with minted pan gravy. $9.99 cash or credit (regularly $18.50).
Harry's Oyster Bar & Seafood, Bally's Atlantic City, Atlantic City, 609-431-0092. Serving full menu plus four-course prix-fixe Easter menu for $25 per person excluding beverages, tax and gratuity. Served noon to 9 p.m. Choice of soup: New England clam chowder, Manhattan clam chowder or crab and corn chowder. Choice of salad: Harry's house salad, N.J. tomato salad or classic Caesar salad. Choice of entree: poached salmon with spring pea beurre blanc, jumbo lump crab cake, pineapple-glazed ham or grilled six-ounce filet. Dessert: Key lime pie.
Fiesta Buffet, Tropicana, 2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 1-800-345-8767. Served noon to 8 p.m. All-you-can-eat surf and turf buffet featuring prime rib, N.Y. strip steaks, snow crab clusters, baked ham and roast turkey. $27.95 per person plus tax and gratuity.
Seaside Cafe, Tropicana, 2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 800-345-8767. Served from noon to 10 p.m. Choice of soup or salad, maple cranberry-glazed ham, roasted potatoes, green bean Almondine. Choice of apple pie or chocolate fudge cake. $19.95 per person plus tax and gratuity.
Fin, Tropicana, 2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 800-345-8767. Served 5 to 10 p.m. First-course choice of Fin's house salad or Caesar salad. Second course includes herb-crusted rack of lamb with spring vegetable medley and roasted fingerling potatoes, Merlot demi. Third course features chocolate turtle cheesecake. $58 per person plus tax and gratuity.
Il Verdi, Tropicana, Brighton and the Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 609-340-4000. Serving 5 to 10 p.m. First course features insalata Caprese. Second course features herb-crusted rack of lamb, broccoli rabe, roasted fingerling potatoes, barolo demi. Third course features chocolate turtle cheesecake. $58 per person plus tax and gratuity.
Arturo's, Bally's, 1900 Pacific Ave., Atlantic City, 877-346-4642. Four-course Easter dinner to include Caesar salad, gnocchi alla Caprese, lamb chops Scottadito, Italian pound cake with raisins and zabaglione sauce. $39 per person plus tax and gratutity.
6ix: A Bistro, Bally's, 1900 Pacific Ave., Atlantic City, 877-346-4642. Three-course Easter dinner includes choice of tomato bisque soup or baby spinach salad, leg of lamb with grilled prosciutto-wrapped asparagus or bourbon and brown sugar-glazed ham with three cheese macaroni cheese. Choice of dessert. $32.99 per person plus tax and gratuity.
Borgata Buffet, 1 Borgata Way, Borgata, 609-317-1000. The Borgata Buffet will host brunch for $27.95 per person 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner for $30.95 per person 4 to 9 p.m. on Easter Sunday. Menus were not available at press time.
Cafe Roma, Caesars, 2100 Pacific Ave., Atlantic City, 609-348-4411. Easter Feast features salad of spring field greens, entree choice of pork tenderloin or chicken cordon bleu, dessert of coconut custard ($24.95).
Crossroads at the House of Blues Restaurant, Showboat, 801 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 609-343-4088. Serving 4to 9 p.m. Traditional lamb dinner features soup of the day, house salad and boneless roasted leg of lamb. Key lime pie, molten chocolate cake or bourbon bread pudding. $39 per person, tax and gratuity not included.
French Quarter Buffet, Showboat, 801 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 609-343-4000. Brunch buffet 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eggs Benedict, banana nut pancakes, cinnamon swirl French toast, Monte Cristo, applewood-smoked bacon, turkey sausage, omelets and eggs made to order. Fresh donuts, Danish and cinnamon buns. $32.99 per person plus tax and gratuity.