Walking through Foxwoods one day, I stumbled upon what looked like one of the best gastronomical deals in either of our neighborhood casinos: Tacos at the Scorpion Bar, $15, all you can eat. So I blocked off a Wednesday on my calendar, mowed my lawn that afternoon to work up an appetite, and arrived at the bar that evening painted for war. Forty-five minutes and six tacos later, I went home with a distaste in my mouth for the Scorpion Bar’s rules and regulations curtailing the pace at which hearty eaters like me can shovel it down.
The Scorpion Bar will serve you only two tacos to start, then two more, and then only one at a time each time you clean your plate. This means that someone like me, the sort of customer likely to hunt for AYCE meals, will spend more time waiting for tacos than actually eating tacos. It’s an obvious and odious policy designed to stall and discourage the customer and to increase his cost per taco.
It’s too bad, because the tacos themselves are good. Not that you’d confuse them with the beauties from a roadside taco truck in San Antonio, but they are fresh and flavorful, a touch messy, and fun to eat—a true Can’t Miss Dish when you’re really hungry and on a budget, which is why I wish the Scorpion Bar bureaucrats would get out of the way and let me at ‘em.
I opened with a pair of pulled pork tacos, double-wrapped in warm, pillowy soft tortillas with a barely spicy and faintly sweet ancho mayo slathered between. Mildly smoky, the tender pork dribbled juice down to my knuckles as I inhaled each bite. Shredded lettuce and chopped tomato cooled what little heat the tacos contained, so I doused the pork with the house habanero sauce. All better.
In Round Two, I took on the fish tacos. Handsome, blonde-dusted sticks of haddock flaked apart easily and teamed with melted cheese, lettuce, and tomato to produce flavors of guilty pleasure. Like the other varieties, these too were double-wrapped and dressed with the addictive ancho mayo, which with the haddock reminded me of the deadly addiction-forming power of my favorite fast-food fish sandwiches.
Pulling myself away, I ordered a steak taco for my next round. I tried for two, but the bartender dutifully and apologetically enforced the one-at-a-time rule. Sticklers.
While I waited, I admired the décor of the Scorpion Bar. There is a lot to see in its 5,000 square feet, and not just the curvaceous bartenders in denim short shorts and shiny silver belt buckles. Skulls and skeletons, crosses and golden bulls, driftwood and dead trees, giant mirrors, and illuminated liquor bottles all contribute to what the nightclub describes as a “dark and sinister setting,” a Day of the Dead theme, and a venue that is part Mexican tequila cantina and part “rock bar attitude.” And since I now had to wait between every single taco, I had time to look around.
My steak taco snapped me back to attention. Heavily marinated, insanely tender and juicy, the steak melted in my mouth and stoked my appetite so much that I felt hungrier than when I’d arrived. The marinade bestowed a peppery sweetness that called to mind a bourbon-black pepper-juniper berry concoction I fell in love with this winter at a shoreline restaurant. Whatever the recipe, I found myself sucking the flavor, vampire-like, out of every last morsel of beef. I decided not to bother with the chicken tacos and ordered another with steak—and waited patiently for the kitchen to deliver it.
After my sixth taco, I knew I could eat at least three more—AT LEAST—but I’d grown impatient with the stalling. I finished my $3 Pepsi—this price is obscene and a disgrace, by the way, so don’t make the same mistake—paid my bill and left.
The Scorpion Bar’s tacos are a Can’t Miss Dish, especially the steak tacos, if you have the time to deal with the nickel-and-dime rules or if you’re happy paying $15 for just four or five. But for an all-you-can-eat experience that is truly all-you-can-eat, take your money elsewhere. Hopefully, the Scorpion Bar will enact more reasonable limits, maybe four at a time, or better yet, trust their customers to know when to say when. It’s not like tacos are tequila.