Seafood Brunch Buffet at ilani Resort & Casino
With striking views, and table after table of delicious options, writer Elizabeth Rose recounts the Ilani Casino Seafood Buffet from the Line & Lure Kitchen and Tap in Washington. It’s a place Rose says is a great foodie find north of Portland.
The Land of the Cowlitz Known for farms, rolling hills, and forests, the area all around Ridgefield, Washington was once the land of the Cowlitz people. The aboriginal territory encompasses 2.4 million acres. The towns of Kelso, Olequa, and Toledo, Washington are built on original Cowlitz village sites. As you drive to the area, you’ll be taken with the vistas of snow-capped mountains including Mt. St. Helens.
Look down when you walk into the stunning Ilani casino complex. A beautiful map on the floor illustrates the area’s rivers and the lands of the early Cowlitz people. The word ilani means “sing” to the Cowlitz Tribe, and it is stressed that songs are a way of handing down the culture.
The décor, filled with local symbolism, continues through the casino area with art-glass fish swimming just below the ceiling. This is a region known for rushing rivers and the Pacific Ocean rich with seafood. And so it makes sense that there will be a restaurant featuring that seafood.
Ilani Casino Seafood Buffet: Line and Lure’s Offerings Line & Lure Seafood Kitchen and Tap features Pacific Northwest seafood with craft cocktails and local brews. It is a vibrant, casual spot to gather for cocktails and a relaxing meal. The restaurant offers indoor dining, a private dining area, and an outdoor dining patio, with a fire pit. They feature regional dishes, local beers and wines, signature cocktails and a fun, festive seafood boil.
When the restaurant first opened, we were introduced to the signature seafood boil by Executive Chef Ryan Ziegler, a local graduate of the Western Culinary Institute Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Program. He has worked in the restaurant industry for more than 15 years and has been an executive chef for more than a decade.
Boils are served in a large metal bowl with corn on the cob, roasted potatoes, Andouille sausage, cornbread, and honey-cayenne butter. Diners have the choice of a lobster boil, shrimp and clam boil, or crab boil. It’s worth a trip to Ilani just to try that.
Ilani Casino Seafood Buffet: Sunday Brunch On our most recent visit to Line & Lure, we wanted to find out more about their Sunday Brunch Seafood Buffet. Crab season had just opened on the coast and we were looking forward to some fresh crab and some hearty brunch options suitable for the chilly northwest weather we were experiencing.
We were seated not far from the floor-to-ceiling windows and that view of the rolling countryside and Mt. St. Helens. And in front of the windows, piled high, were iced crab legs. We looked closer and found huge shrimp, sauces, oysters on the half shell, crabmeat sandwiches, and more. And that was just the seafood table.
As we investigated the various stations around the room, we found one for salad including Caprese salad, fruit, and Caesar salad. On the other wall was a carving station with roast beef and an amazing steelhead Wellington. In a corner was an enticing dessert station, and those hearty hot brunch options we were looking forward to were in the middle of the dining area.
Options included eggs Benedict, crab mac and cheese, roasted potatoes with peppers, biscuits and gravy, and a mind-boggling array of even more dishes. The difficult thing about such an attractive buffet is that, although we wanted to try everything, it just isn’t possible. The setting was relaxing, the Bloody Mary was perfect, but we were forced to make difficult choices. The service was attentive and our server suggested the steelhead Wellington, his favorite.
So after salads, a small plate of that huge shrimp, and a taste of the roast beef being carved next to an interactive omelet station, I savored the pink steelhead Wellington baked in a flaky crust accompanied by the roasted potatoes. Our server said the steelhead was being added to the dinner menu and I agreed that would be worth returning for.
We visited a bit with Executive Chef Ryan Ziegler as I eyed the dessert table. He shared that they have a fantastic in-house pastry chef. I opted for the little square carrot cake and noticed the beautiful macarons that the chef said were peanut butter and jelly flavor. My dining companion decided the fresh fruit and berries would be the best option for dessert to balance out all the delicious seafood and filling sides.
By then it was about 2pm and the seafood buffet ends at 3pm. I took note that the servers were still bringing out freshly cooked items and didn’t allow for things to run low. Latecomers would have the same selection we did, and in a buffet, that is very important.