Complex – no, simple – yes, , flavorful – yes, created using Italian traditions with local ingredients and minimal steps. That is how the cuisine at Ballo Italian Restaurant in Mohegan Sun Casino is masterfully created.
Ballo Italian, a John J. Tunney III creation, reflects his love of authentic Italian cuisine, as well as the experience of fine dining. The inspiration for Ballo came from San Galgano; a 12th century Gothic abbey located within the hills of Tuscany.
“San Galgano represents all that is spectacular about Italy – the history, the passion, the fortitude of the country. What better place to worship the food of Italy than in a place that replicates their mastery?” says Tunney.
Not only recognized for its amazing Italian Cuisine; Ballo is known for its ambiance and exceptional service and was voted #1 Open Table for Best Italian, Best Service, Best Ambiance, and Most Booked. Ballo’s signature cocktail, Limonata, was voted the Connecticut State Cocktail on Buzzfeed.
Ballo’s distinguished menu of authentic Italian favorites using fresh, local ingredients and house made pasta, made fresh every day, are offered at an excellent price point. Executive Chef Shaun Golan takes extreme pride in every dish that leaves his kitchen and some of these include as Assaggi, house made pastas, gnocchi, pizzas, and a fabulous brussel sprouts signature side dish. Chef Golan, a certified Pizzaiola, was certified by the Italian government as a Neapolitan master pizza chef.
Photo Credit: Ballos Italian
What better way is there to accompany your authentic Italian dishes, but a fine wine from their Italian-only wine list offering 18 wines by the quartino (large 8oz pour). To assist you in choosing the appropriate wine to pair with your dish is the well versed staff. On Sundays, Ballo offers 50% off bottles of wine costing $100 or more.
For large parties looking to have special dinner, Ballo has two separate exquisite private dining enclaves that seat parties up to 16 quite well.
During our visit, we chatted with Executive Chef Golan about how he approaches his selection and execution of the dishes. We agreed that the best way to get a broader view of Ballo’s offerings was for him to provide a sampling of a variety of items on the menu. This is something you may want to try until you find your favorite dish that brings in you over and over again.
As we were enjoying our cocktails, the signature Limonata: a light and refreshing blend of Thatcher’s organic vodka, San Pellegrino, and frozen blood orange sphere and the smooth Blood Orange Cosmopolitan: Lotus Italian vodka, Solerno blood orange liqueur, cranberry juice, and fresh squeezed lime juice; we were treated to one of the specials for the evening; a flavorful fresh buffalo mozzarello cheese with tomato and fresh basil all drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
From the antipasti section of the menu, we sampled two delicious items, the Eggplant Parmigiana and Arancini. The Eggplant Parmigiana is a beautifully pan fried eggplant that has a nice light crust and is accompanied by house pomodoro, mozzarella, and basil. The Arancini was a crispy Risotto fritter stuffed with short rib with a gorgonzola dolce.
Photo Credit: Ballos Italian
For pasta, we were treated to a simple, but flavorful Tagliatelle: Shrimp scampi, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, lemon, and roasted garlic. Chef Golan added a perfectly cooked scallop to ours. The pasta was fresh and cooked to al dente.
Chef Golan served us with a recent addition to the menu: Skirt Steak: fregola, charred broccolini, butternut squash, and blue cheese. The skirt steak was cooked to a juicy and tender medium rare and paired nicely with toasted fregola and charred broccolini. As a contorni, we had the signature Brussel Sprouts: pan roasted Brussel sprouts served with pancetta and honey. An excellent dish that one definitely needs to have when dining at Ballo. There’s nothing like it anywhere else.
Closing out the sampling we had the house made Cannoli and Zeppoli: light and airy ricotta zeppoli served with an orange zest and Nutella sauce.
Photo Credit: Ballos Italian on Instagram
Located within the Casino of the Earth side of Mohegan Sun, Ballo is an excellent place to enjoy fine food and drink. Whether you are at the casino to enjoy an evening of gambling, a concert, shopping at the stores, or just looking for a place to partake in a fine Italian meal with friends in a relaxed atmosphere, Ballo is the place to go.
Ballo was selected as the exclusive dining establishment of the new Mohegan Sun Earth Tower planned for a Fall of 2016 opening.
The Ballo kitchen is opened Monday through Thursday from 4:00 to 10:00 pm, Friday from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm with a late night menu from 11:00 to 12:00 midnight (the bar stays open till 1:00 am); Saturday from noon to 12:00 am with late night menu from midnight to 1:00 am (the bar stays open till 2:00 am); and Sunday from noon to 10:00 pm.