Shula's steakYou don’t have to be a football fan to appreciate the ambiance — or enjoy the cuisine — at Don Shula’s American Steak House at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino. Just make sure you bring along an NFL-sized appetite.

Shula’s is themed after the 1972 Miami Dolphins team that capped the only “Perfect Season” in pro football history, finishing 17-0 with a 14-7 victory over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII. Photos from that season grace the walls of the Chandler restaurant. Even the menus are hand painted on official NFL game balls and signed by Shula himself

On a fall evening that could only be described as perfect football weather, the real winners were my dining companions and me. We were seated at the “coach’s table,” reserved for Shula whenever he’s in town. The dining room is spacious and quiet, and you almost forget that just outside its doors is a 100,000-square-foot casino.

For starters, we went with the flash fried lobster, French onion soup, and barbecued shrimp — considered Shula’s signature appetizer. The flash fried lobster tail was delicious and perfectly prepared. The barbecue shrimp, four large prawns wrapped in bacon with a tangy BBQ sauce, did not disappoint. The soup was equally tasty, with just the right combination of Swiss cheese, caramelized onions and French bread.

Having enjoyed the appetizers, it was now time to tackle the main course. Our selections included the 22-ounce cowboy steak, the Steak Mary Anne, and the surf-and-turf, which included a lobster tail and filet mignon. The entrees come a la carte, so from the sides menu we ordered grilled asparagus, steamed broccoli with Hollandaise sauce, crab mac & cheese and a double-baked potato.

Our steaks were prepared by Chef Colin Ribble just as we asked. The cowboy steak was a pinkish medium rare; the Steak Mary Anne and filet mignon were medium well. Shula's dessertThe lobster tail was sweet and juicy, enough for two people.

We capped the evening with key lime pie, apple cobbler and the chocolate seven-layer cake — all satisfying to our sweet tooths and taste buds.

Shula’s is ideal for dinner before or after a visit to the casino at Wild Horse Pass. It’s also a great location to close a deal with business associates.