From the bustling streets of Times Square to the equally vivacious streets of Hong Kong, people walk around with smiles after enjoying the japanese barbecue cuisine at Gyu-Kaku. The restaurant has more than 700 locations worldwide, each rooted in the belief that some of the strongest bonds between friends are forged at the dinner table. Groups dine on a huge variety of Japanese dishes, from popular meat and veggie dishes such as Harami Skirt Steak, Kalbi Short Rib, and Bacon-wrapped Asparagus - to unique Japanese-American appetizers such as the Spicy Tuna Volcano, Wasabi Crunchy Shrimp, and Ahi Tuna Poke. The real excitement takes place around individual grills, however, where diners can barbecue their own slabs of filet mignon, ahi tuna, or chicken with chili mayo until they are ideally tender or encircled by on-duty firemen.
Ease into dinner with the smoked-salmon quesadillas ($10) or a jumbo-shrimp cocktail served with spicy diablo sauce ($14). Signature steaks include everything from 12-ounce marbled rib eye ($29) to the lighter 10-ounce filets ($29) for those who accidentally already ate. There are also fish, chicken, lamb, and vegetarian options (from $16). Supplement your protein-packed dishes with sides, including Porterhouse’s infamous fries ($9), broccoli ($6), mushrooms ($9), or grilled onions ($5); or have another steak laid neatly atop your first. You’ll also find a well-edited list of affordable wines priced by the glass and bottle.
The meat connoisseurs at Libra Brazilian Steakhouse know showmanship is one of the primary draws of churrascaria-style dining. In this spirit, the chefs cook succulent hunks of meat on giant skewers over an open flame. And once it’s ready, their servers distribute the tender, freshly flamed meat throughout the dining area, pausing tableside to carve off slices directly onto plates.
Presentation aside, Libra Brazilian Steakhouse backs up its bravado with quality meats. The chefs use only 100% Black Angus beef and refuse to accept any meat containing hormones or antibiotics. Additionally, the culinary artists cook more than 30 hot, made-from-scratch sides as well as housemade desserts. And to top it off, the steak-house staff curates and recommends numerous international wines.
Saddle Ranch Chop House allows diners to put together a feast from a menu loaded with steaks and salads, then rock and ride with the restaurant's "rock meets Western" theme. Chow on a sizzling steak, such as the charbroiled, marble-cut rib eye ($24.99), or chomp into the pineapple teriyaki burger, served with a wasabi cream sauce ($11.99). To wash down a full order of barbecue baby back ribs ($21.99), take part in the Texas Tea Party, a stiff concoction of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, sweet-and-sour mix, and Coke. Saddle Ranch Chop House's seasoned chefs also cook breakfast and brunchy grub, such as cinnamon swirl Texas toast ($9.99) and buttermilk pancakes topped with fresh fruit ($8.99), until 3 p.m.
There are more than 70,000 songs on the karaoke machine at Michael's Bar & Grill, so it goes without saying that the restaurant embraces variety. A glance at the menu cements this fact: Cajun specialties share page space with pub appetizers, burgers, and an Italian addendum, full of hand-tossed pizzas and pasta dishes. It's an eclectic list with diverse ingredients—alligator and crawfish among them—but each option is served until midnight every day.
True Louisiana culinary classics include etouffee, blackened catfish, and jambalaya, as well as sweet, sugar-topped beignets. Southern influence is seen in the sandwich selection as well, where tuna melts can be had alongside po' boys. Luckily, nightly entertainment gives guests an excuse to sample the distinctive eats while filling their eyes and ears—there's stand-up comedy on Tuesdays, trivia on Wednesdays, and karaoke on most other nights. The staff also makes a point to broadcast pro football games on their big-screen TVs, rather than just yelling the score every five minutes.
A red carpet leads the way past a cluster of spotlights, and two large lacquered doors grant access to a low-lit room. Conversation buzzes, layered over the underlying thumping of music that emanates throughout the space. It's the quintessential modern nightclub, but Sunset Room is alive with old-school Hollywood glamour; it's decorated with crystal chandeliers and dark wood, aesthetic touches that are the very antithesis of stale chain restaurants or picnic tables set up in a cave. In the dining room, white tablecloths rest beneath the light of flickering candles, and small plates encourage sharing bites of flatbread and steak sliders. Reserved seating can make guests feel extra special, and live bands and DJs start dance parties on the dance floor. A team of mixologists also arrives on the scene to shake and stir a variety of craft cocktails and drinks at the towering bar.
The elegant mixture of cuisine, libations, and decor that constitutes Sunset Room is the brainchild of Chris Breed and James Ashford. Since 1990, Chris has been improving nightlife in Hollywood, first with the Roxbury Supper Club and now with Sunset. Chris teams up with James, who has a background as an LAPD officer and a real-estate man.