At The Pita Hut, diners look in on an open-air kitchen as creative chef Joseph Matta and a troupe of cooks craft Mediterranean meals with grilled and roasted meats, fresh produce, and handmade sauces. At dinnertime, the restaurant endures a moonlit transformation into Joseph's Table at The Pita Hut, and entrances eyes of evening foragers with a roster of dinner specialties during full-service suppers. Incisors sink into stuffed grape leaves ($10.99) bursting with a medley of lamb and beef tucked in with homemade yogurt. Shrimp adobados ($13.99) satiate tummy grumbles with a conga line of grilled chipotle jumbo shrimp wrapped in bacon as tightly as the nylon-clad legs of an overweight circus bear. On a patio lit by intertwining strands of tiny white lights, drained wine glasses ($3.75) and baklava flakes ($3.49) disappear from tables by the capable hands of a nocturnal wait staff as pungent aromas twirl from snaking hookah arms.
Taste Wine Bar provides oenophiles with a variety of wines in a relaxed atmosphere. Both the bar and shop's menus feature unique listings and change seasonally, much like the shape of the moon, which usually resembles a large maple leaf by the time autumn rolls around. Popular bottles from the shop include the Black shiraz ($24.99) and Arabella chardonnay ($10.99), while many aficionados appreciate the Silver Oak cabernet ($115.99) in pricier stead. At the bar, glasses of house wine (Salmon Creek, $6),14 Hands ($9) or Ramey or Rombauer ($15) come in cabernet, chardonnay, and merlot. Taste also offers beers and mixed drinks for the grape-averse.
A broad front porch stretches across the main residence at Hidden Meadow Vineyard, inviting visitors to kick up their feet, tip back a glass of fruit wine, and admire the verdant view. Owners Bill and Janette Bailey manage the small, family-run winery, which specializes in bottles made from muscadine, concord, niagara, and cynthiana grapes. Their roster of wines includes blackberry and blueberry wines as well as scuppernong, a sweet, old-fashioned white wine.
For Culinary Institute of America graduate and MetroPrime Steakhouse Executive Chef Warren Weiss, the majority of work goes into steaks and seafood before or after they cook in the shop's 1800-degree broiler. He begins by dry-aging steaks, which allows the flavors to develop and the meat to tenderize before its cooked. Once cuts of prime rib, bone-in filet mignon, and cedar-plank salmon have been broiled to perfection, he infuses dishes with flavorful sauces and sides. These range from a maytag blue cheese fondue to the sharp house worcestershire that complements the ribeyes.
Chef Weiss takes just as much care as when preparing seafood, whether pairing briny Atlantic oysters with a champagne mignonette, or tossing risotto with a splash of vermouth, seafood stock, and Maine lobster. Meals can end on an elegant note with a shareable portion of bruleed banana split or a sippable night cap.
“Warning,” declares Taste’s menu, “you may get sick of reading the word ‘Homemade.’” Skim the sandwich section and you’ll see why. Chefs flavor their creations with numerous homemade ingredients such as thousand island sauce, pickled red onions, and rémoulade. They also use their own meat—rather than pre-made deli meats—and accompany sandwiches with homemade pickles and a choice of homemade chips or potato salad. Along with sandwiches, Taste’s culinary team also crafts gourmet salads and pairs graham crackers and jams with up to six local or imported cheeses from its cheese bar. To wash down meals, guests can choose from 16 beers, 24 wines by the glass, or wine by the bottle.