When you first walk into Krazy Fish, it’s apparent that the restaurant’s staff has had some fun with its moniker. Murals of giant sea creatures colorize the walls, and mannequins swim in green-tinsel seaweed and reefs of faux-pearl necklaces. But, like Charlotte magazine says, “as soon as you’re sipping the restaurant’s icy hibiscus, ginger, and honey agua fresca or digging into the tender, citrus-flavored ceviche appetizer, you’ll barely noticed [sic] the odd plastic fish hanging above your table.”
Krazy Fish’s eclectic menu teems with fresh seafood, southern-inspired comfort fare, and bowls of Asian noodles. The kitchen staff infuses pan-seared swai with spicy wasabi and sprinkles with cilantro grown in the backyard garden. Seven types of salsas enliven the tacos, including the tropical pineapple salsa. Krazy Fish also offers three TVs for game watching, a wide selection of beer, wine, and mixed drinks, and is available for private events.
Each dish at Thai Herb Authentic Thai Cuisine incorporates dozens of fresh ingredients, creating taste profiles that are complex and painstakingly balanced. The chefs adhere to age-old techniques to create such harmonious blends, whether it's by complementing sweet basil with spicy peppers or by brightening the flavors of rich red curry with tropical mango and fresh coconut milk. It takes nearly a full day to craft each curry dish on the menu, meaning that diners should refrain from talking about sports-games outcomes until the chefs can visit their DVRs.
At Table 274, talented chefs are dedicated to crafting wholesome lunch, brunch, and dinner menus. In order to support local agriculture, they work to forge a sizeable portion of their entree roster from locally acquired produce, which freshens their culinary cast more than Will Smith freshens a room when he films a sitcom in it. Their outdoor patio and spacious indoor dining area grant varied environs for sampling wood-fired pizzas topped with roasted vegetables, braised short ribs, or figs and prosciutto. To complement the diverse cuisine offerings cataloged on the menu, Table 274's mixologists shake and stir specialty cocktails with vodkas, citrus, and liqueurs, while curating a list of draft beers with selections from local breweries within the state.
The owners of JJ's Red Hots built their eatery as an homage to time-honored stands in hot-dog meccas such as Chicago and Buffalo. A retro-style neon sign beckons diners to the low-slung building, where sausages, chili, and hot dogs transport tongues to a bygone era when food was always made by hand. Martin's potato rolls cradle Sahlen’s smokehouse hot dogs, which can be dressed with toppings such as house-cured bacon, sweet chili sauce, and borracho beans. The Chicago-style dog wears a crown of sport peppers, deli mustard, and celery salt, declaring its supremacy over the Windy City without welding a throne to the top of the Willis Tower. To stay true to the idea of handmade food, the chefs craft their own salmon and chicken sausage and bratwurst and squeeze fresh fruitades every day.
The interior of the JJ's puts a modern spin on nostalgic decor. Black-and-white photos of those classic hot-dog stands line a crimson wall, lit from above by a chandelier constructed from a defunct set of drums. Diners can also sit on the rooftop patio, where umbrellas protect them from the glare of the sun, for whom a good hot dog is always just out of reach.
Classic Italian gelato and sorbetto is created from scratch and slow-churned at Bella Fresco Cafe each day, but this natural and fresh approach to food expands past its desserts. Meats rotate slowly on a spit in the style of shawarma, from which the kitchen staff carves succulent slices that make their way into signature pita sandwiches. Burgers, panini, and pita pizzas each pair with wine, which patrons nurse while reclining and enjoying lake views on the back porch. To finish up their meals, they choose a frozen treat and sip an espresso or Kona blend coffee.
Before the doors open for breakfast at 6 a.m., owners Richie and Patty Iadanza and the chefs at Park 51 Cafe are busy in the kitchen building every dish from scratch. That means mixing batter for pancakes and Belgian waffles, stirring potfuls of gravy to ladle over biscuits, and cubing potatoes to sizzle into home fries. When lunchtime rolls around, the chefs begin stuffing sandwiches with corned beef and sauerkraut or Cajun chicken, and baking pasta dishes in a hot oven to turn the cheese golden brown.