Stabilized by a protective layer of sticky rice, raw fish explodes in a shockwave of flavor when exposed to munching mouth-bone agitation. Sushi, cooked fish, and beef entrees frolic along with the creative appetizers, salads, and udon and soba noodles on Ebisu’s menu. Start with garlic soy edamame ($5), Ebisu ribs ($8), or a squid salad ($7) before entangling taste buds in a web of nabeyaki udon noodles with shiitake mushrooms, green onions, eggs, konnyaku, cabbage, fishcake, and shrimp tempura ($12). Main courses include the Ebisu sushi platter, served with seven nigiri sushi rolls, one special roll, and miso soup ($20), and kombu-grilled salmon with miso cream sauce ($17).
For the location of the first Dillon's, Rich Dillon and George Valverde chose a 1940s Thunderbird Road structure that a writer for the Phoenix New Times described as "a cute, converted old house that looks like grandma's parlor." Since then, they've opened four more eateries in locations that are as appealing as the signature flame-kissed and slow-smoked meats served inside. Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium's shark tank flanks the dining room of Dillon's at the Zoo, and the boat-accessible Scorpion Bay location opens onto the waters of Lake Pleasant so that diners can chortle as fish attempt to develop democracy. Live music and karaoke lend additional social vibes to the smokehouses.
The same love for pizza and beer that fueled three college students in 1974 transformed their lives as they expanded their business from one rundown building in Atlanta to 100 Mellow Mushroom restaurants across 15 states today. Each eatery owes its individual style to each location's being locally owned and operated, much like impressionist painters owed their individual style to their number of ears. In the kitchens, grilled and deli-style hoagies are assembled and calzones and pizzas baked in stone hearths using dough made with natural spring water. Though many of the restaurant's dishes have remained on the menu since its inception, the culinary crew frequently devises new, often gluten-free, dishes to keep senior-ranking pepperonis from becoming too powerful. Servers pair dishes with their location's own set of local brews, which fit into a collection of up to 100 microbrewed and imported beers on tap and in bottles. Brewers such as Bell's, Abita, and Dogfish Head are also featured in regular beer events.
Joey’s of Chicago brings the taste of the Windy City’s famous hot dogs and sandwiches to the Phoenix desert. Layers of thinly sliced beef stacked on baked French bread derive extra flavor from a kiss of hot or sweet peppers on top. All-beef Vienna hot dogs nobly bear the weight of the traditional Chicago accoutrements: onions, tomatoes, a kosher pickle, and sport peppers, along with mustard and celery salt. Maxwell Street-style Polish sausages come laden with grilled onions and sport peppers. Joey’s extends their Chicago theme to their walls, which are covered with a mural of the skyline, various Americana, or former mayor Daley in a glass case.
The tomatoes don't come from concentrate, the sausage is never frozen, and even the pineapple is freshly carved when it reaches customers' tables. But Mr. Scrib's isn't a farmers' market—it's a pizza joint that traces its roots back more than 50 years to west Michigan. The new Phoenix location makes it possible to get that no-shortcuts blend of toppings without a 20-hour wait while the delivery driver books a flight from Michigan to the Southwest. But it's not just the toppings that stand out—though the special four-cheese blend is a source of pride. The staff also makes the dough in-house every day, helping each layer of pie taste fresh.