A waiter, hands full of fresh avocado, peppers, and tomatoes, approaches the table. He expertly slices and stirs the ingredients in a lava-stone bowl with the nimble precision of a seasoned chef. Along with whipping up fresh guacamole prepared tableside, Santo Coyote cooks also grill sizzling fajitas, bake spicy seafood specialties, and roll freshly made tortillas that have been lauded by the Arkansas Times at two locations, with one recently opened on Pleasant Ridge Road. Meanwhile, bartenders blend their staggering selection of more than 100 tequilas into specialty margaritas beneath the metal sun sculptures that adorn the walls.
At Lava Lounge, parties settle into cushioned black chairs to share drags from single-, double-, or triple-hose hookahs. Thirty flavors of Starbuzz tobacco enchant palates with pomegranate and lemon-mint taste waves, while 15 hydro flavors replicate the relaxing experience sans tobacco. Patrons can sip turkish coffee or hot minty tea in between inhales or snack on simple Mediterranean fare such as kebabs, gyros, and rich hummus plates surrounded by petals of pita bread. Deep-crimson walls and petite red and white lights set an intimate mood as wispy threads of smoke waft through the air and puffing patrons practice blowing smoke inner tubes around one another.
While the heart of Johnny Carino's menu is rooted in genuine Italian traditions, forward-thinking creativity has birthed what they like to call their signature dishes. Led by executive chef Chris Peitersen, the seasoned kitchen staff blends fresh ingredients along with extra time to create high-quality, spiced Italian preparations. Diners will find entrees such as 16-layer lasagna with made-from-scratch sauce, and pizzas made with home-baked crust. Other signature choices include the spicy shrimp and chicken, baked stuffed mushrooms topped with house lemon basil cream sauce, and tiramisu made from the ground up. Entrees can be paired any selection from Carino's extensive wine list and drink menu.
Since Garfield's Restaurant & Pub opened its first location in 1984, it has been whipping up a menu of American favorites. Burgers, pastas, steaks, and sandwiches recall backyard get-togethers, family dinners, and steak-eating championships while simultaneously forging new memories. Among these classic offerings is the Simply Perfect burger, which tops two patties with American cheese and signature sauce, and a hand-cut sirloin steak that can be smothered in saut?ed onions and mushrooms. Adults can also enjoy selections from the pub's beers and specialty drinks, such as a top-shelf "perfect" margarita or strawberry-peach sangria.
The taste-bud ticklers at La Valentina prepare gourmet Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine from scratch, using fresh ingredients united by rave-worthy recipes. The menu edifies traditional dishes with tenets of contemporary gastronomy, resulting in enlightened edibles such as fish tacos—corn tortillas topped with grilled tilapia, spinach, and pineapple-avocado pico de gallo ($10.99)—and smoked chicken enchiladas with zesty roasted tomato sauce ($8.99). Avocado artists chop, mix, and serve guacamole ($7.99) tableside, and the back-kitchen preps heartier plates such as the 12-ounce adobo marinated rib eye ($14.99). After the last plate clears, dessert devotees can pay their respects to the sugar gods with Mexican ambrosia such as the volcano—a gooey chocolate mound with a warm fudge center, topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel ($6.49)—and flan ($3.29).