The chefs at Fancy Q Sushi Bar & Grill routinely have their hands full, whether they are juggling spatulas above sizzling hibachi grills or rolling up ocean-fresh fish in mats of seaweed at the sushi bar. At midday and into the afternoon, the restaurant’s lunch specials pair spicy salmon and california rolls—just two of the restaurant’s more than 85 types of sushi and sashimi—with salads or soups. Hibachi grills come alive as the sun sets, cooking entrees of steak and shrimp to pair with frosty mugs of imported Tsingtao beer. Wooden tabletops and brick walls reflect an appreciation for Japanese minimalism and modesty at odds with the chefs’ entertaining antics as they toss rice bowls high into the air and walk on shaky chopstick stilts.
A single cucumber roll. That's how Hana Sushi Fusion executive chef and owner Di Wang started his career in sushi nearly two decades ago. At the time, Di had only been in the United States for a year, but he soon found himself fully engrossed in sushi and its culture. While living on the West Coast, Di surrounded himself with some of the industry's best chefs, mimicking their techniques, expanding on their presentation, and carefully observing their steadiness of hand during late-night games of Operation.
A coast-to-coast move landed Di in the Low Country, where he finally decided to plunge into restaurant ownership and opened the doors to Hana Sushi Fusion. There, Di and his staff put a modern twist on traditional rolls, sashimi, and sushi, pairing them with a varied selection of wine, sake, and imported beers. The restaurant itself emits contemporary vibes, complete with the intimacy of semiprivate dining rooms.
In 1999, the two brothers-in-law who founded Main Street Cafe & Pub aimed to create a down-to-earth neighborhood restaurant that evoked a sense of luxury with its menu of seafood and upscale pub food. Today, their restaurant hosts throngs of devoted locals, as well as shrewd tourists who can smell the all-you-can-eat crab legs.
The dining room's tall bay windows shine light onto a black-and-white checkerboard floor and tables groaning under a mix of casual pub eats and homestyle entrees. Distinctive dishes such as parmesan-encrusted grouper and a fried tilapia melt—complete with housemade jalapeño tartar sauce—balance out familiar blackened-chicken wraps and fish ’n’ chips. The seafood chowder and other housemade soups are prepared fresh daily.
Aromas of northern Italy waft through the glass-plated walls at DiVino Restaurant, where practiced chefs concoct a menu of authentic pastas and meat- and seafood-centric dishes to pair with Italian wines. Gastronomic voyages commence with decadent mozzarella caprese drizzled in olive oil ($7) or salty prosciutto accented by zesty umlauts and mild provolone cheese ($9). Garlic-infused cappellini pasta ($22) beckons eager taste buds, and penne flutes served alla norma frolic in a spicy sauce ($22). Chefs pan-fry prosciutto and mozzarella cheese before sliding it across a tender chicken breast in the costoletta milanese chicken ($23), and veal ($25) takes a nap in the broiler until it reaches a succulent char or demands another bedtime story. Throughout the feast, patrons can sip on chalices of white or red wine, including chardonnay ($6) and cabernet sauvignon ($7).
On a warm August day in 1938, a father and son unveiled the first sample of what was to become Dairy Queen, selling 1,600 samples on the first day, a feat as unheard of as a dragon that breathes ice. Its ensuing prolific expansion was fueled by its frozen treats, which propelled the dessert shop from 100 stores in 1947 to 1,446 in 1950. Today, their dessert recipes remain largely unchanged, and Dairy Queen has added hearty grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken to its menu. Dairy Queen's enormous dessert menu boasts treats ranging from soft-serve cones and blizzards filled with cookies to takeaway ice-cream sandwiches and cakes.
Monster Pizza's chefs slather doughy disks with mouth-moistening sauce, melted cheese, and the menu’s 30 meat, cheese, or vegetable toppings. Eaters can recruit a dream team from gargantuan 3-inch pepperoni slices, savory italian sausage, and six other meaty players or let mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, or banana peppers lead a veggie-fueled charge through hunger’s defensive lines. Alternately, set up mozzarella on a blind date with ricotta, parmesan, or another extra-cheese topping, sending nervous slices scurrying to the bathroom to check for bad breath. Chefs can also toss a honey-wheat crust upon request.