Situated just steps from the historic Fox Theatre, Churchill Grounds tantalizes patrons with nightly live-jazz sessions and a menu of eclectic entrees and thirst-quenchers. During a scotch tasting, diners can sip, slurp, and dab their inner wrists with a quintet of mini whiskeys poured by laser-shrunken Scotsmen. Churchill Grounds' proprietor highlights different scotches frequently, though a flight might include Glenlivet 12, Glenmorangie 10, or Cragganmore. For patrons seeking more solid fuel, chefs slow-roast boneless beef ribs before dousing them in soy-garlic sauce ($18.95), and wild mushroom ravioli with a light garlic cream sauce ($10.95) fills empty stomachs. The hummus dip arrives with warm pita wedges ($7.95), stir-fried calamari rings ($14.95) inspire fork-diving into a pool of spicy red-pepper sauce, and spinach-artichoke dip begins meals with light fare ($7.95). Cure parched pouts with red or white wine ($5.50–$9/glass) complemented by artisanal cheese plates (market price), or a selection of beers from around the world, including Pilsner Urquell ($4.50) and La Fin du Monde ($6.25).
The chefs behind Cravings American Bistro please palates and eyes with elegant arrangements of hearty American and seafood fare, escorted to tables atop simple china. Begin a night of lively discussion and synchronized digestion with a choice of six appetizers, including lobster mac 'n' cheese smothered in truffle oil, jumbo broiled crab cakes swimming in sweet-chili aioli, and house-rubbed ribs glazed with a mango barbecue sauce. Seafaring entrees such as the tropical, pan-seared Island grouper and the spicy, fettuccine-laced shrimp Diablo occupy tables with sunken-treasure-finding tips before succumbing to the white noise of chewing. Ravenous carnivores can opt for a 12-ounce new york strip steak—a choice cut of Montana strip loin accented with fingerling potatoes and asparagus stalks that double as stylish stirring sticks for a date's martini.
Purple Rain offers a modern and sophisticated interpretation of tapas within a sleek, open, and multifunctional dining space. Like an overachieving butterfly larva, Purple Rain transforms throughout the day from afternoon café to tapas restaurant and lounge by night. Their palate merges Asian and European cuisine, with a dinner menu offering finely crafted food art such as curry-grilled quail with pad thai noodles and roasted peanuts ($13), osso bucco with braised beef short ribs and gremolata ($10), and macadamia-crusted sea bass ($18). For leisurely late risers, Purple Rain's brunch menu includes eggs benedict with lobster tail ($10), raspberry beignets ($5), and Nutella-stuffed french toast with caramelized bananas and powdered sugar ($7). Enjoy one of their spritely custom cocktails, such as a tangerine-ginger mojito or sparkling sake with seasonal berries ($8 each), or skip drinking altogether to sprawl across their effulgent purple bar and perform shadow puppet plays on the ceiling.
No strangers to the stage themselves, the board of directors at The Velvet Note built the intimate venue as a musician?s dream of exquisite natural acoustics. On its carefully crafted soundstage sits a 1924 Baldwin Model M baby grand piano, which serves an endless lineup of locally and nationally renowned acts. In between applause and using their index fingers as maestro batons, visitors can occupy their hands with food from The Velvet Note?s menu, featuring lobster cobb salad, black mussels in garlic butter, and all manner of classic southern desserts. Run by musicians for musicians, the club creates an up-close-and-personal environment where performers and fans can actually mingle.