Traditional Italian dishes infiltrate Joe's Inn Bon Air's menu of classic American comfort food. Toppings such as sautéed mushrooms and wilted spinach balance atop plates of baked spaghetti or crusts of homemade pizza in the wood-paneled dining room. By contrast, the Sunday brunch buffet showcases all-American favorites, including made-to-order omelets and fresh-baked cinnamon rolls garnished with firework sparks. On Wednesday evenings, entertainer Jonathan Austin creates a festive atmosphere with his feats of juggling and magic.
Though it’s far from the border, Nuevo Mexico Restaurante serves up dishes of traditional Mexican cuisine. The staff rolls seasoned pork or chicken burritos, stuffs taquitos with beef, or grills spinach and tucks it into quesadillas. One of the benefits of their location on the East Coast is the ability to ship in real blue crab from Maryland, granting chefs fresh ingredients for crab salads and enchiladas. One location’s decor unites rich wood accents with exposed red brick, a mural of a matador dodging a bull, and a bar that has three sides, like any argument between a husband and his wife with a crime-fighting alter-ego.
As diners look on, Hiro Sushi Japanese Cuisine’s chefs slice fresh pieces of sashimi and hand-roll maki filled with ocean-fresh tuna, salmon, urchin, and mackerel at central counters. Back in the kitchen, surrounded by open flames and the deep disapproval of Poseidon, chefs toil away building traditional Japanese non-sushi dishes. At lunch, they fill bento boxes with anything from beef or veggie teriyaki and shrimp tempura to crispy chicken wings. During dinner, they sear Chilean seabass on the grill and deep-fry pork tonkatsu. To add a sweet coda to meals, they whip up desserts, such as mochi or tempura-fried treats, such as green tea ice cream or New York-style cheesecake.
Hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, head chef Claudia Fentress crafts an island-inspired menu, which contains mouthfuls of Caribbean and American cuisine to feed guests consuming earfuls of live jazz. Experience life stranded on a deserted island with a world-class chef by diving into jumbo-sized pan-seared scallops with Caribbean seasoning and a garlic-butter coconut sauce ($13), then feast on a fresh rack of lamb marinated in rosemary, mint, and garlic ($21). Served with a side of Caribbean cognac-mustard sauce, the stuffed grilled chicken breast deftly hides bites of vegetables, crab, and shrimp ($19), and the swashbuckling Caribbean vegetable trio ($15) slices through hunger with cabbage, green beans, muscle-building spinach, and plantain swords.