Southern, Cajun, and Mexican influences all show up on the menu at Eldorado Southern Grille, an eatery with décor inspired by roadhouses and barbecue joints across America. Bacon-and-cheddar-stuffed burgers, beef brisket with fried onion straws, and chicken wings tossed with cilantro-Grand Marnier sauce are just a few options. Flat-screened TVs broadcast sports games while bartenders pour draft beers and mix signature cocktails such as the Mexican Iced Tea—a Long Island iced tea topped with Cafe Patron.
Kansas City Smokehouse’s hickory-wood smokers slow-cook succulent meats in the tradition of Missouri barbecue masters. Barbecued meets, including beef brisket, pulled pork, and smoked kielbasa pile on plates by the quarter pound. Tender st. louis ribs or one half of a barbecued chicken share platter space with cornbread and classic sides, such as Cajun rice, collard greens, baked beans, and sweet-potato fries. Chefs dust catfish and skewered shrimp in their signature kansas city dry rub, searing in the spices on a cast-iron griddle heated with their laser vision. Nineteen craft and domestic beers accent the smoky hues, or pair up with a bevy of burgers or steaks.
Louie Demirakos devised Clearwater Charlie's in his late father's name, creating an homage to his unfulfilled vision for—in Charlie’s words—an “eat it and beat it” establishment. The menu is scrawled on chalkboards above the kitchen assembly line, and dishes hit the counter on paper plates, which conveniently fold into paper sailboats to float leftovers home. Though the restaurant gives top billing to seafood, Charlie’s specialty, it also incorporates a slew of American dishes such as barbecue chicken and pork, steak, and burgers with a choice of 22 toppings. The restaurant is also entirely nut-free, ensuring that food-sensitive diners can safely savor any dish that emerges from the bustling kitchen.
Whether beneath the thatched roof of the tiki hut or at an intimate table surrounded by bamboo shoots, Papaya Thai and Asian BBQ’s tropical themes pervade the eatery’s confines. The barbecue bar grants diners a front-row seat to watch chefs expertly grill marinated meats and veggies on wooden skewers, wielding the power of fire like Prometheus to cook beef to its tender best state. A variety of Thai tasting plates and main dishes include classics such as pad thai, sizzling chicken in a thai barbecue sauce, and skewered chicken satay. From the tiki bar, bartenders pour tropical drinks such as papaya thai-ritas made with sweet mango and nutty monkeys, an almond-rum-banana concoction the staff delivers to tables by way of swinging through the rafters.
BJ Ryan's BANC House satiates cravings for both fresh coastal catches and savory wood-smoked meats that exude Southern charm. The slow-smoked pulled pork calls to taste buds from the plate where it sits slathered in homemade sauce and dry rub, and savory shrimp and grits blend dry rub and cheddar flavors. The talented chefs pay a special tribute to fresh crab, which can be added to any entree, steaming dishes such as the Banc crab cake, dungeness, Alaskan king, or blue crabs, which come dressed in homemade roasted-garlic sauce, ginger caramel, or inner-harbor spice.
Not to be overshadowed by the succulent food, BJ Ryan's dark, varnished wood and black-lacquered furnishings effuse a low-key, yet carefully kept dining environment marked by old photos and broad chalkboards listing the day’s specials.