Upside Down entrances the senses with an inverted neon sign, luminous 200-inch TVs, a hypnotic blue-and-white-whorled floor, live music and comedy, and a menu of hearty burgers, salads, and sandwiches. Mesmerize your mouth with six traditional ($5.25) or boneless ($7.59) wings doused in mild, hot, lemon pepper, barbecue, or parmesan-garlic sauce and served with homemade blue-cheese dressing. Cheddar, bacon, grilled onions, and thousand-island dressing mingle on the Black Hole burger ($7.99) and sliced turkey cozies up in the Backwards Bird sandwich with a melted-jack-cheese comforter and avocado throw pillow ($7.99). For a fragrant denouement, choose from more than one dozen flavors of hookah to practice puffing smoke rings or more baroque smoke fleurs-di-lis.
Tapping in to fresh, local ingredients, the wing-slingers at Wing Barn offer classic appetizers and sides along with a made-to-order menu of Texas favorites. Jumbo-sized crispy wings—available in orders of five ($4.49), 10 ($8.49), and up—can be smothered in one of 14 original homemade sauces, including garlic parmesan, honey mustard, and cilantro chipotle lime. Teeth can sink into half-pound burgers such as the Ranch Hand ($7.99), as well as fresh salads and Texas State Fair–inspired desserts, including funnel cake, fried oreos, fried twinkies, and fried oil rigs. Head to the outdoor patio, settle indoors within eyes' reach of several big screens, or polish off a dozen of the hottest wings to win the Lava Wing Challenge, thus earning a place on the Wall of Fame and a seat in Valhalla.
Vicente, the resident chef at Gazpacho's by Las Tablitas, specializes in incorporating Mexican flavors into globally inspired dishes. In some cases, these are pretty straightforward—empanadas stuffed with sautéed spinach and caramelized onions, or shrimp tacos doused in chipotle sauce. But the remainder of his menu takes a more roundabout route to Mexican tastes. He fills savory crepes, for instance, with poblano peppers and corn, while his paninis sport ingredients such as grilled chicken, avocado, and herbed mayo. Each globetrotting feast unfolds amidst vibrant oil-painted canvases in a lively dining room, which fills with the upbeat sounds of live music every Friday.
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 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 all-natural beef tuscan ribeye, 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.