Nuovo peppers its heavy Mediterranean influence––evidenced from the menu to the decor––with a delicious nod to pan-Asian cuisine. Italian and Spanish dishes explore the flavors of land and sea with lemon risotto and slow-roasted veal or lightly fried shrimp, scallops, squid, and salmon. A library of Asian entrees, meanwhile, chronicles favorites such as pad thai and deep-fried pork, as well as lesser-known dishes such as Korean bibimbap––a rice bowl with steamed veggies, egg, beef, and sauces such as spicy peanut or red pepper.
Across one of Nuovo's walls, monochrome depictions of Italian and Spanish landmarks inspire Old-World flashbacks. On the opposite side a bar hosts flat-screen TVs above an honor guard of bottles. Red-cushioned high seats face a broad line of picture windows, and a pool table engenders healthy competition beside a long squishy couch and a wall of paintings. Diners can also hone their dance steps or help spoons realize their passion for forks with the aid of live music on Friday and flamenco on Saturday.
Pho Aura's menu sails diners east with authentic Vietnamese fare. Start a gustatory journey with crispy spring rolls, stuffed with crabmeat, pork, shrimp, carrots, and mushrooms ($3.95), or chicken lettuce wraps, slow-roasted chicken sautéed in Pho Aura's special sauce and served in a rice cracker bowl with lettuce cups ($7.95).
To ensure farm-fresh ingredients for their East African dishes, the culinary team at Manna Bistro & Bakery goes a step beyond shopping at local farmers’ markets. They cull their meat and produce straight from their affiliate farm, Mena Farm, where lambs and goats graze freely and fresh vegetables sprout from the gardens, rather than from test tubes in the goats’ labs.
In a similar DIY spirit, bakers knead their own bread at an on-site bakery, in styles ranging from round loaves to injera, the slightly sour flatbread served with most Ethiopian stews and sautéed meat dishes. Diners also have the chance to try Manna's take on a menu of Mediterranean dishes: salads tossed with feta cheese, veggie sandwiches slathered with hummus, and paninis with a choice of three different pestos. There's also a full breakfast menu, introducing sweet and savory traditional dishes of spiced bread, buttery crushed wheat, and eggs given a kick from jalapenos, tomatoes, and onion.
Some men are wedded to whiskey; others will swear by a well-crafted gin cocktail. For Red Rocks Cafe & Tequila Bar owner Robert Evans, however, it’s all about tequila. The agave aficionado keeps his watering hole packed with more than 100 different varieties of tequila, from go-tos such as Jose Cuervo Gold to top-shelf varieties such as Herradura Seleccion Suprema. His bartenders blend these tequilas into a variety of specialty margaritas, including the restaurant’s popular Jimmy Buffett—a sweet mix of coconut, orange juice, and lime.
As bartenders dole out red salt-rimmed glasses of tequila and pints of draft beers, chefs are equally hard at work in the kitchen. They fold fresh seafood, meats, and vegetables into a variety of imaginative Tex-Mex dishes, packing fajitas with barbecue pulled pork, topping tacos in chipotle-infused sour cream, and dousing chicken wings in a serrano chile pepper sauce.
After meals, diners can stick around to play card games and Golden Tee.
Little Italy Deli gives patrons a warm, fuzzy feeling with homestyle Italian-American meals. Piled-high sandwiches deliver packages of fresh greens and tomatoes along with prosciutto, smoked turkey, or mozzarella cheese over Italian sausage. Strands of linguini embrace simmered mussels, chicken breast, and tomato sauces, giving them one last hug before they depart to find their destiny on the end of someone's fork. Younger gourmands can check out a kid-friendly menu with spaghetti and meatballs and macaroni, making sure to save room for imported and house-made Italian desserts.
Amid padded dark-wood chairs and live bamboo plants, the dining room Lime Maki House was made to be inviting. Even the lime green walls evoke an exuberant feel that echoes the menu's focus on nigiri, sashimi, and maki made with fresh fish and produce. Beyond sushi, hot meals here span many Asian traditions and include Korean spicy pork and Japanese-influenced katsu dinners. On select nights, the restaurant transforms into an entertainment space with late-night karaoke, where diners can serenade sushi chefs with a well-earned rendition of "Endless Love."