The kitchen staff at Hibachi Buffet Sushi & Grill knows that its patrons also eat with their eyes. With this in mind, they put attention to detail in the artful plating and garnishing of the sushi, sashimi, grilled seafood, and veggies that grace the lunch and dinner buffets. Each colorful spread includes more than 100 options, such as fresh oysters and crab legs, for loading up plates.
At Carnitas Guanajuato—a restaurant founded by a family from Mexico's Guanajuato region—chefs roast pork carnitas for up to an entire day in order to maximize the juiciness and tender texture of this signature dish. They also concoct other generational Mexican recipes from the freshest produce and cuts of meat possible. Their house specialties include succulent barbecued lamb, pork coated in savory mole, and chickens that are roasted whole in accordance with Friars Club tradition. Sautéed shrimp arrive topped with fresh-cut jalapeños and tomatoes, and enchiladas swaddle chicken, cheese, or steak beneath a ladle-full of spicy sauce.
Brazas proudly serves up the traditional Brazilian churrascaria dining experience, during which staff members stroll between tables with a bounty of still-sizzling rotisseried meats to fill and refill your platter until your palate is paralyzed with delight. Reintroduce your belly to protein standbys with sirloin, prime rib, chicken, homemade sausage, skirt steak, and flank steak. Because all of the skewered savories are carved tableside, you can specify portion size or sit extra still as your server uses you as a model for a beef sculpture. This dining experience costs adults between $15.95 and $27.95 depending on when you dine, and kids younger than 12 eat for $7.50 during lunch and $9.50 during dinner.
Sixteen hours. That's the minimum amount of time that Robert and Erin MacNab, the duo behind Sage Garden BBQ & Catering, spend slow cooking cuts of pork and chicken that they've dry rubbed with spices and herbs. Afterward, they shred the meats and layer them onto sandwiches, stuff them into tacos with housemade pico de gallo, or serve on platters with made-from-scratch sides such as kettle chips or sweet cornbread.
The MacNabs complement their down-home barbecue with desserts such as freshly made banana pudding, Ghirardelli brownies, and cupcakes garnished with citrus zest or additional cupcakes. They also do custom catering for events.
Winner of Creative Loafing's Best Coffee award in 2009, Julia's serves fair-trade coffee and café bites to sluggish bodies and minds while raising money for Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte in the process. As patrons browse the shop's sprawling collection of used books, baristas fill drink tanks with frothy lattes ($2.85/regular; $3.35/large), iced americanos ($2.05/regular; $2.35/large), and steaming mugs of brewed coffee ($1.65/regular; $1.85/large). Legume lovers can savor the grilled veggie-and-hummus wrap ($5.75) and the refreshing spinach, fruit, and nut salad ($7), whereas those looking to pack on protein after an afternoon of bench pressing bench-press salesmen can scarf down a cuban pork sandwich ($6).
The scents of fresh breads, stuffed pastries, and decadent sweets fill Golden Bakery. Customers can peruse halal-friendly items such as naan bread, baklava, and fatayer—a pastry filled with cheese, spinach, or meat. To complement these eats, Golden Bakery serves drinks such as jellab juice and banana or strawberry fruit cocktails with milk.