The chefs at Fuji Japanese Steak & Sushi Dalton love putting on a show, rousing flames and juggling knives over teppanyaki tables as they expertly grill hibachi steak. Cooks use spatulas to toss bite-size morsels into the mouths and baseball gloves of eager diners seated around the griddle, and a variety of signature rolls emerge from the sleek sushi bar. Colorful twigs rising out of floor vases and geisha dolls posing beside bottles of alcohol on the back bar complement the fun feel of the interactive dining experience. Tables without teppanyaki griddles are available on a separate, dimly lit side of the restaurant that improves the appearance of all fellow diners.
TerraMae Appalachian Bistro's chef, Shelley D. Cooper, is able to do something that seems impossible?put an upscale, modern twist on regional Appalachian cooking. Her kitchen churns out everything from rabbit stew in a sage broth to jumbo-lump-crab-stuffed trout served with wilted leeks, apples, and fennel. She's so passionate about highlighting the region's food that her dishes incorporate the bounty from local farms, including the family farm owned by TerraMae's owner, Mark Oldham.
The unique concoctions have garnered a variety of praise, including some from Susan Gregg Gilmore on Fodor's Travel. She particularly loved the Appalachian Lunchable?made with deviled eggs, pickled shrimp and vegetables, country ham, Benne Seed Bacon served in a mason jar, rosemary biscuits, and what she called the "some of the best-ever pimento cheese." In an act more sacrilegious than eating spaghetti with a spoon, Gilmore admitted the cheese was even better than her nana's.
In addition to seducing palates with regional farm-to-table food, TerraMae charms them with an Appalachian staple, homegrown whiskey. Mixologist Justin Stamper pays homage to the area's moonshine traditions by whipping up classic speakeasy drinks using Chattanooga whiskey and other liquors.
True to the name Backyard Grille, a bulk of the work chefs Teddy Miller and Tommy Barnhart do is in the backyard. It's where they smoke all their meat, from bone-in certified Angus rib eyes to the pulled pork that smothers loaded baked potatoes. Inside their microwave-free kitchen, Teddy and Tommy prepare all their sauces and dressings from scratch, as well as the housemade biscuits that dominate their breakfast menu.
Backyard Grille is likewise divided between outdoor and indoor attractions for its diners. Outside, patrons can lounge beneath lighted umbrella tables, recline on a porch swing, or groove on the backyard dance floor. Full of flat-screen TVs broadcasting the latest games, the sports-themed indoor dining room switches gears during intimate candle-lit dinners. On Friday and Saturday, live music later in the evenings swaps dinnertime romance for rocking until 2 a.m.