Silk Lounge mixes nature and culture with its sleek yet cozy ambience, spacious patio, carefully crafted libations, and nightly entertainment. Guests seeking solace may retreat to a private booth to puff on a fine cigar ($8+), and revelers seeking a pleasant campfire vibe without rubbing two guitars together until they burst into flames can enjoy company at the patio's fire pit. Meanwhile, more than 20 varieties of single-malt scotch rest on hand to warm bellies, including an Auchentoshan old enough to drink itself (premium drinks are $12). A range of unique Chinese and Japanese wines can greet the tongue ($9 per glass), and a cool beer ($5) crisply complements an appetizer of chicken wings or calamari ($12+).
Even in the morning, Clearman's Steak 'n Stein Inn takes its name seriously. The brunch menu lists five cuts that form the centerpiece for steak-and-egg platters, and the steak lover's omelet comes filled with three: filet mignon, new york strip steak, and rib eye. As for the "steins," drafts of Hefeweizen and Stella Artois begin pouring as soon as the restaurant opens.
Evening heralds the arrival of the restaurant's romantic side. A circular fireplace warms a ring of plush crimson benches, and soft, amber lighting illuminates the dark wood and brick interior and its stained-glass windows. An open charcoal fire roasts steaks, fish, and chicken for ample entrees, from the 16-oz. boneless rib eye to the Australian lobster tail dinner. Combination dinners allow guests to sample both steak and seafood without taking their backyard grill on a fishing trip. Supper ends with carefully hand-fired desserts, such as crème brûlée cheesecake.
Though all the food at Nola's is modeled after the Cajun and Creole cuisine of the Big Easy, the restaurant’s housemade ingredients give it a personalized spin. Chefs toss fried wings in a special tangy hot sauce, serve popcorn shrimp with a signature honey-chipotle sauce, coat 10-ounce catfish fillets with a special blend of seasonings, and cook fried chicken for 20 minutes.
When it comes to classic dishes such as jambalaya, the cooks approach from various angles, adding shirmp and crab claws to create a seafood version. For vegetarians, they've come up with a version that uses tofu sausage and fresh veggies. Rounding out the jambalaya variations, there is also a breakfast jambalaya soufflé, for those who love breakfast at all hours of the day. For lunch, they specialize in shrimp, oyster, and catfish po' boys, which are drenched in a cornmeal-and-flour batter, fried, and served with housemade roasted-garlic tartar sauce.
To complement feasts, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails, including a tequila-and-watermelon-juice blend called the Witch Doctor, inspired by the witch doctor that lives on the roof. Beneath the chandeliers and wooden beams of the rustic dining room, meals unfold as live musicians serenade diners with the sounds of New Orleans–style blues and jazz.