Samba's menu spans continents, uniting dishes toasted over the leaping flames of a Brazilian grill with those cooked in the heated clay interior of a tandoor oven. Samba's signature rodizio dinners deliver skewered meats to tables, where they are carved by servers directly onto diners' plates. Picanha, a cut of beef, is a popular choice. For those who would rather not indulge in the all-you-can-eat option, the picanha burger?covered in mozzarella, grilled mushrooms, and peppers?offers a taste of the Brazilian beef.
Indian offerings include seven types of naan bread, chicken tikka masala, and biryani rice entrees. Samba serves Mediterranean as well, from hummus appetizers to shish kebab lunches and pizzas dotted with feta cheese.
Though the food comes from various regions, the venue positions diners under the same sky?or at least a ceiling charmingly painted to mimic the clouds. Samba also celebrates birthdays with exceptional fanfare: drums, tambourines, and song, instead of the traditional treat of fine-dining establishments, a lobster clutching candles in its claws. This excitement also extends to the upcoming 2014 World Cup beginning in June, during which the restaurant will air the contests with a family-friendly atmosphere.
Ethel Reds Chop House is named for a red-haired woman hallowed in family legend and yarns: the indomitable Ethel. Her ninety-some years of life were apparently filled with daring adventures, from jumping off waterfalls to riding a bull. The Chop House still serves her famed chili, and massive cuts of steak and chops challenge patrons. The eatery brims with bone-in ribeye and pork ribs like a ballad written by a hungry cowboy, and bacon celebrates an affinity for beef by embracing cuts of filet mignon and piling on top of cheeseburgers.
Diners bond over live country music, chicken wings, and copious use of napkins in the Western-style dining room, which is decorated by saddles, horseshoes, and other riding accessories. On balmy days, visitors toting drinks from the full bar wander to the patio garden to take in the fresh air.
At Tommy’s, candlelight casts dark wood wainscoting, burnt-orange walls, and stone floors in a warm glow. The elegant eatery—which has been hailed by Frommer’s as “the most creative restaurant in Visalia"—complements its environs with equally haute cuisine. Chefs serve succulent steaks on cedar planks and drizzle them with southwestern flourishes such as tequila-roasted green chilis, poblano cream sauce, and a single cactus tear. Additionally, Tommy’s stocks its wine cellar with an ample wine selection.
Plates full of barbecue-glazed salmon, grilled sirloin, and country-fried steak emerge from the kitchen at Spike ‘n’ Rail Steakhouse, where chefs assemble hearty sandwiches and carefully spread sauces over meats. In the morning, patrons can sample breakfast dishes such as country-fried streak and eggs and breakfast burritos. Those who prefer a quieter meal can dig into their smoked prime rib on the outdoor patio, which overlooks a pond with burbling fountains and constantly gurgling fish.
At Bentley’s, some dishes come and go with the seasons, but customer favorites—such as USDA Choice steaks, seafood, and ribs—remain a familiar presence on the menu. Chefs douse baby back ribs with a special house sauce before nestling them beside a baked potato or fries. They also wrap 8-ounce slabs of filet mignon in bacon before grilling them. The same care goes into lunchtime salads, sandwiches, burgers, and ribs, which speed from kitchen to plate, leaving diners with enough time left on their break to pen a love letter to their boss. Cocktails, including four alcohol-infused varieties of lemonade, balance the savory entrees with their sweet flavors.
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