Shogun Restaurant Japanese Steak House's culinary artists tightly wrap sushi rolls at a glass-front sushi bar and flip and fry meat, fish, and veggies at tableside hibachi grills. A fleet of specialty rolls includes the Sky Diver roll with soft-shell crab and eel and the Shaggy Dog roll, layered with shrimp tempura and crab. Shogun’s chefs can also roll single-fish classics such as tuna, salmon, and yellowtail—the fish least likely to clash with a yellow plate or an outfit made of Post-it notes.
The chefs at Papi Chulo’s Mexican Restaurant get to work early every morning, firing up griddles to craft Mexican breakfast omelets and tacos. They continue to make breakfast dishes throughout the day, but switch gears to begin seasoning carne asada, pastor, and chicken to fill enchiladas, fried burritos, and tacos. As in any traditional taqueria, meats also include beef tongue, tripe, and carnitas, shredded pork generally stewed in coriander, onions, and lime. Straws dip into glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice, and Mexican sodas cool hands like a job prodding snowmen to see if they are magic.
Anthony Russo, a first-generation Italian, spent years in the kitchens of his parents and other Italian chefs learning authentic Italian recipes for sauces and pastas. He eventually drew on his experience kneading New York?style pizza to open his own chain of coal-fired pizza franchises. Exposed bricks surround the burning embers at the core of the oven, which bakes thin-crust specialty pizzas, such as escargot with pesto, alongside heart-healthy pies with fresh spinach and artichokes. After sliding out golden-crusted pizzas and singed fairy-tale witches, chefs fill ovens with calzones and flatbreads. A full wine list supplies bold cabernets and crisp pinot grigios.
My Favorite Muffin bakes up its namesake fare in a variety of flavors and also features an extensive list of savory deli fare. Fans of post-oven muffin batter are bestowed with a bounty of muffins made from scratch and prepared with soybean oil, creating tasty pastries whose cake parts contain less cholesterol than their butter-packed brothers. Choose from a list of 19 cup-sized cakes ($1.99 for a jumbo muffin or $1.80 for three mini muffins), including cherry cheesecake, banana nut, pumpkin spice, bran, and boston cream pie. Nutritional information for each creation at My Favorite Muffin is available online.
The cooks at Fish Place fill their menu with Cajun and Creole-inspired seafood dishes, such as rich seafood gumbo and shrimp po-boy sandwiches with jalapeño mayonnaise. They also fry up oysters, redfish, and popcorn shrimp, and assemble 25-to-75-piece “Family Seafood Packs” with combinations of catfish, tilapia, chicken, hushpuppies, and fries.
Words such as “shrimp” and “gumbo” decorate the wallpaper in a handwritten pattern, just as they did in the oval office during the Jimmy Carter presidency. Furthermore, the cooks’ daily specials appear as vivid chalkboard portraits.
Saigon Café’s Vietnamese chef lends toothsome authenticity to a menu of traditional dishes. The noodlery boasts sandwiches ($2.95), rice dishes, vegetarian options, and a rainbow of bubble tea flavors, including papaya, mocha, watermelon, and love ($3.50).
In one rice-platter scenario, a battalion of rice stands guard for a char-grilled pork chop and egg-roll royalty ($6.95).