The sound of fire. The igniting exhalation before the steady breath of the flame sustains. The heat pulsing steadily outward from the steel grill—you feel it on your glowing face. But the chef looks cool. He’s a master, after all; a flat, metal spatula in one hand and an enormous, sharp knife in the other. Kani House’s teppanyaki tables are no strangers to the action of hibachi, where these chefs entertain their guests before plating seared steak and scallops alongside fresh, sautéed vegetables. The steady sushi masters may not share their compatriots’ outward exuberance, but their work is just as delicious. From behind their long bar, they assemble maki cylinders with tender cuts of fatty tuna and bright salmon, artfully arranging cuts of more than 50 specialty rolls in the shape of gentle caterpillars or fearsome members of the Japanese Diet. Bright bamboo panels and natural stone add to the vibrant ambiance, surrounding diners with dark-wood and nuanced accents that keep the focus on the beauty of excellent cuisine.
El Porton Mexican Restaurant has sated cravings for fresh, healthy ingredients for more than two decades, serving up authentic Mexican lunches and dinners that complement the bar’s array of 85 tequilas. Amid golden walls that evoke a warm afternoon in a tropical cantina, guests kick-start stomachs by watching chefs craft lime-infused guacamole tableside. From the kitchen, beef and shrimp fajitas sizzle, wafting aromas of onion and bell pepper that transform into cartoon hands to lure in noses. Warm days open El Porton's patio, where sunshine heightens the flavors of make-your-own combo platters spread with chile rellenos, tostadas, and burritos, as well as USDA steaks aged a minimum of 21 days. Tequila shots arrive in flights or individually, and customizable margaritas in flavors such as mango and classic lime pour forth from salt-rimmed glasses to accentuate entrees and fuel conversations about Mexico's hidden agave rivers.
Pie slingers at Romeo’s New York Pizza twirl their ‘za from scratch, piling dough made in-house with red sauce and toppings such as garlic, ground beef, meatballs, and sundried tomatoes. The cozy neighborhood joint has purveyed New York–style pizza since 1945, when delivery boys first started using hovercrafts. Its unfussy menu includes hearty appetizers such as cheese bread or fried ravioli, alongside healthy salads in vegetarian or meaty iterations. Those who opt not to build their own pies can go in for one of three chef-crafted incarnations—margherita, spinach and mushroom, or vegetarian, sold by the slice or in 12-inch or 16-inch rounds.
Amidst Bella’s 15,000 square feet of dance floors and VIP booths, a triad of marble, granite, and hardwood accents fills out the lounge’s two-story facility. Throughout the night, a sound system blasts house beats as lights dance to the rhythms of The Nutcracker Suite stuck in patrons’ heads. At the elevated VIP area, a private bar and bottle service keep drinks within reach at all times, and a rooftop patio offers an oasis from the party below with a separate sound system, LCD TVs, and fireplaces.
Slow-grilled all-beef hot dogs, house-made condiments, and fresh baked buns abound at this hot-dog haven tucked into the North Hills Shopping Center. Top Dog's four-page menu exhibits the restaurant's enthusiasm for naturally-encased meats organized according to flavorful regions of America. Laud local fare by biting into the Georgia Dog ($4.95), a spicy jumbo red hot topped with chow chow, spicy chili, house-made pimento cheese, and cole slaw. Top Dog's southern-style onion rings with Cajun dipping sauce ($3.50) make palate pals with strangers' sausages, such as the NY Deli Dog wrapped in swiss, horseradish mustard, sauerkraut, and hot pastrami ($6.75), or the Cubs Dog topped with mustard, relish, onion, cucumber sport peppers, tomato, pickle, and celery salt ($3.75). Creative customers can cover up naked dogs ($2.65–$4.50) with bakery-style bolillo buns and their choice of more than 40 different toppings, sheltering them from confusion caused by lookalike links and the baton-snatching hands of passing relay racers.
Long hailed for a mastery of ham far beyond the skills of mere mortal meat cookers, the meat mavens at HoneyBaked Ham invite you to put their newly honed turkey skills to the test with today's Groupon: a whole roasted turkey breast for $12 (an up to $25 value). Get your moist turkey breast unadulterated, or let the HoneyBaked masters finish your bird with crackling sweet glaze, which may or may not be cooled by having volunteer glaze-pixies fan it with their wings. Call one of HoneyBaked's participating locations (found here and in the sidebar to the right) to reserve your order, and pick up your juicy bird.