Chef Will Greenwood’s dishes have graced many important meals, from Julia Child’s and Robert Mondavi’s 80th birthday parties to the Head of State luncheons at NATO’s 50th-anniversary celebration. In the '90s, he was even asked by the Clintons to audition to be the White House chef. Today, Greenwood’s Caribbean-Latin fusion recipes inform festive meals at Catch Twenty-Three. Certified fresh seafood and aged steaks cook over a pecan-wood grill while elsewhere in the kitchen, chefs prepare signature dishes such as macadamia-crusted Chilean sea bass and Cuban-style ribs basted in guava barbecue sauce. In private cooking classes, Catch Twenty-Three’s team members gladly share their culinary techniques and anecdotes about that time they heroically wrested a spatula from the grip of an angry lobster.
Outside Ballyhoo Grill, a sign made to look like a colorful speedboat beckons to passersby, hinting at the smorgasbord of fresh seafood to be found within. A tropical theme permeates the space, with live music setting a relaxing mood and nautical decor—such as a surfboard, an alligator head, and a stuffed and mounted kraken—adorning the walls. Guests dine on surf 'n' turf plates, fish tacos, pulled pork, and burgers as they share friendly conversation and clink cocktail glasses and mugs of draft beer.
At Mangroves, ordering a drink is almost as much of an experience as sipping it—guests ask for wine and cocktails at a handcrafted 60-foot, stained-glass bar. Its eye-catching design fits right into the chic downstairs lounge, dotted with VIP tables where guests revel in bottle service. Upstairs, meanwhile, another full bar awaits visitors, fueling jive sessions on the spacious dance floor. DJs spin there four days a week, playing sets far preferable to the sound of guests blowing over empty champagne flutes.
Late-night partiers can snack on casual bites such as chicken tenders or mac ‘n’ cheese after 10 p.m., but the eatery’s dinner menu reflects the same refinement as the stained-glass bar. Pomegranate-glazed salmon and black Angus filets in blue-cheese sauce delight palates, along with simpler burgers and salads.
With divine views of blue Bell Lake, diners at Rapscallions dig into a selection of mainland dishes with Caribbean twists. Get friendly with an order of 10 jamaican jerk wings ($10.99) or caribbean nachos topped with pulled pork ($9.99). Ten tempting island-influenced sandwiches, such as the homemade crab-cake sandwich ($8.99), rub elbows with four pizzas, including the rare white-sauced Sea Floor pizza, which roams the abyss of the ocean, collecting seafood toppings and avoiding the conspicuously earless dumbo octopus ($9.99). Hearty fare such as the hawaiian spare ribs ($13.99) or the 8-ounce cayman salmon pack stomach suitcases for trips to satiation ($15.99), and a selection of pastas, soups, and salads tickles the fancy of adorable ticklish appetites.
Dale Del Bello remembers everything about his first hibachi experience. While stationed in Korea as a part of the Air Force National Guard, Dale and a group of friends visited Tokyo on leave. They followed a traditional route among his fellow service people, which took him to a hibachi restaurant. Immediately he sensed that he’d stumbled upon more than just dinner. The chefs’ showmanship fascinated him as they seared meats and vegetables on their tabletop grills, allowing guests to sample forkfuls directly off the 600-degree surface. After returning to Buffalo, New York, in 1971, Dale opened his first Arigato location, attempting to recreate what made that dining experience so remarkable. Since then, he has distilled the authentic experience into something that families can enjoy without traveling abroad, establishing Arigato restaurants throughout New York and Florida and staffing them with more than 60 chefs from Japan.
Surrounded by 8–10 diners, these chefs act not only as the restaurant’s culinary creators, but also as showmen and magicians of sorts, dexterously slicing ingredients, flipping shrimp tails into their hats, and conjuring soy sauce out of thin air. Away from the flaming tabletops, meanwhile, bartenders make use of their own skill sets as they mix specialty cocktails, which occasionally use splashes of plum wine or sake to imbue familiar-sounding drinks with new dimension.