At Pit Boss Bar-B-Q, oak-fueled flames sear slabs of meat, sealing in their natural juices and imparting a distinctive smoky flavor. To season meats, chefs draw inspiration from numerous barbecue traditions across the South. They slather pork and beef with vinegar-based sauce for sandwiches in the North Carolina style, and they top chopped barbecue beef with grilled onions and cheese for a taste of the southwest. And because a trip to a smokehouse would be incomplete without sampling some homestyle sides, Pit Boss rounds out platters with baked beans, fried okra, red-skinned-potato salad, collard greens, and more. Additionally, chefs offer their culinary creations to celebrations and drawn-out court arraignments, gladly customizing catering menus to suit partygoers’ tastes.
Restaurants are in Chef Victor Wang's blood—he comes from a family with multiple generations in the industry. Rather than rest on that heritage, he toured Asia and the Americas for more than 20 years, seeking recipes and lessons from numerous chefs specializing in a variety of cuisines.
These days, the critically acclaimed chef injects American flavors into classic Asian cuisine from countries such as China, Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia. His menu may include Prince Edward Island mussels doused with holly, basil, and ginger; lemongrass-infused chicken soaked in a coconut curry cooked for hours; and seared sirloin marinated in sesame, soy, and garlic. Chef Victor can often be found in the dining room, explaining the complexity of his dishes and why it's too hard to teach broccoli to roll over.
Though the staff at The Brass Tap take beer very seriously, they've nevertheless turned drinking it into a game. Customers get a single point for each of the pub's 300 craft beers that they try. At certain milestones, they'll receive gift cards or a t-shirt with a new title, all the way from rookie to beer guru?and, if they conquer the challenge three times, they can win the coveted Repeat Offender 900 shirt.
Thankfully, the bar makes it easy to sort through its 300 beers. The menu is divided up into different beer types, which go deeper than the basic delineation of ale vs. lager vs. water that's been dyed amber. Guests can peruse listings of bottled barleywines and porters, or have a resident beer aficionado fill their mug with an imported brew on draft. Beer even permeates the food: the chipotle mustard on the house-baked pretzels is made with pale ale, just as the cheese dip is made with Samuel Adams. All of the burgers, sandwiches, and pretzel pizzas also have recommended drink pairings.
As for entertainment, each Brass Tap books a variety of local bands throughout the week. Trivia and happy hours find regular spots on the schedule, and some locations have outdoor patios and cigars for purchase.
No one leaves Ragazzi?s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria hungry. That's because the chef and kitchen staff are dedicated not only to authenticity in preparing rich fettuccine alfredo and crispy veal parmigiana, but also to generous portions and giant slices of pizza. They toss their pasta with everything from shrimp to veal and prosciutto.
Amid the dining room's plush booths and tables, the wait staff ferries neapolitan pizzas that combine the interweaving flavors of tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. Their guests can order pizza to get a taste of all 20 toppings, or order entire pies in specialty combinations such as the stuffed meat pie that surrounds its filling with two layers of dough sans sauce.