The chefs at Fuji Japanese Steak & Sushi Dalton love putting on a show, rousing flames and juggling knives over teppanyaki tables as they expertly grill hibachi steak. Cooks use spatulas to toss bite-size morsels into the mouths and baseball gloves of eager diners seated around the griddle, and a variety of signature rolls emerge from the sleek sushi bar. Colorful twigs rising out of floor vases and geisha dolls posing beside bottles of alcohol on the back bar complement the fun feel of the interactive dining experience. Tables without teppanyaki griddles are available on a separate, dimly lit side of the restaurant that improves the appearance of all fellow diners.
At Nick's Ristorante, Nick and Sherry Mikus emulate northern Italian recipes inspired by more than four decades of international traveling. In the kitchen, Chef Gerald works from a menu featuring dishes such as the Angel Hair Pasta Nicky, with shrimp, pasta, and thyme sautéed in a white-wine sauce with oregano and tomatoes. Certified Angus beef in cuts ranging from 12 to 20 ounces—voted Best Steak in North Alabama by the Alabama Cattlemen's Association—arrive with wedge salads and garlic mashed potatoes.
To allow guests to fully enjoy the flavors in these hearty Italian entrees, Nick's Ristorante's decor features oodles of elegance. Glass pendant lamps hang above the dining room from wrought-iron columns, where they cast a soft glow over the crisp black tablecloths that double as capes for hungry Batmen. Wines from around the world complement each meal, and patrons can slip into Nick's Ristorante's lounge to sample cigars from Perdomo, Victor Sinclair, and other producers.
Pauli's serves up a gourmet dinner menu of wood-fire grilled steaks, chops, seafood, and game in a romantic setting. Fresh seafood offerings are sourced from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and include such satisfying options as blue-fin tuna, pan seared and sprinkled with a mustard-seed vinaigrette ($31.25). Soothe stressed-out stress meters with the comforting powers of Pauli's shrimp and grits in an andouille cream sauce ($18), or absent-mindedly twirl durac pork-rib chops in a horseradish-mustard sauce, nestled next to grilled asparagus and mac 'n' cheese ($34.50). The 8-ounce wood-fired prime Angus-beef sirloin appeases growling infernos ($21), and the Alaskan halibut is potato-crusted and sauteed in lemon butter sauce ($33.50), sure to bring the tongue buds alive.
Behind the bar at Diamond Dave's sits a full bar with plenty of mixers. It’s a rare show of restraint at a restaurant that believes quality and quantity can coexist as equals. Here, a choice of 11 sauces, from mild to "crazy insane hot," smothers orders of up to 100 buffalo wings. Twelve-ounce cuts of slow-roasted prime rib soak up au jus and horsey sauce, and a half-pound of beer-steamed peel-and-eat shrimp mingle with the savory tang of a generous dusting of Old Bay seasoning. The excess comes to a head in the deep-fried giant taco, a gargantuan conglomeration of beef, scallions, cheese, and sour cream. Diners looking to prove their eating mettle can tackle Diamond Dave’s Giant Taco Challenge, devouring their mammoth meal in fewer than three minutes for a cash prize, a T-shirt, and eternal glory.
Available from the kitchen every night until 3 a.m., such munchies keep patrons satiated during Diamond Dave's nightly entertainment. Rounds of blackjack and Texas hold 'em raise funds for charity, trivia events tease brains with obscure factoids, and karaoke and DJs inspire fancy footwork on the dance floor. Running within a 20-mile radius of the restaurant, Diamond Dave's free shuttle helps guests stay safe during these revelries. The service picks them up at the start of the evening and whisk them safely home when the night draws to a close.
Waiters at Folia Brazilian Steakhouse waltz across dining rooms wielding spears full of sizzling meats lauded by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for their succulence. To signal their hunger to roving waiters, diners simply display a green card near their plate, prompting waiters to proffer juicy picanha sirloin, sling out plump sausages, or stampede toward the table in an ill-fated game of Red Light, Green Light. Guests can devise elaborate salads at the expansive salad bar, where traditional leafy options mingle with tangy ceviche and seared tuna. House wines, from chardonnay to cabernet sauvignon, pair off with bites of steak or nibbles of fish to sneak into stomachs on the heels of well-spoken toasts. Piquant flavors and traditional Brazilian spices find an easy home within the dramatic red and deep mahogany colors of the dining room, transporting patrons and their palates to a place where gauchos gather around fire pits to relish both food and flames.