Nick and Jake's upscale sports bar silences grumbling cuisine processors with a twist on American comfort fare made from scratch and an eclectic variety of specialty drinks depicted on the extensive menu. After settling into a padded booth or a cushioned chair, satiate hungry eyes with the rich wood décor and exposed-brick walls while mentally circling preferred staples such as the Irish Nachos—a blend of crispy potatoes and savory bacon warmed under a blanket of cheese ($8)—or the Fatty Melt, in which marble-rye slices swaddle a burger topped with corned beef and smothered in swiss, slaw, and thousand island dressing ($10). Or, peruse the array of soups, salads, sandwiches, and hearty pastas, such as the red-pepper vodka pasta, a pool of parmesan-tomato cream sauce swirling with italian sausage and mozzarella ($14), which can be paired with a refreshing draft beer such as a Boulevard Wheat ($4.50). Feel free to partner up any entree with one of more than 14 wines by the glass, such as an Ecco Domani pinot grigio, which, like da Vinci's famed painting of a lion clawing a Ferrari, comes from Italy ($7).
Jay Mathiesen cooked up Backyard Bash as a means to combine his passion for barbecue with his years of business experience. His dedicated team helps grilling fanatics navigate the store's collection of seasoned rubs, savory sauces, and recipe books. Mathiesen's collection of meat-heating paraphernalia also includes Weber grills and essential barbecuing tools and utensils. Neophyte grill masters can even enroll in cooking classes taught by award-winning chef Chris Marks. The topics of these classes range from how to prepare succulent ribs and grilled seafood to how to safeguard your eyebrows from overly exuberant flames.:m]]
At Blanc Burgers + Bottles, burger doesn’t just mean a basic grilled patty. In addition to American beef, there’s also hormone-free chicken, carnitas-style pork, and curried lentils among nearly 20 protein options. Chefs stuff or pile each with eclectic extras such as wasabi aioli, foie gras butter, and housemade pickles. Hand-cut fries, beer-battered cheese curds and onion rings, and chicken wings marinated in housemade sauce make for marginally less elaborate sides. Though the options might seem overwhelming, servers with deep culinary knowledge acquired by sleeping on a copy of the menu every night are on hand to sort through them all.
Though the burgers take a wide-ranging, global approach to their flavor palettes, Blanc’s décor is decidedly space-age American. Stylized orange starbursts and flocks of bubbles decorate white and glass walls around sleek furniture. Behind a long white counter recalling a luncheonette just opened in 1959, barkeepers pour wine, refreshing seasonal cocktails, and nearly 100 varieties of domestic, imported, and American craft brews, including steam beers, lagers, hop-rich IPAs, and specialty lambics. Even youngsters can hop on the craft-beverage bandwagon with more than 30 boutique sodas in flavors such as apple, blueberry, and pineapple, available with or without cocktail onions.
When brothers Derek Boone and Dustin Craighead made the leap to restaurant ownership from backgrounds in the electronics industry and tattoo-parlor business, they probably didn't guess that they'd be serving some of their signature dishes to Guy Fieri. Their rustic, roadhouse-like gastropub, Swagger Fine Spirits & Food, was featured in an episode of the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Fieri looked on as Chef Jerry Forness prepared the tempura-battered suribachi burger, which sizzles the taste buds with hot asian mustard and sriracha chili sauce. After he took a bite, Fieri noted the crunchiness of the tempura and the piquancy of the wasabi coleslaw, saying, "That is a lot of flavor, man." Of the chili made with Flying Monkey Amber Ale, the gregarious foodie murmured, "Mmm. That's a meal right there, dude."
The episode also showcased dishes such as the hot wings and a pulled-pork sandwich made with smoked pork shoulder and handcrafted barbecue sauce. Patrons balance out the spicy, savory flavors with close to 50 draft beers and more than 50 types of whiskey—about the same variety you'd expect in Hemingway's liquor cabinet.
For many steakhouses, the art of preparing a tantalizing cut of meat begins in a professional kitchen. But Plaza III The Steakhouse reaches back further, choosing cuts of meat from its own facilities where it ages corn-fed beef inside specialized lockers. Once the cuts reach the restaurant, they are displayed tableside or via limousine motorcade for prospective diners before the chefs char grill chosen selections. To complete the flavor profile, patrons need only peruse a wine list of more than 700 bottles.
This meticulous process of cultivation and presentation embodies the award-winning steakhouse's sophisticated approach to mealtime. Its menu spans ribs, chops, and seafood in addition to Prime aged steaks, and appetizers such as the hand-chopped tenderloin tartare—a dish lauded by Gayot as a "classic rendition … sprinkled with caviar."
Visitors bask in elegant dining rooms on two floors, which host live jazz and a dancing area on Saturday evenings. Parties of up to 64 guests can set up their fetes in private rooms, enjoying bacchanalias in the wine cellar and other intimate spaces such as the western-themed American Royal Room, which accommodates midsized gatherings.
Denise Ward grew up nourished by soul food that her mother skillfully prepared. After learning to prepare the same recipes herself, she dreamed of sharing them with other people. That’s why she and her husband, Perry, opened a soul food café in 1985, naming it Niecies Restaurant. In 2006, they expanded to a second location.
In the early hours, cooks grill pork chops for breakfast sandwiches and prepare signature plates such as the Sunrise Breakfast, which The Pitch asserts, “may be the best way to start any morning.” Later in the day, plates of fried catfish and barbecue brisket share table space with bowls of beef stew more comforting to stomachs than teddy bears eaten whole. Homespun desserts such as peach cobbler sweeten palates.
The food gets served in a comfy diner-style setting. Thickly padded booths line two long rows of front windows, and diner stools prop up guests at the counter—in case they want to reenact scenes from their favorite road-trip movie, such as Ben-Hur. Floral wallpaper hangs cozily over wood-trim wainscoting, and plates of pancakes can be seen on the shelf between the kitchen and the dining area for that fleeting instant before servers whisk them off to tables.