Veteran chefs prepare Stir Crazy’s Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes on sizzling woks right in the dining room. So while diners-to-be ponder the menu of more than 50 traditional and innovative Asian creations, they'll witness knives quartering veggies and flames lapping at the edges of the wok as the sights, smells and sounds of the kitchen come alive around them. Should your taste buds riot at the sight of all this mouth-watering action, satisfy them with an appetizer like the Ahi tuna and avocado poke ($8), a spicy stack of fresh fish and cool veggies. For main courses, choose from an array of entrees like the sweet and sour chicken, a dish featuring tender pieces of crispy chicken tossed with broccoli, red and green peppers, onions, carrots, and pineapple in a sweet and tangy sauce ($12.50). Or manage your intake with the Crazy Feature menu, which offers smaller-in-portion but towering-in-flavor classics like Mongolian beef or sesame chicken, served with a crispy veggie spring roll (all $8.88).
Diners' eyes rise as soon as they enter Grand Buffet's front doors, gazing up toward the ornate crystal chandelier that dangles from the ceiling and casts its gentle glow throughout the dining room. Beneath this glimmering light, guests have the opportunity to indulge in a menu of regional Chinese cuisine inspired by recipes found throughout the country. Dishes such as spicy, Hunan-style chicken, moo shu pork, and fiery, Szechuan-style beef represent the menu's broad geographical scope. Lobster fried rice, vegetable lo mein, and other familiar favorites help round out the selection. To ensure that their cooking can be tailored to suit almost any palate, the chefs are willing to adjust the amount of spice in certain dishes. These entrees can feature anything from a mild, warming spice to an incendiary amount of heat that could turn an ice sculpture into a steam sculpture.
The Tan brothers grew up in the restaurant industry, as their father was a renowned chef of China. At Rong Tan's, this trio of siblings brings its family traditions to the states with a menu honed overseas. Diners can savor sichuan-spiced lobster stewed with veggies or order the Empress chicken, lightly fried and served on a throne of pure gold. Rice and noodle dishes, house specialties—including the orange-flavored beef—and vegetable options round out a menu with dozens of entrees.
The carved bodies of fierce dragons, their eyes aglow with neon red lights, corkscrew about Magic Wok’s foyer as if awakened by the aromas of Sichuan, Hunan, Mandarin, and Cantonese dishes. In the dining room, lime-green walls come alive with red tapestries, accented by canary-hued Chinese pictograms. After polishing off a Thai-style fish fillet, guests retreat to the bar to sip plum wine, elixirs wrung from apples and pineapple, or champagne with all the bubbles picked out.
When thinking of the country's best waterfront restaurants, many people probably think of destinations in Hawaii, California, and Florida. In fact, one of them is right outside Indianapolis. Rick's Cafe Boatyard has been named 1 of the 100 Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants by both OpenTable and Restaurant News. Its wraparound deck boasts dozens of tables, at any of which guests enjoy panoramic views of Eagle Creek Reservoir and the sailboats anchored in the restaurant's 100 boat slips.
This setting is just part of what has earned Rick's a spot among the Indy A-List's five most romantic restaurants every year since 2007. Inside, there are two banquet rooms?the Diamond Room with exposed, vaulted ceilings reminiscent of a ship's hull and the Pearl Room. In the main dining room, there are potted palms with coastal vibes, where diners can listen to live jazz shows on weekends and a variety of music on other nights.
Of course, Rick's wouldn't be so popular if it was serving mediocre food. Guests would do well to start their meal with the award-winning Maryland crab cakes and to try the Atlantic salmon roulades, which are rolled in spinach and boursin cheese before they're cooked in a wood-burning oven. Though rooted in fresh seafood, the menu is surprisingly extensive and also includes steaks, chops, sandwiches, and wood-fired pizzas.
The rich browns of dark wood and supple leather immediately comfort guests who step into Taverna's sleek 5,000-square-foot space. The kitchen, helmed by Executive Chef Aaron A. Blake, lives up to the promise of the decor with a menu of comforting pub fare that doesn't skimp on innovation. Here's what some local press has to say about the offerings:?
From the Press
"Chef Aaron Blake takes on some ambitious recipes, like a luscious appetizer of bacon-wrapped seared scallops over a leek cream, and a well-executed Kona-crusted New York Strip . . . served with a well-balanced chocolate?red-wine reduction that will change your attitude about sauces on fine steaks." ?Indianapolis Monthly
"The food . . . is really quite extraordinary . . . Nothing sang louder than the delicate, buttery, flaky orange roughy with a light pepper and dill crust, nested on a bed of oven-dried tomatoes and a flawless lemon beurre blanc." ?Unite Magazine
"Asian-inspired tuna tartare, rich gnocchi, and a Kona coffee-crusted New York Strip demonstrate the kitchen?s considerable skill." ? Eater