To lend Park Avenue's exposed-brick dining room its atmospheric lighting, the windows of its New York City skyline mural cast a faint white and green glow. The restaurant's mural and name aren't its only nods to NYC: there's also the Big Apple burger, which arrives smothered with fried mozzarella, bacon, avocado, a fried egg, and zesty salsa. The rest of the menu runs the gamut from bar staples, such as sliders and boneless wings, to steak-house classics including 12-ounce rib eyes doused with brown mushroom-cream gravy. Martinis, shots, and other drinks from the full bar complement these meals, which often precede late-night entertainment such as live bands and DJs.
Most buildings don't include a 13th floor, and for good reason. Far from simple superstition, the 13th Floor Haunted House bears out the worst fears of its visitors. Nightmares are unleashed as a group called the Darkstalkers, under the command of the powerful Harvester, prowl for visitors amid the shadows. And, once inside the Vault, intruders might find themselves unable to escape—and forced to balance the spirits' checkbooks for eternity.
Vicente, the resident chef at Gazpacho's by Las Tablitas, specializes in incorporating Mexican flavors into globally inspired dishes. In some cases, these are pretty straightforward—empanadas stuffed with sautéed spinach and caramelized onions, or shrimp tacos doused in chipotle sauce. But the remainder of his menu takes a more roundabout route to Mexican tastes. He fills savory crepes, for instance, with poblano peppers and corn, while his paninis sport ingredients such as grilled chicken, avocado, and herbed mayo. Each globetrotting feast unfolds amidst vibrant oil-painted canvases in a lively dining room, which fills with the upbeat sounds of live music every Friday.
Tapping in to fresh, local ingredients, the wing-slingers at Wing Barn offer classic appetizers and sides along with a made-to-order menu of Texas favorites. Jumbo-sized crispy wings—available in orders of five ($4.49), 10 ($8.49), and up—can be smothered in one of 14 original homemade sauces, including garlic parmesan, honey mustard, and cilantro chipotle lime. Teeth can sink into half-pound burgers such as the Ranch Hand ($7.99), as well as fresh salads and Texas State Fair–inspired desserts, including funnel cake, fried oreos, fried twinkies, and fried oil rigs. Head to the outdoor patio, settle indoors within eyes' reach of several big screens, or polish off a dozen of the hottest wings to win the Lava Wing Challenge, thus earning a place on the Wall of Fame and a seat in Valhalla.
While the heart of Johnny Carino's menu is rooted in genuine Italian traditions, forward-thinking creativity has birthed what they like to call their signature dishes. Led by executive chef Chris Peitersen, the seasoned kitchen staff blends fresh ingredients along with extra time to create high-quality, spiced Italian preparations. Diners will find entrees such as 16-layer lasagna with made-from-scratch sauce, and pizzas made with home-baked crust. Other signature choices include the spicy shrimp and chicken, baked stuffed mushrooms topped with house lemon basil cream sauce, and tiramisu made from the ground up. Entrees can be paired any selection from Carino's extensive wine list and drink menu.
In addition to re-creating traditional recipes from across the border, Costa Messa Restaurant's chefs occasionally inject a bit of American flair into their menu of Mexican home cooking. This leads to time-honored classics?including chicken enchiladas topped with mole sauce and queso fresco and crispy flautas stuffed with shredded beef?appearing alongside Tex-Mex dishes, such as chalupas, rice, and beans served in the shape of a Longhorn.
Ever since originally opening in 2002, the restaurant has remained unwaveringly devoted to these distinctive flavors, adding spicy chipotle sauce to chicken fajitas, loading corn or flour tortillas with everything from pork to sirloin, and serving whole, ranchero-style red snappers. As a demonstration of its support for the community, Costa Messa Restaurant spends Mondays donating 10% of the proceeds from diners' checks to various charities.