At Kalamata Grill, chefs show up in the wee hours of the morning to start prepping ingredients for breakfast. They populate the sizzling surface of their grills with rounds of pancake batter and eggs before putting away their waffle irons and omelet whisks just in time for the ensuing lunch and dinner rushes. Using herbs, citrus, and yogurt-based sauces, they add a Mediterranean touch to the seasonal vegetables, tender cuts of lamb, and tuna that accompany warm slices of pita bread or fluffy beds of basmati rice. They specialize in seafood dishes, such as the halibut kabob and calamari fritti, which showcase the ocean?s wide range of culinary offerings without the hassle of training a mermaid to act as maitre d'.
Courtside Diner invites guests to taste something "down home countrified," with their chefs whipping up every dish on the homestyle menu from scratch. After nabbing a seat at the counter, rising grill steam prophesies morning offerings of three-egg omelets and soft blueberry pancakes. During lunch and dinner, flames kiss juicy burgers, and a stone oven bakes New York style pizzas to a bubbly finish. As guests dress greens at the fresh salad bar, they can peruse the diner's collection of wall placards, which are emblazoned with motivational phrases such as Simplicity, Faith, Family, and Exit This Way.
Hanging blue lights illuminate the sushi bar at Saigon Bistro, where chefs slice, layer, and hand-sculpt rolls. Seaweed and rice shrouds the fresh fish, tempura, and vegetables of specialty rolls, while teriyaki and noodle dishes simmer in the kitchen. A variety of lunch specials pair eclectic Asian entrees with rice, salad, and soda, and a kids' menu grants youngsters reprieve from regular diets of peanut-butter sandwiches and plastic action-figure heads. Customers can feast in the chandelier-lit dining room and gaze back at the Asian ornamental stone lions positioned at the bar.
As a college student in Wilmington, David Berent picked up odd jobs in restaurants to get by. In the process, he stumbled into an unexpected love of the restaurant business, and in 2005 he married his love of cooking with his love of fishing and opened Blue Fin’s Bistro. In addition to presenting the eatery’s fresh seafood dishes and tangy ribs, Berent pays homage to his heritage with Italian pasta plates and marinated chicken dishes. To foster a strong community spirit, he strives to keep the restaurant small, refusing to fill massive orders of krill from hungry blue whales. And he still cooks the clam chowder himself, eager to please diners seated in the exposed-brick indoor dining area or chatting in the restaurant’s outdoor area.
Asuka specializes mainly in Japanese cuisine, but it also infuses its extensive menu with a variety of choices drawn from Korean, Chinese, and Thai culinary traditions. Sate a gale-force grumble storm with a plentiful entree such as the coconut flounder ($15.95), breaded, deep fried, and glazed with pineapple salsa, or the char-grilled rib-eye teriyaki ($17.95), marinated and glazed. If meat isn't your cup of protein, try a plate of tofu steak ($13.95), lightly dusted and seasoned, deep fried, and topped with sweet chili sauce, or delve into a magical undersea kingdom with Asuka's wide variety of sushi and rolls. Impress fashion critics by donning the sake don ($18.95), a chef's presentation of salmon sashimi on a bed of sushi rice, or the unagi don ($17.95), eel spread over a bed of steamed rice. Alternately, enter the green-dragon roll ($12.95), which welcomes taste buds with spicy fish salad and cream cheese wrapped with avocado and topped with masago wasabi and hot sauce.