Wadfords isn’t exactly a bar and grill—it bills itself as a “grill and bar,” and the variation on a familiar formula indicates the neighborhood hangout’s attention to the food as well as the drinks. A team of three chefs oversee the grill, using it to produce juicy burgers, Caribbean chicken, French-cut pork chops, and steak filets, which they refuse to cook well-done. Along with pouring from a diverse wine list, mixologists blend a candy store’s worth of sweet flavors into 17 specialty martinis, including flavors based on Almond Joy bars, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and a mystery blend promising “Jagermeister . . . and other surprises.”
High ceilings and exposed ductwork give Wadfords a bit of industrial chic, but below them is a space designed for community, with long, central rows of tables that make it easy to get the inside scoop on a neighbor’s plate of crab cakes or make sure the bartender didn’t give someone else a bigger wedge of lime. Sports games on TVs behind the bar and, on Wednesday–Saturday, live music curated from around the region provide further avenues for socialization.
From the elegant and elephant-arted confines of their new Southaven restaurant, Bangkok Alley’s Thara and Dottie Burana keep the fresh fish swimming into their lunch and dinner dishes, where they morph into schools of sushi and Thai concoctions both creative and traditional. Starters such as the shrimp hompa—which envelops its shrimp with golden-fried panko and sweet-and-sour sauce ($6)—irrigate parched mouth-deserts to create an inviting climate for the seafood keow han, a mélange of shrimp, scallops, and the fish of the day served in green curry with basil sauce ($20). Otherwise, silence the howls of were-stomachs with heartier fare such as a grilled strip steak and panang sauce served with grilled asparagus and squash ($20), or a panang curry underscored with a coconut base and garnished with chopped Kaffir lime leaf (up to $14 with choice of protein).
With claims to more than 200 first-place trophies and participation in 55 barbecue grand champions, 10 Bones BBQ boasts a menu of comfort-fare favorites crafted by seasoned pit masters. An opener of fried pickles ($7.95) or the sausage-and-cheese plate ($8.95) warms up taste buds before they hit marathon stride over a dish of succulent barbecue. Longing jaws will tear into the tender half slab of grand-champion baby-back ribs, pausing only to take in two sides, such as fried okra or a cup of chili ($17.95). Finger foodies can pair the large pulled-pork sandwich ($6.75) with corn on the cob or french fries, or leave it alone to reflect in a pool of its own palatable juices. A slice of pecan-bourbon or peanut-butter pie helps diners wipe up faces full of sauce before switching seats to start all over again ($3.95).
At Leelavadee, flickering candles cast a buttery glow on tender morsels of chicken, beef, and shrimp simmering in spicy curries and homemade ginger sauces. Kitchen doors and portals to other dimensions fly open to reveal dedicated servers, their arms lined with plates of crispy duck, salmon steak, and stir-fried noodles. Meals arrive at blonde wood tables surrounded by Thai-style wall art that features elephants and pastoral hunting scenes.
Home to a vast lineup of dairy-based frozen treats, Bruster's makes its ice creams, yogurts, and waffle cones fresh every day in-store. The menu boasts everything from a turtle sundae ($4.99) to a regular cone ($2.74+) or homemade waffle cone ($3.67) filled with one of the multitudinous ice-cream flavors, such as Monkey Madness––with banana ice cream, buckeyes, and marshmallows––or Chocolate Lover's Trash––chocolate ice cream filled with chocolate chunks, chocolate-covered peanuts, chocolate butter toffee, chocolate krispies, and receipts from visits to the biannual cocoa consortium.
As with rainbows, nations, and Model T's, burritos contain a rag-tag team of savories that are more robust combined than apart. Qdoba embraces Henry Ford's innovative ideas with an all-you-can-choose buffet of fresh ingredients ready to be stuffed into burritos, tacos, and more through a superfast assembly line of professionals. Choose the protein packer of your choice from pulled pork, adobo-marinated steak or chicken, and shredded or ground beef, or opt out of the meats and head straight to the beans. Simmer over the option of cumin-simmered black or pinto beans before you top your treat with any of five unique salsas and four original sauces. Taste the gooey flavor accents of the signature queso sauce (a three-cheese blend with roasted poblanos, tomatoes, and jalapeños, or try a smoky poblano pesto made with roasted peppers, cilantro, and nuts with creamy, hand-smashed guacamole.