Live music regularly reverberates off Samba Loca Brazilian Steakhouse's bright-red walls, which bear festive decorations of ethnic artwork and wine racks crafted from gleaming chrome. Patrons sit under the full bar's flat-screen TVs, around tables, or in booths as the kitchen’s Brazilian recipes power entrees of 10-ounce strip steaks and salmon doused in Brazilian honey-dijon mustard. Customizable meals come in the form of five grill-fired meats, including filet mignon and red snapper, which don one of nine traditional sauces splashed with notes of curry, blue cheese, or passionfruit. To help them to decide, patrons not fluent in Portuguese can rely on the menu's English and Klingon translations or gaze at screens that feature photos of Samba Loca's signature dishes.
For more than 50 years, Michael’s Restaurants have been sating foodies with a tantalizing menu of hand-cut, Prime Angus beef aged for at least 30 days and fresh aquatic fare. Diners can start a culinary journey through the Deep South with fried green tomatoes topped with lump blue crab in lemon-herb cream ($12). A 13-oounce bone-in filet ($37) satisfies the primal urge to gnaw, and the 24-ounce porterhouse, which combines a tender filet mignon and New York strip ($39), is suitable for sharing or consuming solo to impress a werewolf paramour. Guests can unite the immortal lovers surf 'n' turf by adding a Maine lobster tail ($16) or three grilled scallops ($6) to any steak. Wood-fire-grilled salmon over wild rice ($18) or grilled-chicken caesar salad ($12) appease lighter nibblers, and nonmeat eaters may savor the fettuccine alfredo ($12) or combine pan-seared pecan green beans ($4) with a wood-fire-grilled vegetable kabob ($4) to create a diverse epicurean garden.
For Culinary Institute of America graduate and MetroPrime Steakhouse Executive Chef Warren Weiss, the majority of work goes into steaks and seafood before or after they cook in the shop's 1800-degree broiler. He begins by dry-aging steaks, which allows the flavors to develop and the meat to tenderize before its cooked. Once cuts of prime rib, sirloin, and salmon have been broiled to perfection, he infuses dishes with flavorful sauces and sides. These range from a maytag blue cheese fondue to the sharp house worcestershire that complements the ribeyes.
Chef Weiss takes just as much care as when preparing seafood, whether pairing briny Atlantic oysters with sweet peppers, onions, bacon, tasso, garlic, and breadcrumbs, or tossing risotto with a splash of vermouth, seafood stock, and Maine lobster. Meals can end on an elegant note with a shareable portion of bruleed banana split or a sippable night cap.
Steak-Out prepares and delivers slabs of protein sustenance secured from 100% grain-fed American cattle. All entrees —such as the 8-ounce filet mignon ($18.75) and the 8-ounce grilled chicken-breast filet ($11.50)—are escorted across the plate by a salad, a roll, and a choice of a buttered and sourly creamed baked potato or garlic mashed potatoes. Spouses of sand-dwelling warlocks, including the sirloin steak sandwich ($7.95), carry extra baggage consisting of cheese, chips, and condiments. Desserts, such as a slice of the New York–style cheesecake ($4.50) or an oatmeal-raisin cookie ($1.59 for two), assist in smoothly transitioning imbibers into postmeal naps. Mini mouths can gnaw on a kids' meal featuring a palate-pleasing cheeseburger ($3.75) or chicken nuggets ($3.75).
Pauli's serves up a gourmet dinner menu of wood-fire grilled steaks, chops, seafood, and game in a romantic setting. Fresh seafood offerings are sourced from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and include such satisfying options as blue-fin tuna, pan seared and sprinkled with a mustard-seed vinaigrette ($31.25). Soothe stressed-out stress meters with the comforting powers of Pauli's shrimp and grits in an andouille cream sauce ($18), or absent-mindedly twirl durac pork-rib chops in a horseradish-mustard sauce, nestled next to grilled asparagus and mac 'n' cheese ($34.50). The 8-ounce wood-fired prime Angus-beef sirloin appeases growling infernos ($21), and the Alaskan halibut is potato-crusted and sauteed in lemon butter sauce ($33.50), sure to bring the tongue buds alive.
At Nick's Ristorante, Nick and Sherry Mikus emulate northern Italian recipes inspired by more than four decades of international traveling. In the kitchen, Chef Gerald works from a menu featuring dishes such as the Angel Hair Pasta Nicky, with shrimp, pasta, and thyme sautéed in a white-wine sauce with oregano and tomatoes. Certified Angus beef in cuts ranging from 12 to 20 ounces—voted Best Steak in North Alabama by the Alabama Cattlemen's Association—arrive with wedge salads and garlic mashed potatoes.
To allow guests to fully enjoy the flavors in these hearty Italian entrees, Nick's Ristorante's decor features oodles of elegance. Glass pendant lamps hang above the dining room from wrought-iron columns, where they cast a soft glow over the crisp black tablecloths that double as capes for hungry Batmen. Wines from around the world complement each meal, and patrons can slip into Nick's Ristorante's lounge to sample cigars from Perdomo, Victor Sinclair, and other producers.