Owner Dalton Espaillat can be stubborn when it comes to what he allows in his kitchen at Three Amigos Mexican Grill and Cantina. He won’t permit premade sauces, or anything but the freshest vegetables and meats. He insists that the previous day’s rice, beans, and stove be discarded, and that new batches be whipped up in their stead. Dalton’s team of skilled chefs is more than happy to oblige, nimbly folding their ingredients into Mexican specialties lauded by reporters from CBS Charlotte as the best in town. The culinary team also specializes in traditional seafood dishes such as camarones a la diabla, loaded with plump shrimp. The kitchen staff extends their culinary expertise to a sweeping array of enchiladas—including the enchiladas poblanas with mole that reporters from Creative Loafing praised as “boldly complex” and “densely flavored.”
Come nightfall, the chefs turn their attention to a late-night menu of Dominican specialties, from empanadas to chimi burgers—ideal snacks after a long night of dancing or rustling oxen. Customers await their meals out in the lively dining room, clinking glasses of micheladas and freshly squeezed margaritas.
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.
Toast Café's resident chefs greet early and midday birds with a menu of New York–style brunch. Reward early rising appetites with the Sunrise burrito ($5.95), which ferries a triumvirate of scrambled egg whites, brie, and avocado into drowsy mouths. All manner of fresh fixins get wrapped up in an egg blanket on the omelet menu. The Northwestern regales taste buds with goat cheese and fresh herbs ($8.95), and the greek omelet, with its savory mélange of fresh spinach, tomatoes, and feta ($8.95), makes palates pop with an attic flavor combination more authentic than eating a kalamata olive wrapped in a first edition of The Odyssey. The eatery festoons tables with an updated take on a classic sandwich with the Left Coast BLT with a splash of avocado and slices of brie piled between slices of wheat bread ($8.95).
In 2003, brothers Sammy and Marvin Young began selling slow-smoked meats from street corners to honor the memory and home-cooked recipes of their mother, Sadie. They insisted on smoking the meats in a 16-foot wood pit smoker instead of with gas or incense sticks, maximizing the flavor and tenderness of each sandwich and plate they served. This dedication to slow, old-fashioned barbecuing helped them gain a loyal following of foodies, who praised the brothers for their juicy brisket, succulent turkey legs, and fall-off-the-bone ribs. Thanks to their initial success, the duo's business has grown and now boasts a state-of-the-art food truck, which delivers smoky meats and comforting Southern sides and desserts to business lunchers and catered events throughout the Carolinas.
Fresh, seasonal flavors flow through the Mexican specialties at Verde, from guacamole prepared table-side to sizzling fajitas steeped in homemade marinades. Made-in-house sauces, chipotle peppers, and a sprinkling of queso fresco add touches of spice and authenticity to each dish, served in a bright green dining room.
Restaurateurs Jon and Kim Dressler have passed their name to a pair of eateries that carry themselves with a classy swagger, confidently hosting refined American dishes created by executive chef Scott Hollingsworth. Steak and seafood headline both dinner menus, and the Metro’s upscale luncheon appeases midday patrons looking to escape their cubicles and collect a few sandwich calories. Dressler's also offers on- and off-site catering for special events; the Metro location provides an outdoor patio with delicious views of the city’s gravy-drenched skyscrapers.