The staff at Tropical Café patrol the restaurant’s perimeter constantly, spears in hand. They’re not on guard duty, though. Rather, they’re servers, carving off portions of freshly roasted Brazilian barbecue. They stop at every table, offering their savory cargo to diners who have flipped their personal dining card green side up, indicating that they might be in danger of consuming plant matter from the extensive salad bar if more meat does not arrive soon.
The taste of culture doesn’t stop at the barbecue, however. Tropical Café fills weekends with live musical performances of South American and Brazilian folk music. Wednesday evenings are devoted to karaoke, the classic contest made more interesting by participants who sing with mouthfuls of meat.
In parts of Brazil, families and friends come together during a centuries-old tradition called churrasco. At these festive barbecue-style gatherings, hosts cook enormous amounts of food, and guests eat until they're stuffed. Inspired by that tradition, Elaine Lima opened Brazil Grill with a similar vision in mind. Here, the grill runs all day, rolling out an assortment of juicy meats that includes pork loin, ribs, lamb, and top sirloin presented in a colorful buffet alongside vegetables and other Brazilian-style sides. It's a simple setup that makes guests feel as at home as they would at their own friend's barbecue.
Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse schools appetites with a menu of succulent meat and fine oceanic fare. Enter the eatery’s two private dining rooms, and nosh on nautical morsels of chilled jumbo shrimp paired with treasure troves of black pepper cocktail sauce ($14). Beef tailors fit appetites around slabs of traditional prime rib ($30 for a regular cut), petit filet ($36), and new york sirloin ($38), saucing and styling them in rare form, upon request. Scope undersea selections of fresh Atlantic salmon ($28) or seared ahi tuna ($28) before spearing side dishes of lobster mac 'n' cheese ($14) and piles of red-skinned mashed potatoes ($7).
Most chefs don’t want to hear about how they should prepare a meal; but at Providence Prime chefs welcome patrons to share how they like their premium steaks to be cooked and served. Located on historic Federal Hill, the steakhouse offers diners a chance to order steaks topped with a blue-cheese or horseradish crust, or smothered in bernaise or hollandaise sauce. Steaks are served with side dishes such as mac-and-cheese or peas and bacon, and options from the sea include crab legs, yellowfin tuna, and fishermen's boots. Desserts such as housemade tiramisu, key lime pie, and vanilla-bean crème brûlée finish out each meal, which can be paired with a selection from a list that offers more than 300 wines.
Most chefs tend to specialize in a particular cuisine, such as Italian or sushi. Prezo Grille & Bar's executive chef, Tim Vaillette, however, prefers to specialize in a little bit of everything. His main menu runs the gamut from classic American burgers to Barcelona-style swordfish served with rice pilaf. He also draws inspiration from Italy, topping the house-made dough of his thin-crust pizzas with ingredients such as buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, meatballs, and caramelized onions. To complement Tim's far-reaching menu, Prezo's bartenders serve an extensive selection of cocktails and craft beer, as well as more than 20 wines by the glass and 50 by the bottle.
Feasts unfold in Prezo's upscale, romantically lit dining room or in its similarly lit bar, where four plasma televisions stay tuned to the latest sports game.
As Italian eateries go, Peppercorn?s is a chameleon. Entrees can be elegant?grilled salmon over mesclun, steak tips with a seafood casserole?or downright comforting, such as a pot roast with natural pan gravy. Families have an easy time ordering thanks to the thin-crust pizzas and kids' menu, whereas more mature crowds enjoy the benefits of Peppercorn?s proximity to Wormtown Brewery. The craft-beer producers are just next door, so they keep Peppercorn?s bar stocked with their regular brews, rare offerings, and to-go growlers. In the lounge, seven high-definition flat screen TVs broadcast the day?s athletic proceedings, and here spectators can order anything off the full menu while they second-guess the manager's decision to replace the catcher with a pyramid of fragile milk bottles.