Skewered cuts of sirloin, brazilian sausage, and pork ribs rotate slowly over a sweltering grill, their savory juices producing a rhythmic hiss as each drop hits the metal. This is churrasco, Xodó Grill's specialty. Once the traditional Brazilian barbecue has roasted to a tender finish, the staff slices off juicy morsels for customers to pair with 12 types of salads and a slate of hot dishes from the colorful buffet. Heaping plates of fried yucca, picanha, and cheese bread await the scales, which customers use to pay by the pound and Lady Justice uses to smuggle extra cuts of steak.
Even in the morning, Clearman's Steak 'n Stein Inn takes its name seriously. The brunch menu lists five cuts that form the centerpiece for steak-and-egg platters, and the steak lover's omelet comes filled with three: filet mignon, new york strip steak, and rib eye. As for the "steins," drafts of Hefeweizen and Stella Artois begin pouring as soon as the restaurant opens.
Evening heralds the arrival of the restaurant's romantic side. A circular fireplace warms a ring of plush crimson benches, and soft, amber lighting illuminates the dark wood and brick interior and its stained-glass windows. An open charcoal fire roasts steaks, fish, and chicken for ample entrees, from the 16-oz. boneless rib eye to the Australian lobster tail dinner. Combination dinners allow guests to sample both steak and seafood without taking their backyard grill on a fishing trip. Supper ends with carefully hand-fired desserts, such as crème brûlée cheesecake.
Cuts of filet mignon aged up to 35 days steam under coats of béarnaise sauce, and kurobuta pork chops glisten with drizzled necklaces of cherry butter. Skuna Bay-Vancouver Island craft-raised salmon mingles with a citrus-saffron marmalade and seared diver scallops flaunt a garlic-dijon beurre blanc. At Manhattan Steak & Seafood, chefs see the culinary world as a grand soiree, mixing and mingling plates accessorized with stunning sauces and accents—each capturing its own admirers. Their fish have flown in from around the world and their steaks have been aged more than a month, but even these can’t overshadow the fraternity of wild game: bison, elk, boar, and ostrich.
The aromas of pepper and garlic fill the restaurant's five themed rooms. The "Red Room" derives its name from richly upholstered crimson booths, which stand in contrast to stark white walls. The wine cellar is illuminated by sconces set into castle-like stone walls. Jazz musicians descend on the lounge area Wednesdays–Saturdays, prompting foot-traffic on the hardwood dance floor. Live music also adds a distingué touch to the Sunday champagne buffet brunch, which features tables of colorful pastries, carving stations brimming with meat, and unlimited champagne.
Perched atop the hills of its namesake, Orange County Mining Co. pairs an eight-part champagne brunch with 19th-century nostalgia, as wagon wheels and cacti impart a rugged prickle to the restaurant's cozy atmosphere. The brunch offerings warm diners with carved prime rib and ham, cheese blintz, and other toasty tastes, before cooling palates with iced shrimp, snow crab legs, and lox. Ravenous miners can pile culinary ore into made-to-order omelettes, pancakes, and waffles, or gather steam with tamales and menudo at executive chef Horacio Barragan's Mexican station. To cap off appetites, baked delicacies and other sweets are either devoured or skewered for a dunk in the chocolate fountain.
Clearman's Galley, which started as a hamburger stand with patio seating in 1968, has become a whale of a restaurant: its patio alone can seat 90 people, and the restaurant itself, resembling a fishing shack built by mer-giants, holds 300. But locals are still likely to call it "The Boat." The origins of that name are visible in the chipper red-and-white boat that sits outside, but to fully uncover its backstory, diners would need to take a waterproofed time machine back to 1913. In those days, that boat was a real, seaworthy vessel on the Pacific Ocean that ran mail between San Francisco and Alaska. In 1968, it docked permanently on Huntington Drive and transformed into a hamburger stand, and when owner John Clearman decided to expand the restaurant, he simply dug a shipping canal and brought the boat along with him.
Today, waiters carry plates of the galley's signature cabbage salad and cheese bread to scores of hungry families. The rest of the menu is still stocked with casual grill food: fried chicken, chili cheeseburgers, and cod dinners grace tables alongside 25-ounce beer steins, which bartenders fill with more than 20 imported and domestic brews on tap. Sunday breakfast brings pancakes and breakfast burritos, and at most hours of the day, diners will notice that the Galley has a third love in addition to good food and the sea: sports. Staff root alongside customers for teams from the NFL and the local T-ball league alike, and games flash across no fewer than 16 HDTVs.