At Twister’z Premium Frozen Yogurt, guests line up to fill their waffle bowls and cake-bottomed cups with frozen-yogurt flavors such as mango, peanut butter, and watermelon. Next, they top off the creamy peaks with rainbow sprinkles, sour gummy worms, nuts, and crunchy cereal from a toppings bar that stretches for nearly the length of a wall. Before settling in to savor their calcium-filled, riboflavin-rich treats amid the shop’s bright-orange walls, guests must weigh their cups at the cash register. This pay-by-weight system allows for complete customization and may explain why helium-filled gumdrops are among the shop’s most popular toppings.
Inside this elegant eatery, undulating mirror segments reflect glimpses of signature kebab and kahari plates precariously stacked along the waiter's arm. Below small ceiling lights arranged like a constellation, tables are festooned with traditional clay-oven tandoori and masala dishes—but this is a small part of Noorani's ample repertoire, which ranges from Indian and Pakistani fare to a completely separate menu of traditional Chinese dishes. The staff prepares fresh fish and chicken coated in zesty sichuan, ginger soy, and orange sauces over noodles or tender rice. Guests, meanwhile, can load plates with cuisine from the 15-item daily lunch buffet and question regulars about Noorani Kabab House's live entertainment. The merriment syllabus presents comedy nights, concerts, and some guy who used a single chopstick to eat a bowl of hot-and-sour soup.
The scents of smoked barbecue, fried chicken, homemade mashed potatoes, and sizzling fish that emanate from the kitchens at Aunt Sarah’s Restaurant, now under new management, challenge its diners not to recall childhood days spent sampling their grandparents’ special recipes. The homestyle eats are available both à la carte and at private events held in the banquet rooms, where guests gather for breakfast, lunch, and dinner parties. Before departing, visitors stop by the onsite gift shop to pick up antiques, handmade floral arrangements, and jewelry.
Sharing is a must at Nile Ethiopian Restaurant. Orders arrive served atop communal platters, from which diners pluck bites stewed meats and vegetables using of injera, a sourdough flatbread made from the gluten-free grain teff. The batter ferments for three to four days, producing its signature tang and a spongy texture that's ideal for soaking up richly seasoned sauces and wine spills.
Staff are happy to explain the menu and the staples of Ethiopian cooking found on a menu that, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch, "offers enough diversity for the most seasoned diners but also provides novices an excellent introduction to Ethiopian food." Along with injera, the most iconic component of Ethiopian cooking is the powdered blend of chilies, basil, ginger, garlic, shallots, fenugreek, and cardamom known as berbere. This spice blend, prevalent throughout the menu, lends a pleasant kick to everything from saut?ed beef and stewed lentils to slow-cooked potatoes and a blend of cabbage and whatever vegetables happen to be in season. Those entrees that don't star meat are vegan, as the cooks make them without butter or dairy.
A review in Style Weekly lauded recent renovations at Nile, along with service that "couldn't be better." The sensory experience starts even before you enter: the little brick building in the Fan bears a huge mural of a black-and-white crowd scene on one side and a brighter, more traditionally Ethiopian array of colors and shapes on the facade.
Chef Todd Butler's culinary journeys have taken him to Finland, France, Japan, and the Netherlands in pursuit of new gastronomic techniques. Born in Germany and raised on America's East Coast, his story has had a globetrotter's edge from day one. His early interest in cooking was sparked by watching his mother and sisters' adroit navigation of the kitchen, and that's where he still draws his inspiration from today. He's synthesizing the flavors of the world in hopes of capturing the nearly universal joy of mom's cooking. His signature dishes highlight the accumulated wisdom of his travels, spotlighting shareable small plates inspired by French, Mediterranean, Latin American, Asian, and southern favorites. Todd's dishes highlight fresh seafood, such as lobster knuckle and rock shrimp, as well as rich cheeses, complex sauces, and high-end meats including pork belly, duck confit, and beef short ribs. Similarly, bartenders infuse spirits with everything from muddled berries and mint to scotch bonnet peppers to forge an equally adventurous cocktail list. The dining area at s@mple glows with the light of three wall-mounted Apple Mac minis, whose 24-inch LED monitors beckon diners to mediate video-chat disputes between salt and pepper. Patrons may also rent iPad 2s by the hour and use iPads and iPod Touches to send their orders directly to the kitchen from the table.
Cuisine Type: American breakfast and lunch
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 11?25
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Pancakes
Delivery / Take-out Available: Yes
Outdoor Seating: No
Pro Tip: Come ready to eat.
When asked what made her want to work with food, Regency Family Restaurant's owner, Lynn, put it simply: "Seeing how happy my food makes people." It's no surprise, then, that the breakfast-and-lunch eatery specializes in classic comfort foods from the North and South, with many options coming from family recipes. Three-egg omelets, New York?style breakfast sandwiches on kaiser rolls, and platters of french toast are served all day long, along with complimentary refills of coffee or tea. At lunch, burgers and Philly cheese steaks are served alongside hot, open turkey sandwiches smothered in gravy and accompanied by fries and cole slaw. As they sit at four-top tables or in plush booths, diners feast their eyes on the custom cakes leaving Lynn's kitchen on their way to special occasions.