The multitalented chefs at Hong Kong House are equally adept at perform feats of filleting on searing hibachi grills as they are at crafting delicate sushi rolls from fresh ingredients. A perusal of the MSG-free menu alights on a number of tempting appetizer attributes to kick off a savory meal, including the sideways strut of the soft-shell crab ($7), the flexing of baked mussels ($4.50), or the screaming tantrums of the shrimp tempura ($6.50). With more than 15 sushi rolls to choose from, diners can get their protein fill from the barbecue eel ($9.75) and yellowtail ($4.50) sushi rolls, or coast through a sea of nigiri ($1.50/piece) and sashimi ($1.25/piece) morsels.
Standing in a smoky kitchen, with fine particles of coffee chaff drifting through the air, Darrin knew he had found his calling. It all began with a book, in which Starbucks chief Howard Schultz describes his first taste of freshly roasted coffee. For Darrin, it was as an epiphany: he had to give coffee roasting a shot. And so, standing in his kitchen with whisk in hand, he roasted the first of many batches of coffee.
Fast forward to today, and Darrin's motto is simple: to roast the best coffee possible. At Darrin's Coffee Co., he roasts a handful of different coffees as often as James Bond hires a new martini maker: weekly. Darrin then sells the resulting blends in 6- or 12-ounce bags. Brewed varieties include dark espresso, creamy lattes, and the grasshopper—a blend of green coffee, chocolate, and vanilla.
Inside Brunchies, servers carry plates of traditional American diner food, though many were prepared with health in mind. In keeping with the restaurant's name, chefs prepare breakfast and lunch dishes throughout the day. Their signature creations range from a skillet stuffed with cheddar, hash browns, and sausage topped with egg to french toast coated in corn flakes and topped with fruit. They also craft plates of buttermilk pancakes and egg-white omelets, and they stack sandwiches with steak, breaded pork tenderloin, or health-focused ingredients such as grilled chicken and avocado.
Proprietors Kent and Liz Esra set three main goals when they opened Cobblestone Grill. First, they wanted to create a gourmet menu that would adapt to evolving tastes and trends. Second, they emphasized customer service, aiming to provide attentive care to every table. Finally, they aspired to provide a warm atmosphere. Achieving all three objectives, the Esras offer a menu with three steaks and six preparation methods, cheerful table service, and live entertainment.
Whether crusting a 6-ounce filet mignon with blue cheese or submerging fettuccine in tequila-cream sauce, chefs take care to plate dishes with finesse. Servers bring these meals to patrons at the dining room, bar, or brick patio, navigating around jazz and blues musicians. On Monday nights, weather permitting, dogs are welcome to lounge on the patio, lap complimentary water, and bemoan the collapse of the housing market with their companions.
In front of an 1868-era house—still painted its original avocado green—a spacious front porch extends to welcome guests. Not much has changed since the 19th century; the elegant yet simple space is outfitted with historic details—antiques, period lighting fixtures, ornate rugs—which lend it its timeless grace. In fact, the house still hosts etiquette classes, usually on the topic of table manners or the proper times to cough during a eulogy. The staff hosts a traditional English tea, complete with freshly brewed pots and dainty dishware. Lunch and brunch echo the lighter bites of teatime: plates of sandwiches, salads, and scones sate appetites without distracting from the thoughtful conversation echoing among the tables.