For many steakhouses, the art of preparing a tantalizing cut of meat begins in a professional kitchen. But Plaza III The Steakhouse reaches back further, choosing cuts of meat from its own facilities where it ages corn-fed beef inside specialized lockers. Once the cuts reach the restaurant, they are displayed tableside or via limousine motorcade for prospective diners before the chefs char grill chosen selections. To complete the flavor profile, patrons need only peruse a wine list of more than 700 bottles.
This meticulous process of cultivation and presentation embodies the award-winning steakhouse's sophisticated approach to mealtime. Its menu spans ribs, chops, and seafood in addition to Prime aged steaks, and appetizers such as the hand-chopped tenderloin tartare—a dish lauded by Gayot as a "classic rendition … sprinkled with caviar."
Visitors bask in elegant dining rooms on two floors, which host live jazz and a dancing area on Saturday evenings. Parties of up to 64 guests can set up their fetes in private rooms, enjoying bacchanalias in the wine cellar and other intimate spaces such as the western-themed American Royal Room, which accommodates midsized gatherings.
The tobacco, the wrapper, and the roll. On the surface, a cigar may not seem overly complex, but Fidel's Cigar Shop celebrates the depths of its nuance in head-to-toe humidors that lock in and preserve earthy flavors harvested from Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, and elsewhere. The shop's staff educates guests on the inventory of more than 300 varieties, with specialized flavors and finishes akin to a fine wine's bouquet or a gourmet coffee's roast. Along with rows of cocoa-colored cigars tucked into cedar boxes, Fidel's also outfits aspiring aficionados with humidors, lighters, and cutters. In lively, social settings, regular events showcase new boutique products from exclusive estates, and the onsite Graycliff smoking lounge swaddles smokers with cozy seating, WiFi, and three LCD TVs, allowing them to relax as smoke-eating air purifiers erase the one-sided games of tic-tac-toe played with smoke rings.
"Sleek and shiny and glamorous" is how The Pitch's Charles Ferruzza described Cafe Trio in a 2009 article reviewing the eatery's at-the-time new location, although his praises didn't stop there. He also doled out compliments about Executive Chef Adam Yoder's European-inspired food, which earns a rating of very good to excellent from Zagat.
In the glow of paper lanterns, colorful paintings crafted by local artists hover over plates of Faroe Islands salmon roulade and hand-cut tenderloin fillets, which diners can enjoy while gazing out at the fountain and trees of Mill Creek Park. Outside, an expansive deck—open year-round—offers alfresco dining through the warm summer months, as well as unobstructed views of the resident snowmen of Country Club Plaza throughout the winter.
Beneath a chandelier made from wineglasses, mixologists concoct drinks with techniques that come close to alchemy. Specialty cocktails include a red-wine martini that marries pinot noir with Chambord and vodka, and edible cocktails—dubbed "drops"—are solidified through a secret molecular process akin to the one that turns cotton into cotton candy. Though spirits abound, beer drinkers aren't forgotten; the bistro imports nearly 100 types of bottled beer from all over the world, with an emphasis on microbrews. Small plates also draw visitors, especially in groups, as the chef's flatbreads and platters of dried fruits, meats, and artisan cheeses are ideal for sharing. Those who prefer individually portioned meals can enjoy entrees such as caramelized sea scallops with a cauliflower purée.
Surfboards hang from the ceiling alongside hammock-like netting to create a beachy atmosphere inside the landlocked Shark Bar. Patrons cluster around colorful bench-style seats or high-top tables to sip refreshing island drinks, such as rumrunners and the signature Beach Pail punch. Wait staff dressed as lifeguards mix drinks behind a wood-slatted bar adorned with a giant flip-flop left behind after Paul Bunyan's 21st birthday party. At night, disco balls illuminate and black lights transform the bar into a neon dance floor with a soundtrack set by in-house DJs.
The soulful pulse of Kansas City beats outward from The Drum Room’s historic dining room inside the Hilton President, where modern track lighting illuminates photos of jazz legends gone by and classic cocktails complement a dinner menu of urban comfort cuisine. Chef Eric Carter bridges the gap between homestyle cooking and cosmopolitan delicacies, drawing on local and seasonal ingredients to evoke a double-sided nostalgia for childhood and the height of the Jazz Age—when the restaurant first opened its doors. Tables whose wood still shivers with the excitement of meeting Frank Sinatra in 1941 host diners as they carve through grilled beef-tenderloin medallions ($30) or succulent cuts of smoked rib eye glazed with red wine ($34). A subtle kick of caffeine comes courtesy of the coffee-rubbed porchetta and caramelized scallops ($22), which keeps bellies alert with a side of red-eye gravy and a garnish of finely ground fire alarms.