The scrape of knives being sharpened, flames shooting from the teppanyaki grill?these are but two signs that another meal has begun at Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse. Here, chefs toss teriyaki salmon filets and 22-ounce rib eye steaks with housemade sauces and seasonings, all before diners' eyes. The feasts come complete with Japanese onion soup, salad, shrimp, and grilled veggies.
While hibachi chefs man their grills, sushi chefs artfully assemble 20 specialty and deep-fried rolls. The latter category features a roll named for the restaurant itself?the Hibachi?jam-packed with filet mignon and cream cheese. Raw specialties, meanwhile, include the Halloween roll, a mixture of spicy and white tuna topped with black tobiko, a tastier alternative to melted-down candy corn. Complemented by more than 10 cocktails, feasts unfold inside Hibachi's five eateries in Independence, Fairview Park, Mentor, Highland Heights, and Erie.
Restaurateurs Nick and Giovanna Kustala split the duties of designing the menu at Vault Steak House, with Nick crafting the cuisine and Giovanna cultivating a list of wines to pair with the food. The main attraction is the 28-day dry-aged steaks, ranging from cuts of chateaubriand to 28-ounce delmonico steaks and 24-ounce porterhouses. Diners can add sauces and toppings to steaks as well, including blue cheese, béarnaise, and gorgonzola fondue. Elsewhere on the menu, the eatery's versatility is reflected in dishes such as white truffle and portobello ravioli and farm-raised, crab-crusted snapper with spicy mayo.
Knife tricks and bursts of flame enliven hibachi meals at Fuji Japanese Steakhouse, where chefs clad in bright red hats juggle steak and seafood over tableside grills. A sushi bar supplies an extensive list of flameless fare, and tempura and teriyaki dishes arrive at tables awash in their signature sauces. Groups of up to eight can withdraw to private dining chambers to practice human pyramids atop soft tatami mats.
The team at Player's Athletic Lager takes UFC seriously. During every event, they switch all 20 of their TVs to the fight and turn the sound on loud so that any punches can be heard in unison. That number of screens isn't overkill?the sports bar's high-top tables and open booths are often filled to capacity with fans, who sneak sips of beer and bites of ribs between each exchange of blows.
One look at Player's Athletic Lager's walls, however, and it becomes clear that this place isn't just about mixed martial arts. It celebrates all sorts of sports. Hockey memorabilia fills the space above diners' heads. The TVs might just as easily be tuned to international soccer or stock car racing. Pool tables and darts let customers partake in their own friendly competitions, provided they bring along their own personal anthropomorphic-chicken mascot.
Of course, all that cheering requires fuel?which, luckily, the kitchen provides in the form of classic pub-style fare made from scratch. Burgers are cooked fresh from never-frozen burgers, for example, and 12-inch pizzas can arrive laden with a variety of savory toppings. Player's Athletic Lager also fries up an impressive amount of finger food for Wing Monday, when saucy wings are piled onto plates at 45 cents apiece.
In 1976, Texas financier and pro-football-team owner Clint Murchison Jr. came to Miami to watch his team play in the league championship game. While he was in town, he stopped at a casual joint called Tony Roma's, which drew crowds every night with live entertainment and a simple menu. This included a house specialty people travelled miles to get: slow-smoked baby back ribs. As soon as Murchison tucked into a slab of the tender, richly seasoned meat, he knew he wanted in. His team lost the championship that year, but Murchison's investment in franchise rights paid off. New Tony Roma's locations started opening all over the country—and then around the world.
Today, people in 33 countries on six continents flock to Tony Roma's for the same ribs that impressed Murchison in Miami. Other classics include the appetizer onion loaf, which chefs hand cut, bread, and deep fry before dishing it up with barbecue sauce. Hearty dinner entrees plate steak, chicken, and seafood with an array of sides. Lighter sandwiches and burgers, like a baker's last-minute birthday presents, come wrapped in fresh, fluffy bread.
Working from within a historical Victorian house, the kitchen staffers at Crossing's Grill and Pub put an appropriately upscale twist on their pub food. They even gussy up traditional brunch and lunch selections with elegant flairs, topping french toast with Grand Marnier–marinated strawberries and tempering hot buffalo pork schnitzel sandwiches with honey. At dinnertime, they put away the griddle and prepare heftier entrees such as roasted muscovy duck breasts and gourmet meatloaf with chorizo.
To bolster meals, bartenders pour wine and beer from around the world, as well as craft specialty cocktails such as the Railway Caesar, with clamato juice, Russian Standard vodka, and piquant sauces garnished with a lime wedge and a cog from a steam engine. Adding to the fun, the dining room hosts live entertainment every Saturday night.