There's no body of water in El Marlin Latin Cuisine's immediate vicinity, but you might forget that upon entering its maritime-themed dining room. Life preserver buoys, paddles, and pictures of fish adorn the walls, setting an appropriately nautical tone for feasts of marlin skewers and seafood-filled pineapple. Of course, not everything at El Marlin hails from the ocean. Lime flavors succulent pork chops, while vegetarian-friendly scoops of mac and cheese sizzle on the plate. To complement meals, the restaurant's bartenders handcraft cocktails and pour wines from a massive cellar that houses reds, whites, and people hiding from tornadoes.
Every day at all of El Nopal’s locations, cooks whip up fresh batches of salsa, chips, and beans. The sauces and sides accent chicken or beef chimichangas, handmade tamales, and nachos smothered in cheese. All El Nopal locations offer complimentary chips and salsa with every meal, and some locations have outdoor seating areas. Performances by live bands at select locations serve as a pleasant distraction from meals, unlike a judge with highfalutin ideas about not eating in court.
At Sol Aztecas Mexican Restaurant, culinary craftsmen forge authentic Mexican feasts from homemade ingredients, marinated meats, and fresh seafood. Specialties range from the extra meaty chicken-and-chorizo burrito to the seafood fajitas with shrimp, crab, and scallops. The full bar lubricates esophagi with Mexican beers, daiquiris, and five fruity flavors of margarita, including classic lime and tropical mango. Monthly mariachi-band performances invigorate the venue, and karaoke Sundays allow diners to share heavy-metal anthems that evoke their favorite periodic-table entries.
Chef Rafael Hernandez creates a shareable menu of fusion tapas paired with tempting drinks in Habana Blues's new location. Shareable small plates such as sushi-grade tuna tartare marinated in sesame oil and crème fraiche make taste buds swoon while diners battle their companions for temporary custody of datiles rellenos—dates stuffed with goat cheese and Spanish chorizo, drizzled with smoked honey, and wrapped in bacon. A trio of black bean, garbanzo, and roasted-red-pepper hummus slathers wedges of pita bread accompanied by olives and red onions. Guests can select a sippable treat from a menu of sangria, wines, beers, and cocktails such as the sumptuous coco martini with vanilla vodka, coconut cream, and nutmeg, or make a filibustering toast to the freedom of speech with a classic Cuba Libre.
Chefs at Sato's Zen Sushi & Sake strive to create entertaining cuisine. Their 26 varieties of specialty maki rolls—filled with ingredients such as fried soft crab, barbecue eel, and spicy salmon—bear whimsical names, such as Pink Floyd or the Flying Sea Monster. Covered in blazing Devil's Blood Sauce, the 6 Feet Under roll adds an element of competition to meals; patrons who successfully consume the extra-hot concoction get their roll for free.
Sato's chefs also surprise palates with fusion-style dishes such as the Jalapeño O-toro, which pairs sliced, fresh tuna belly with jalapeño and cilantro. The two-person zen fondue melds tempura-fried seafood and gooey melted cheese, hearkening back to the days when Japan and Sweden were connected by a naturally occurring cruise-line buffet. Myriad styles of sake, including peach and plum, accent the food.
Takeout Taxi shuttles restaurant meals straight to homes, businesses, and hotels, striking up partnerships with restaurants across Lexington. From barbecue to Italian and Indian to Thai, Takeout Taxi’s roster of more than 20 participating eateries includes El Toro Mexican Restaurant, Back Yard Burgers, and Casanova Italian Restaurant. To start the dining process, you can view menus online, consult each of your 10,000 taste buds, and place an order directly on Takeout Taxi's website. In 30–60 minutes, drivers-turned-mobile waiters arrive carrying meals that are still hot, still fresh, and still convinced that they're on their way to Disney World.