Head chef Scott Sauer oversees a rotating menu of inventive cuisine catered to discerning Fresnan tongues fluent in gourmet. The dinner menu raises the curtain with an appetizing aria of jalapeno-enhanced sweet-potato fries ($9) or calamari ($10) dotted with roasted sweet peppers. The feta-cheese and poppy-seed dressing of the strawberry and spinach salad ($12) likewise provides a sweet counterpart to savory evening entrees such as the osso bucco–style short ribs ($27), served with braised greens and polenta cake, and the Peruvian potato-crusted salmon ($27). Dining dates, meanwhile, can keep their busy hands doggy-bag-free for a romantic evening of casino implosions and roller-tango with light entrees such as the petite filet mignon ($26) and the crab cakes with house-made tartar sauce ($16). Before capping things off with a dessert of cinnamon-raisin bread pudding ($6) or crispy boysenberry pie ($5), be sure to take a scenic detour among Max's extensive list of wines by the bottle or glass, draft beers, and specialty martinis, including the Pretty Woman ($11), which blends Stolichnaya strawberry, orange juice, and strawberry puree with a champagne float and a lock of Julia Roberts's hair.
Manhattan Steakhouse & Bar serves up an extensive menu of fine steakhouse dinner in elegant environs. An order of escargot in champagne, garlic, and parmesan butter ($10.95) or a breadcrumb-coated, fried brie-cheese wedge ($11.95) revs up stomach engines before main meal events. A vast selection of entrée salads offers an abundance of ground-grown sustenance ($6.95+), alongside hearty eats from land and sea, such as the New York Roquefort, an aged, black Angus topped with crumbled blue cheese ($26.95), or pistachio-crusted halibut ($28.95). With dim lighting and city-skyline décor, the eatery's ritzy mid-century vibe and long, full bar welcome guests to settle in for wine or decadent specialty cocktails, such as the white-chocolate raspberry truffle, a mix of Godet, Chambord, amaretto, and white cacao. Reservations, like wearing chain mail while wrestling a bear, are highly recommended but not required.
Samba's full churrasco dinner ($27) gives you VIP access to a bountiful all-you-can-eat experience in a festive (and occasionally dancing and drumming) atmosphere. The south-of-the-equator steakhouse's salad bar overflows with delectable Brazilian side dishes of paellela and feijoada, crab legs, shrimp cocktail, caprese, french fries, and an assortment of cheese and olives. Since Brazilians view vegetarianism as a fanciful if unproven concept much like string theory or the existence of chupacabras, this might just be the only place herbivores will find anything they can eat at Samba. From there on out, a carnivorous carnival parade of servers in gaucho pants will arrive tableside bearing marvelous char-grilled meats skewered on swords, which they will then carve before your very eyes. You'll have your choice of filet mignon, linguica, bacon-swaddled turkey, parmesan-dipped chicken wings, rock-salt-marinated top sirloin, pork short ribs, and more. See if you can hit them all—a culinary challenge when one factors in your table's endless sides of fried bananas, baked cheese bread, polenta, and special seasoned fries. Wash everything down with a classic Brazilian caipirinha($7) in three flavors or one of Samba’s Brazilian wines by the glass (starting at $6) or the bottle (starting at $22).
Opened in January 2012 by Bella Pasta owner Fabian Rodriguez, The Steak House’s chefs pay homage to the meaty cornerstones of American cuisine with a straightforward selection of top-quality steaks, fresh seafood, and succulent pork chops. Veal chops, ribeyes, new york strips, and porterhouses leave the kitchen for dinner dates chaperoned by a side of baked potato or rice pilaf and seasonal vegetables. At lunch, toasted baguettes or thick slices of texas toast sandwich meats such as tri-tip and steamy pastrami. The Steak House’s three-option dessert menu hearkens back to simpler times with an all-American slice of apple pie that comes crowned with vanilla ice cream or a frozen baseball.
Plates full of barbecue-glazed salmon, grilled sirloin, and country-fried steak emerge from the kitchen at Spike ‘n’ Rail Steakhouse, where chefs assemble hearty sandwiches and carefully spread sauces over meats. In the morning, patrons can sample breakfast dishes such as country-fried streak and eggs and breakfast burritos. Those who prefer a quieter meal can dig into their smoked prime rib on the outdoor patio, which overlooks a pond with burbling fountains and constantly gurgling fish.
At Tommy’s, candlelight casts dark wood wainscoting, burnt-orange walls, and stone floors in a warm glow. The elegant eatery—which has been hailed by Frommer’s as “the most creative restaurant in Visalia"—complements its environs with equally haute cuisine. Chefs serve succulent steaks on cedar planks and drizzle them with southwestern flourishes such as tequila-roasted green chilis, poblano cream sauce, and a single cactus tear. Additionally, Tommy’s stocks its wine cellar with an ample wine selection.