The layout of Rio Rodizio is telling: with a candlelit dining area in one section and a long bar lined with flat screens in another, it's as much a place to take a date for a romantic meal as it is a spot to grab a drink after work. In the dining room, gaucho chefs carve cuts of lamb, beef, and pork right at the table, forcing diners to clear plate space next to seared fish, homemade pastas, and sushi rolls drizzled in flavorful sauce. Like a home that's been decorated by robbing a furniture store in the dark, the cocktail menu is a fusion of tastes, its Asian and Brazilian proclivities represented by sangrias, tropical juices, and sake.
For Sam Mickail, food is autobiographical. Born in Cairo, the first spices he smelled were hearty Mediterranean blends. He then spent most of his childhood in France surrounded by the cooking of world-class chefs, eventually leaving for Switzerland to turn his love of food into a bona fide culinary craft. Now, in America, he channels all of these influences and global experiences into cooking, lending his talents to numerous restaurants and further exploring all the cooking styles that inspired him throughout his life. This surfaces most clearly in Sam Mickail’s CUT Steak House, where he’s free to put international twists on the time-honored tradition of cooking delicious steaks.
Sam coats his filet mignons and porterhouses in delicious béarnaise, au poivre, or perigourdine sauces, according to his customers’ wishes. He also serves fresh oysters at his raw bar, slathers lobster tails in butter, and batters escargot with a champagne crust, a creation he calls drunken snails for their complete inability to slither in a straight line.
Bloomfield Steak & Seafood House dishes up a dry-aged menu of steak, seafood, and Italian classics. Dinner guests marvel at the building’s 341 years of history before being startled into the present by the wild-eyed stare of angry jumbo shrimp ($12), a spice-flecked starter that careens from the kitchen still glistening from the pan. Having undergone 28 days of in-house dry-aging, steaks, such as the 16-ounce new york strip, fill plate centers, flanked by a garden salad and a choice of garlic mashed potato, baked potato, yellow rice, french fries, or broccoli ($36). Pelagic delights swim amid the menu's steak islands, as well, singing siren songs with such entrees as jumbo shrimp stuffed with jumbo lump crabmeat and butter sauce ($22) and add-on options including broiled 6-ounce lobster tails ($16). Moods can be marinated in soft drinks ($2), house wine ($21/bottle), or a selection of draft beers and spirits.
Strip steak, prime rib, or filet mignon--the chefs at A&W Steakhouse have yet to meet a cut of beef they don't like. Wet-aged for 14 days, the pepper-crusted black Angus prime rib oozes flavor, and the pan-roasted filet mignon finds a worthy partner in white truffle fries. Then there's the sauces to choose from: bourdalaise, brandy pepper-cream, or cabernet reduction. Even the beef-averse can delight in such dishes as the herb dijon chicken roasted in a fresh blend of spices, pan-seared Ahi tuna served over black fried rice, and the double-cut pork chop atop a bleu cheese mash with apple relish.