Eleven varieties of meat, from flank steak and pork ribs to tender leg of lamb, sail off skewers at Bombasha Brazilian Steakhouse, recently dubbed by Urbanspoon as one of America’s most popular high-end restaurants. Speedy tableside service, courtesy of Brazilian gauchos, keeps plates piled high with each succulent slice of meat, which diners can pair with side dishes such as fried bananas and yucca. Fresh greens and smoked salmon from the salad bar prologue feasts, and homemade Brazilian desserts close the evening beside signature caipirinhas conjured from sugar-cane liquor, sugar, and zesty lime.
The story of Sperry’s Restaurant began in Jacksonville, Florida, with famed restaurateur and hotelier Burton W. Sperry, whose reputation for fine food and sterling service made him the toast of the South in the late 1800s. Fast-forward to 1974, when Sperry’s descendants—eager to uphold their great-great-grandfather’s commitment to dining excellence—started their own restaurant to honor his memory. Since opening its doors more than three decades ago, Sperry's Restaurant has expanded to two locations and developed a loyal following thanks to its continued dedication to cooking palate-pleasing steaks and seafood entrees and bending over backwards for its guests. The aroma of crab legs and bacon-wrapped filet mignon converge to form a culinary siren song for diners sitting at tables made from the hatch covers of World War II Liberty ships.
Under the tutelage of chefs Jason McConnell and Carl Schultheis, Red Pony has come to be recognized as one of the area’s finest dining destinations. Working together for several years has melded the duo’s diverse cooking styles into a complementary mélange of delicious flavors. Red Pony’s décor consists of warm, reddish tones, rustic oak accents, and exposed brick, while the menu offers a concise selection of cosmopolitan flavors that will have you galloping through a prairie of taste. Appetizer selections roam the globe with such dishes as tuna Napoleon with sushi rice, seaweed salad, and tempura flakes ($9); grilled lamb chops with Italian salsa verde ($12); and guacamole with crispy jicama and fresh corn tortilla chips ($9). Chomp on fresh leafage with the grilled pear and roasted beet salad with Bonnie Blue goat cheese and sherry vinaigrette ($7.50).
After honing his culinary chops at restaurants owned by Disney, Marriott, and the Wyndham Union Station hotel, chef Angelo launched a local bistro and steakhouse that makes dining feel like a vacation. Here, he stuffs whole racks of lamb with fresh basil, garlic, and feta cheese and sautés veal picatta in white wine and capers. To accommodate diners with dietary restrictions, they also prepare vegetarian and gluten-free items, such as a baked eggplant with zucchini, squash, organic spinach, and a tomato-based broth as light as cotton candy spun from summer sunbeams.
In addition to delivering grilled beef tenderloins and cowboy rib eyes, attentive servers uncork bottles of wine from around the world during dinner and special events such as tastings and private parties. Live music wafts through the restaurant Thursday–Saturday as the house pianist tickles the ivories from 6 p.m.–9 p.m.
At Nick's Ristorante, Nick and Sherry Mikus emulate northern Italian recipes inspired by more than four decades of international traveling. In the kitchen, Chef Gerald works from a menu featuring dishes such as the Angel Hair Pasta Nicky, with shrimp, pasta, and thyme sautéed in a white-wine sauce with oregano and tomatoes. Certified Angus beef in cuts ranging from 12 to 20 ounces—voted Best Steak in North Alabama by the Alabama Cattlemen's Association—arrive with wedge salads and garlic mashed potatoes.
To allow guests to fully enjoy the flavors in these hearty Italian entrees, Nick's Ristorante's decor features oodles of elegance. Glass pendant lamps hang above the dining room from wrought-iron columns, where they cast a soft glow over the crisp black tablecloths that double as capes for hungry Batmen. Wines from around the world complement each meal, and patrons can slip into Nick's Ristorante's lounge to sample cigars from Perdomo, Victor Sinclair, and other producers.