Hibachi chefs are expected to be great entertainers, deftly flipping cuts of salmon or filet mignon from a tableside grill onto diners' plates. However, at Fujimi Sushi and Japanese Steak House—formerly Ajimi of Union County—showmanship also takes place behind the scenes. Sushi chefs arrange red salmon and succulent white tuna into sashimi roses, and red-snapper sashimi nestled on a bed of ice stays more perfectly chilled than a snowman trapped in a refrigerator. Signature rolls include the American Dream with rock-shrimp tempura, lobster, and crabmeat, as well as the Cobe, a fusion roll with tuna and filet mignon. Guests can venture farther into fusion with a tuna pizza laden with fresh herbs, avocado, and spicy mayo.
A well-rounded meal at Amor de Brazil Steakhouse will include picanha and caipirinha. The first is rotisserie-grilled top sirloin, skewered and carved at your table. The second is Brazil's national cocktail: crushed ice, lime, sugar, and sugar-cane rum. The servers at the restaurant—known as "gauchos," or ranchers—will happily teach newcomers how to pronounce these signature items, as well as the rest of the meats that they slow-cook in traditional churrasco style.
There's linguica, or cured pork sausage, lightly seasoned; cordeiro, or lamb, flavored by a mint marinade; and filet mignon, which, like the best camp care-packages, can arrive wrapped in bacon. Chicken, pork ribs, and rib eyes also make an appearance on the rodizio menu, and side dishes at the salad bar range from imported cheeses to roasted red peppers. Just feasting on the food is an experience in itself, with gauchos reporting to your table whenever you'd like to replenish your plate. But Creative Loafing Charlotte attests that the ambiance is also a draw—the room "positively oozes a fun spirit" and hosts Brazilian dancers in elaborate headdresses on certain weekends.
Hot pot soups brimming with ingredients such as chicken and chinese herb wine sizzle at the center of the table, enticing diners to cook their own morsels of seafood, meat, and veggies by dipping them into the spicy chicken broth. Hot pot is one of The Dynasty Cuisine’s specialties, but the Chinese eatery’s expert chefs render further DIY cooking obsolete. Executive chef and owner Joe Lam, who has been concocting Chinese eats for the past 25 years, relishes in creating dishes that pair contrasting flavors and textures, such as delicate cellophane noodles intertwined with tender meats. Meanwhile, dim sum chef Eddy Zhang, who has experience working at six-star Chinese hotels, concocts bite-size shrimp dumplings and fried shrimp balls, both of which offer a refreshing alternative to the American tradition of swallowing steaks whole.
A chef slices the pineapple straight down the middle—stalk and all—and scoops out some of its sticky-sweet insides, leaving a hollow oval bowl. Then he fills it with a jumble of seafood—shrimp, scallops—scattered with chunks of the pineapple's innards. The extravagant seafood dish, known as the piña cantamar, is just one of many Mexican seafood specialties at Tacos & Tequila Cantina Grill. In addition to the piña cantamar, the menu includes south-of-the-border versions of red snapper, crab legs, and lobster. And for more traditional tastes, the restaurant also offers fajitas, tacos, and burritos—but any dishes goes well with one of its top-shelf tequilas, which can be served in a margarita.
Started by brothers Eugene and John Jetts back in 1978 in Sterling Heights, Michigan, the two created a signature deep-dish pizza that was the talk of the town. What really set it apart were its square shape and fresh ingredients. Over the years, Jet's Pizza grew into several additional locations, before eventually graduating to the corporate big leagues when Jet's America was born, 14 years later. Today, more than 200 locations sling those same square pies across 13 states, embracing the company's slogan of "Life is short. Eat better pizza." with a menu of customizable and specialty pizzas, sandwiches, and appetizers.
At just 18 years old, Mena's Mediterranean Grill owner Mena Effat has two goals: serve delicious, yet healthy food at affordable prices, and stand as an inspiration to young female entrepreneurs. Inside her restaurant, Mena oversees a menu built around Mediterranean specialties, with a hint of Mexican for good measure. On it, shish kabobs, seafood platters, and potatoes stuffed with ground beef populate the entrée section, while sweets such as baklava and apricot pudding headline various desserts. Fruit smoothies carry Mena's health-attentive tune, including freshly cut mango, strawberry, and lemon.