In the kitchen at Amigo Mexican Restaurant, it all goes back to the tortilla. After wrapping itself tightly around marinated and sautéed beef, chicken, or shrimp, the humble breadstuff reconfigures itself into myriad dishes from a menu of both traditional and inventive Mexican cuisine. Large tortillas bursting with beans and veggies welcome dollops of sour cream and cheese, whereas their smaller counterparts submerge themselves in enchilada sauce or embrace the buddy system as part of more than 30 combo platters. House specialties do occasionally veer away from the famous flatbread; the Guakimaki burger combines Angus steak with a healthy spoonful of the kitchen’s signature made-from-scratch guacamole. That same guac also enhances the flavor of traditional platters of golden chimichangas and flame-kissed fajitas. In addition to listing out prospective feasts, the menu also denotes low-carb options, which helps diners keep track of their nutritional intake while still eating like royalty.
The chefs at Poblanos Mexican Cuisine set their Mexican dishes apart through their use of fresh ingredients. For ceviche, they combine shrimp and tilapia with avocado and lemon juice, preparing the seafood without heating it to give it vibrant flavor. For tamales, the chefs keep the preparation traditional by wrapping the corn masa and seasoned steak or chicken in real cornhusks, then slow-cooking them until they are tender. Poblano-chili slices add kick to the entrees, and mango pico de gallo helps tongues cool down. Diners can end meals with a seasonal dessert or by quaffing beers chosen from the line of bottles on the bar or the pyramid of bottles balanced on the bartender's forehead. On Wednesday and Friday evenings, live jazz bands can also entertain guests with toe-tapping melodies.
Though Mexico is our neighbor, O.K. Jose's menu is extensive enough to read like a letter to a long-lost relative. In the kitchen, cooks top grilled nachos with shrimp and chorizo, stuff tortillas with spicy chicken and sauteed onions, and smother baked potatoes with cheese sauce and salsa. On karaoke nights, guests take a break from their meals to belt out tunes into a microphone topped with guacamole and sour cream.
Under the glow of golden chandeliers that hang down from wood beams overhead, a trio of performers sits on the slightly elevated stage at 3 Brothers Deli & Brewhouse, which now resides at a brand new location. On nights with live music, the eatery's interior buzzes with visitors who sip craft beers and dig into freshly constructed sandwiches or burgers stacked with hand-formed patties. On Mondays and Tuesdays, visitors can stop in to test their knowledge during trivia night, showing off their ability to recall obscure historical facts such as which side won the Revolutionary War.
Above all else, Hixson Pike Diner embraces the southern hospitality that originally inspired its owner to leave Hawaii and make Chattanooga his home. The menu of down-home classics features breakfast items served throughout the day, allowing patrons to enjoy buttermilk pancakes or southern fried chicken and waffles regardless of what soap opera is on TV. Although the cooks mainly re-create staples such as burgers and country-fried steak with gravy, some of the dinner items draw inspiration from Hawaii, including grilled fish glazed in homemade pineapple-barbecue sauce and the sweet-and-savory Aloha Burger garnished with a grilled pineapple slice.