Samba's menu spans continents, uniting dishes toasted over the leaping flames of a Brazilian grill with those cooked in the heated clay interior of a tandoor oven. Samba's signature rodizio dinners deliver skewered meats to tables, where they are carved by servers directly onto diners' plates. Picanha, a cut of beef, is a popular choice. For those who would rather not indulge in the all-you-can-eat option, the picanha burger?covered in mozzarella, grilled mushrooms, and peppers?offers a taste of the Brazilian beef.
Indian offerings include seven types of naan bread, chicken tikka masala, and biryani rice entrees. Samba serves Mediterranean as well, from hummus appetizers to shish kebab lunches and pizzas dotted with feta cheese.
Though the food comes from various regions, the venue positions diners under the same sky?or at least a ceiling charmingly painted to mimic the clouds. Samba also celebrates birthdays with exceptional fanfare: drums, tambourines, and song, instead of the traditional treat of fine-dining establishments, a lobster clutching candles in its claws. This excitement also extends to the upcoming 2014 World Cup beginning in June, during which the restaurant will air the contests with a family-friendly atmosphere.
When owners Vanessa and Ron Wilkerson were opening Samba Rock Acai Café, they encountered many roadblocks along the way. For instance, the city assessed there would be a $30,000 traffic-impact fee for their restaurant. So the duo improvised. They built an indoor bike parking area, reducing the fee while still providing customers a place to park their wheels. This is just one example in which Ron has defied what some might see as a career-ending set-back. In 1988, the former professional BMX Freestyle rider fell into a coma after failing to land a no-hander, no-footer trick on his bike. Though some might have given up after a life-threatening experience like that—he suffered short-term memory loss and even forgot some of the BMX tricks that he had pioneered—Ron got back on his bike. And if he hadn’t, he would never have traveled to Sao Paolo, Brazil, met Vanessa, married her, or opened Samba Rock Acai Café.
The menu at Samba Rock Acai Café pays homage to the country where the Wilkersons met and where Vanessa grew up. Blended Brazilian berries and mix-ins, such as bananas and peanut butter, make up the base for their acai bowls. They crown this base with toppings such as fresh fruit, avocado, coconut cream, and granola. Their smoothies also feature acai, as well as organic ingredients, which have never been tainted by spray tanners to look more appealing to customers. To round out their South American-inspired menu, they serve yerba mate—steeped leaves of the mate plant—with acai to sweeten each sip.
At Bentley’s, some dishes come and go with the seasons, but customer favorites—such as USDA Choice steaks, seafood, and ribs—remain a familiar presence on the menu. Chefs douse baby back ribs with a special house sauce before nestling them beside a baked potato or fries. They also wrap 8-ounce slabs of filet mignon in bacon before grilling them. The same care goes into lunchtime salads, sandwiches, burgers, and ribs, which speed from kitchen to plate, leaving diners with enough time left on their break to pen a love letter to their boss. Cocktails, including four alcohol-infused varieties of lemonade, balance the savory entrees with their sweet flavors.
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.
With an Old West atmosphere and grill-centric menu, Joe's rounds up hunger, ropes it, and brands it "V" for vanquished. Sandwiches, burgers, and char-grilled delectables offer lunch and dinner eaters a meaty respite from the vegetation-laden workaday world. Bovinophiles can swoon over the Philly cheese sandwich, a pile of tender, marinated pulled beef cheese-bathing on a ciabatta lounge chair ($8.95), or the Cowboy Burger smothered in barbecue sauce and topped with bacon, onion rings, and melted pepper jack ($9.95). With Joe's signature steak menu, committed carnivores can sink canines into an array of cow slabs portioned to all manner of appetites, from the 6-ounce ranch steak ($12.95) to the 20-ounce porterhouse ($30.95). All steaks are served with warm bread, soup or salad, sautéed veggies, and choice of baked potato, mashed potatoes, or rice pilaf.
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