As the sun sets over Lake Minnetonka, the chefs at Sakana Sushi begin to sharpen their knives in advance of the evening?s dinner rush. With a cooler full of fresh fish at their disposal, it?s up to them to turn choice cuts of salmon or yellowtail tuna into artfully arranged orders of maki and sashimi. Their selection highlights the delicate nature of their ingredients, with 16 specialty rolls pairing these tender morsels with premium fillings including lobster, caviar, or Michael Jordan rookie cards. However, the chefs don?t stop at sushi; they embrace Thai recipes when spooning yellow-coconut curry into a stone bowl and honor Chinese flavors in sizzling plates of Sichuan kung-pao steak.
These cuisines' aromas all mingle in the dining room, where four-seat tables extend all the way from the front windows to the open sushi bar at the back. Although pendant lamps illuminate the sushi chefs, the rest of the space is lit by track lighting that remains firmly fixed to the abstract red, green, and blue fixtures that dot the ceiling.
Nestled among the trees that surround Lake Minnetonka, Tommy's Tonka Trolley's bright yellow exterior and neon signs lure in passersby with promises of summertime treats and adventures on the water. Their fleet of kayaks and standup paddleboards accommodate beginners, who can launch their chosen vessel from a special floating dock built by the nation's best sturgeon architects. Before sending customers onto the scenic lake, Tommy's crew instructs them on proper usage and supplies maps showcasing various on-water locals.
Back on shore, staff members serve selections from a menu of hot dogs, sandwiches, and tasty treats. Scoops of Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream, lauded as one of the nation's best ice creams by USA Today, pile onto waffle cones and chill taste buds with flavors that range from salty caramel to coffee oreo.
Since 1984, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with made-from-scratch dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable atmosphere. Amid sunlit dining rooms, diners seated at wooden tabletops can root for their favorite pixels on flat-screen TVs broadcasting live sports. In the kitchen, chefs prepare pastas with grilled chicken and roasted artichokes, pile buns with barbecued pulled pork and spicy buffalo chicken, and fill soft taco shells with grilled steak. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with wine and local craft beers on tap.
Crossroads Delicatessen dishes out a menu of deli sandwiches and dinner items all made from scratch. At lunch, traditional sandwiches such as the grilled open-faced corned-beef Reuben ($12.99) or its equally open-faced sister, the turkey- and pastrami-topped grilled Rachel ($12.99), satiate those desiring bread-bookended eats. Set sail in bowls of matzo-ball soup ($5.49), or mouth-machete your way through the foliage of Scott's famous strawberry chicken salad ($11.99), topped with grilled chicken, roasted walnuts, fresh strawberries, and poppy-seed dressing. Dinner items range from deli mainstays and homemade specials, such as the Chicken-In-A-Pot, boasting half of a chicken simmered in a pot of matzo-ball soup, vegetables, and noodles ($15.99), to favorites such as a full rack of knuckle-coating baby-back ribs, served with coleslaw and choice of potato ($19.99). Saturday breakfast and Sunday brunch are also available for week-start warriors.
Lone Spur’s menu offers a massive selection of tasty eats known to spark spontaneous “Yeehaws” and unprintable Deadwood quotes from dining city slickers. Master cooks harness a slow-cooking heat to ensure that each brisket emerges from the pit 14 hours later in a delicious smoky cloud that won't try to kill you like the monster from your favorite island program. After a lunch of sandwiches and ol’ Mexico bites such as the buffalo burger ($9.50), brisket melt ($7.95), and lunch taco burrito ($7.75), you can ride back through town for some dinner barbecue (any two meats, $12.95; any three meats, $15.95), which includes Texas toast; a choice of cole slaw, potato salad, or soup; and a choice of seasoned steak fries, ranch house beans, cornbread, or baked potato with your beef, pork, or poultry order. If you still miss the danger of high noon shoot-outs, Lone Spur offers a chili so hot it requires a signed release before consumption. And if you can't take the heat, try the smoked sautéed pork barbecue ($11.45, Texas size $13.95) or three pounds of turkey leg ($12.95) instead. For dessert, dive into a hot fudge brownie stampede ($4.99) or Texas saucy banana ($4.99), just like real cowboys did before they settled in for a night of pillow fights and painting each other's nails.
Aladdin's Restaurant & Cafe offers fresh-made and eclectic menu selections of Mediterranean-inspired fare in a stylish café setting. Start a day of sailing through jet streams, land water, and meat cravings off right with the sustentative gyro breakfast, a pita piled with eggs, gyro, cheese, and veggies ($5.49), or hop across nearby Lake Minnetonka for a hearty Greek turkey melt panini, served with a side of savory cucumber sauce ($6.49). Aladdin also offers salads ($4.49+) and 10" pizzas ($8.99+), along with a full menu of coffee bar creations, such as the caramel macchiato ($2.80 for a small, $3.40 for a large), a steaming sweet treat strong enough to revive even the most exhausted former mermaid.