Named after an island in Nigeria, Lagos Island Cafe captures the flavors of West Africa in dishes that range from the familiar to the exotic. Beneath an arched ceiling painted with depictions of lush foliage and pastel clouds, guests sample a smorgasbord of fried plantains, fresh tilapia, and sausage-encased scotch eggs. The restaurant’s chef calls upon more than 30 years of experience to create Nigerian dishes such as nkwobi—a delicacy made from diced cow feet—and draw phonetic transcriptions of their names on napkins.
Wingaritas' menu unites Mexican cuisine with classic American pub fare such as burgers, sandwiches, and an eclectic array of wings. Tequila lime and other traditional and inventive flavors, such as mango habanero and raspberry chipotle, cloak wings with more variety than the achievements section on Leonardo da Vinci's resumé ($12.95 for 15 traditional pieces; $14.95 for 15 boneless pieces). Seasoned chicken or shredded beef hides inside flautas' deep-fried corn tortillas ($9.95), and green sauce cascades down enchiladas verdes, which introduce chicken to chihuahua and monterey jack cheeses ($7.85). Like shaking hands with an alien, comprehensive combination platters bring together two worlds, allowing a smattering of wings to make merry with tacos, flautas, or quesadillas ($7.95–$9.95). Diners can grab a partner to divide and conquer the fajitas or take the journey solo, assisted only by an encouraging fork ($9.95–$17.95).
Kim’s Tea House Tapioca brews and blends flavorful tealeaves, coffee beans, tapioca pearls, and fresh fruits into palatable potions. Bubbling with a sea of sugary pastels and rich tea leaves, Kim’s menu drips with more than 150 varieties of teas, juices, smoothies, slurpies, and coffee to allay parched windpipes and rehabilitate tongues formerly banished to flavorless tundras. Sweet-seekers imbibe indulgent concoctions by outfitting beverages such as the honeydew cream tea ($3) or jackfruit smoothie ($3.25) with beads filled with tapioca, lychee, strawberry, and other inventive ingredients. Replenish levels of vitamins A and C with a glass of fresh carrot-orange juice ($3.25) or sample soothing leaf-based fusions such as the lavender green tea ($2.75), available hot or on ice. Break up slurping sessions with one of Kim's sandwiches topped with barbecue meat, avocado, and other savory ingredients to prevent teeth from growing restless and file a suit for tooth-fairy adoption.
Since the first restaurant opened in 2005, each Fish Place has shared an array of Cajun and creole dishes. In fact, the names of the seafood critters they blacken, boil, and grill daily—including catfish, shrimp, and oysters—are splattered across the restaurant's wallpaper. But, when deciding on a meal, it's the hand-painted chalkboard menus one usually turns toward. The picture-filled boards showcase the eatery's lineup of traditional New Orleans-style seafood entrees, which are complemented by sides of jambalaya, gumbo, and especially polite hush puppies. They round out their menu with hearty seafood po’ boys and tacos decorated with jalapeño mayo, cheddar jack cheese, and crema fresca.
Fish Place cooks everything fresh daily and its specialty is crawfish. The New Orleans–inspired eatery preps the crustacean in several classic ways, from cooking up just the tails to brewing an étouffée. Of course, the menu would be remiss to exclude specialties such as shrimp etouffee, crawfish etouffee, seafood jambalaya, stuffed jalapenos, and boudin balls. Other Southern staples include blackened catfish, shrimp jambalaya, and chicken and sausage gumbo. The sides ring authentic as well, complementing entrees with helpings of red beans with rice and hush puppies, so named because their deliciousness causes diners to speak in an awed whisper for several days.