No less visually dazzling for its lack of movement, sushi rolls from the nearby bar spiral outwards in riots of color, from the deep red of tuna to the bright white of fresh rice. Nagoya snagged the title of Best Sushi from Mississippi magazine in 2013 and 2010, as well as Jackson Free Press's 2014 award for Best Sushi. Gathered around a table-sized grill, guests ooh and ahh as shrimp and steak somersault through the air, eggs crack open mid-fall, and veggies sizzle in a ring of shooting flames. The agent behind these daredevil feats? Nagoya Japanese Cuisine & Sushi Bar's expert hibachi grill masters, who deftly prepare meals before wondering eyes with dramatic flair and a craftily wielded spatula.
Wadfords isn’t exactly a bar and grill—it bills itself as a “grill and bar,” and the variation on a familiar formula indicates the neighborhood hangout’s attention to the food as well as the drinks. A team of three chefs oversee the grill, using it to produce juicy burgers, Caribbean chicken, French-cut pork chops, and steak filets, which they refuse to cook well-done. Along with pouring from a diverse wine list, mixologists blend a candy store’s worth of sweet flavors into 17 specialty martinis, including flavors based on Almond Joy bars, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and a mystery blend promising “Jagermeister . . . and other surprises.”
High ceilings and exposed ductwork give Wadfords a bit of industrial chic, but below them is a space designed for community, with long, central rows of tables that make it easy to get the inside scoop on a neighbor’s plate of crab cakes or make sure the bartender didn’t give someone else a bigger wedge of lime. Sports games on TVs behind the bar and, on Wednesday–Saturday, live music curated from around the region provide further avenues for socialization.
Sean Thongsiri learned to cook alongside his mother and grandmother in Vientiane, Laos, but it was a lot of trial and error. Getting the best food for his dishes was easy, though. He frequented the town's market, where he culled relationships with local farmers and fisherman to ensure the best possible product. This is a practice he still clings to as head chef of Ele Fine Fusion restaurant, where his modern fusion style is alive in the food, as well as the decor. There, in the glow of handsome blond sconces and colorful landscape prints, guests sit on banquettes and enjoy sushi rolls, crispy duck, and steaming curry dishes, many fashioned with fresh organic vegetables.
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Legend has it that Fred the frog traveled to his pond's outermost limits seeking the secrets to a happy life—flavorful fare and faithful friends. The Froghead Grill honors Fred's findings by showcasing a menu brimming with innovative Cajun-infused American cuisine.
The chefs at El Potrillo prepare authentic Mexican dishes using quality ingredients such as USDA-certified Angus beef, crisp vegetables, and housemade sauces. House specialties brimming with sweet scallops and pork carnitas arrive on sizzling molcajetes—traditional Mexican cooking tools made of volcanic rock. Healthy dishes include spinach enchiladas topped with green tomatillo sauce and chicken fajitas, all part of the massive nine-page menu that also features classic margaritas, wine, and imported and domestic beers.
Chefs Aaron and Felicia Kent at Kent's Cajun Kitchen cater parties and get-togethers with trays of piquant Cajun fare. Cajun barbecue or hot wings emerge from a small tray or a personal dressing room to perform daring nosedives into included blue-cheese or ranch dressing. Friends and family fill unoccupied stomach space with a selection of cool, creamy chicken-salad sandwiches. Sides of chips quell cravings for a savory crunch, and pickles are ideal for spiking during a touchdown celebration if the buffet table runs out of footballs. Although not included in today's Groupon, Kent's Cajun Kitchen also offers catering and family meal deals.