For many steakhouses, the art of preparing a tantalizing cut of meat begins in a professional kitchen. But Plaza III The Steakhouse reaches back further, choosing cuts of meat from its own facilities where it ages corn-fed beef inside specialized lockers. Once the cuts reach the restaurant, they are displayed tableside or via limousine motorcade for prospective diners before the chefs char grill chosen selections. To complete the flavor profile, patrons need only peruse a wine list of more than 700 bottles.
This meticulous process of cultivation and presentation embodies the award-winning steakhouse's sophisticated approach to mealtime. Its menu spans ribs, chops, and seafood in addition to Prime aged steaks, and appetizers such as the hand-chopped tenderloin tartare?a dish lauded by Gayot as a "classic rendition ? sprinkled with caviar."
Visitors bask in elegant dining rooms on two floors, which host live jazz and a dancing area on Saturday evenings. Parties of up to 64 guests can set up their fetes in private rooms, enjoying bacchanalias in the wine cellar and other intimate spaces such as the western-themed American Royal Room, which accommodates midsized gatherings.
"For many Cardinals fans, Mike Shannon has become as much a part of Cardinals baseball as the 'Birds on the Bat,'" Cardinals chairman William O. Dewitt, Jr. once said. Shannon played his first Major League game as a Cardinal in 1962, and took the field as part of three World Series teams. And he's stayed part of the organization for more than 50 years, moving from the dugout to the broadcasting booth, and becoming an Emmy-winning sportscaster in the process.
Today, Mike Shannon continues to celebrate his Cardinals legacy at his eponymous sports bar. Visitors are greeted at the entry by a trophy case stocked with awards from Shannon's personal collection, illuminated by repurposed gym lights. On another wall, more than 500 baseballs bear the autographs of greats including Ted Williams, Stan Musial, and Mickey Mantle. The Grill is far from a kitschy sports bar, however?in one room, guests sip pisco sours at a gleaming zinc bar set against walls the hue of a night-game sky; in another, they cut into steak oscar at lamplit tables in stately leather booths.
Though the menu does have an upscale slant?featuring classic dishes such as roast chicken with brussels sprouts and seared jumbo scallops?there's burgers and fries, too, which diners dig into as they watch the game on one of the 18 flat-screen TVs. Outside, they can sip beers around the firepit or their neediest friend on a patio that overlooks the Park at Plum Creek.
Once a ramshackle ice-cream store with a loyal Akron following, today Zack's Fire and Ice serves barbecue along with its cones with help from new owner and former pastor Randy Stewart and his wife, Kathy. The Stewarts have lived in the Southwest and up and down the East Coast, so rather than adhere strictly to any one regional barbecue style, they synthesize their favorite elements from a number of traditions to create an eatery with the welcoming spirit of a backyard cookout. The kitchen slow smokes brisket, ribs, pork, and turkey breast and slathers them with sauces such as honey and apple bourbon. Frozen treats such as sorbet and frozen yogurt stay chilly at the ice-cream counter alongside hard-packed ice cream in flavors such as pumpkin pecan, oatmeal cookie, and Superman, designed to freeze enemies’ brains faster than a speeding bullet.
Add some sepia tone and photo grain, and a snapshot of Hereford House could make it pass for an old Western saloon. But the photo would actually be of a modern steak house that churns out aged steaks, seafood, and ribs—the same fare that put Kansas City meat markets on the map at the turn of the century. In the dinner menu, most everything walks across the grill before being served. The steak oscar entree eschews the barriers that separate land from sea by teaming up a 6-ounce filet mignon with jumbo lump crab pilfered from crustacean birthday parties and pan-seared to perfection. Juicy tenderloin medallions come smothered in red-wine demi glace, and oven-roasted cuts of salmon arrive in pools of garlic herb butter.
Family owned and operated since 1991, Jimmy’s Family Steakhouse is a temple to all things meaty and all things hearty. The steakhouse's owner Jimmy, named after his future restaurant, hand-cuts each of the many steaks cooked to order, including the house special 8-ounce rib eye ($8.99), 20-ounce top sirloin ($18.99), 16-ounce T-bone ($17.99), and chopped steak special ($7.49). The steakery also preps and serves myriad seafood and pasta specials and daringly dips into the eclectic well of Greek cuisine, with classics such as the gyro sandwich ($6.49), which rubs Zeus-like shoulders with the greek salad ($5.49) and souvlaki ($6.29).
It's not just the diners that socialize at Mingle?the small plates rub shoulders too. Shareable, stick-to-your-ribs dishes such as bacon cheddar chicken on creamy mashed potatoes, drunken sliders braised in Sierra Nevada Stout, and Buffalo Trace bourbon meatballs top tables alongside lighter bites like a vegetarian florentine flatbread or a goat cheese salad topped with dried cherries, walnuts, and avocado slices. Any space left is reserved for an equally diverse lineup of drinks?the bar boasts as many as 130 unique beers, 20+ wines, 30 bourbons, and specialty cocktails. But the fun at Mingle doesn't just come from the mixing and matching of the shareable snacks: DJs spin tunes every weekend, and open mic nights attract local musicians and the area's best yodelers.