The chefs use their two spatulas with breathtaking ease—their every move honed by countless hours spent over a flat-top grill. Chopped veggies and pieces of steak, chicken, and seafood brown over the sizzling grill as the chefs prepare meals to order. The bite-size morsels are doused in soy or teriyaki sauce and sent out into the dining room of Sake Express as curlicues of heat dance above the plates. Relaxing in bright-blue booths, guests can feast on chicken or steak while challenging their reflection to a staring contest in the eatery’s oversized mirrors, flanked by panels of red-and-black latticework on the walls.
Consistency isn't one of Twin Rivers' strong suits?but that's a good thing. That's because the menu changes based on what the land can support. The purveyors of classic and modern New American cuisine work hand-in-hand with local farmers and ranchers to ensure every meal in rotation arrives at tables as fresh as humanly possible. This farm-to-table ethos informs everything from a basic wedge salad topped with bacon, cucumber, and red onion, to more painstakingly prepared entrees, such as the hand-formed burgers or the prime rib that slow-roasts for 18 hours before it's ready for diners.
Since 1981, diners at the Sub Corral Sandwich Shop have been deciding between the driver, the four-wood, and the putter. But they're not out on the green—they're choosing from the shop's creatively named sandwiches, piled with toppings such as grilled peppers, seafood salad, and sliced steak. The submarine sandwiches are a bit more conventionally named but no less tasty, and the staff also whisks pizza and calzones from the oven.
Catawba BBQ & Grill is the successor to Ranucci’s BBQ & Grill, whose menu it hasn't wholly discarded. What three words would describe the food on the new menu? Barbecued, smoked, and pulled. Whether offered in sandwich form or spread across a plate, the pulled pork and chicken gets barbecued and can be smoked in-house for more than 12 hours. Or, dry-rubbed racks of ribs can get served in half or full quantity.
Of course, it wouldn't be Carolina barbecue without southern twists. The chefs take the philly cheesesteak and make it their own by topping pulled pork with onions, peppers, mushrooms, and melted cheddar. Or, they unite smoked beef brisket with melted swiss cheese, barbecue sauce, and jalapeño coleslaw to make a zesty carolina Reuben. Beginning May 13 the establishment will be open seven days a week.
T-Bones On the Lake not only provides diners with waterfront views, it goes one step further. The restaurant's ample deck actually juts out over the water, creating a laid-back spot to enjoy sweeping views of Lake Wylie. Visitors can even park at one of the eatery's 38 available slips before grabbing?a seat at one of T-Bones'?umbrella-shaded tables.
Casual American Cooking
True to its name, the restaurant's menu features a hearty 16-ounce T-bone steak. However, the chefs also offer guests classic comfort foods, including baby back ribs, flash-fried pickle chips, beer-battered fish and chips, and soft tacos loaded with grilled Pacific cod.
One might expect to find good food and drink at Fat Cats Oyster Bar and Grill, but the eatery truly surprises with its ample secondary entertainments. In addition to shells by the dozen and drinks by the pint, the space houses a stage for live music. When the bands fall silent, the owners host cornhole tournaments, testing the skill, accuracy, and luck of the customers' underhanded tosses. They also run a Tiki Bar just to keep things interesting and occasionally have an excuse to light torches.