Saga Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar's chefs appease appetites with freshly rolled maki as well as classical Japanese entrees that come to life on tableside hibachi grills. After scouring the oceans in a conjoined diving suit, chefs utilize their fresh seafood to transform sticky rice into such visions as the rainbow roll, filled with spicy crabmeat and crowned with a spectrum of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and tobiko. Sushi disappears from plates inside the dimly lit dining room, where exposed-stone sections of wall flank bamboo plants brightened with little spotlights.
Patrons seeking dinner and a show can order something off of the hibachi menu, then gather around black-granite-topped counters inside a room with rich wooden accents. Before each hungry audience, chefs sear salmon, chicken and scallops, or lobster and filet mignon before accessorizing meals with two pieces of shrimp, soup, salad, vegetables, rice, and noodles.
Executive chef Greg Alauzen has designed every dish on Cioppino's sumptuous dinner menu, which is packed with a bevy of seasonally rotating, Tuscan-inspired delights. Whet your appetite with his selection of oysters on the half-shell ($11) before breaking in bibs with his signature dish, the Cioppino—a heaping platter of halibut, Mediterranean sea bass, clams, mussels, dungeness crab, scallops, jumbo shrimp, onion, and fennel ($29). Landlubbers can cut into tender, grilled lamb T-bone chops before delicately nibbling on its plate mate, cannelloni stuffed with ricotta and house-made lamb sausage ($39). Veggie-friendly entrees include fluffy house-made gnocchi ($17), paired with artichoke, grilled radicchio, arugula and parmigiano-reggiano. End feasts or accidental sugar strikes with sweet desserts, such as vanilla-bean crème brûlée, creamy gelato, or warm beignets tossed in cinnamon and sugar with an espresso crème anglaise ($6).
Though Green Forest Churrascaria serves a wide variety of meats, every cut has to go through the same trial by fire. Cooked in the traditional churrasco style, the meats sit above an open fire pit fueled by natural wooden charcoal. They roast on impressively sized skewers, which servers then carry into the dining room. There, they slice tender pieces directly onto dinner plates, a showmanship-heavy serving method known as "rodízio."
The resulting dinners star meats such as lamb chops, pork ribs, and filet mignon that, much like the best Christmas presents, comes wrapped in bacon. Some arrive seasoned with parmesan cheese or garlic, while others rely solely on the smoky flavor imparted by their time in the flames. A hot buffet and salad bar balance out meals with a sprawling number of side dishes, including sushi and seafood. There's also a list of wines and beers that emphasizes worldly reds.
Recently revitalized under new management, Triple Crown Restaurant stocks stomach arsenals with an array of steak and seafood menu items that explode in a shower of meticulously crafted flavors. Juicy Atlantic salmon dart lithely between reefs of Cajun seasonings jutting into a sea of garlic butter ($18.99). Sic steak knives and gourmand guard dogs on a sizzling Angus Reserve beef filet mignon ($28.99 for an 8 oz.; $32.99 for a 10 oz.), or delve into the vegetable lasagna's multilayered strata of garden-torn sustenance ($12.99). Culinary designers pad chicken oscar pillows with downy crab-meat stuffing before nestling cuisine cushions atop sheets of béarnaise sauce ($16.99) and this season's hottest china pattern.
Restaurateurs Nick and Giovanna Kustala split the duties of designing the menu at Vault Steak House, with Nick crafting the cuisine and Giovanna cultivating a list of wines to pair with the food. The main attraction is the 28-day dry-aged steaks, ranging from cuts of chateaubriand to 28-ounce delmonico steaks and 24-ounce porterhouses. Diners can add sauces and toppings to steaks as well, including blue cheese, béarnaise, and gorgonzola fondue. Elsewhere on the menu, the eatery's versatility is reflected in dishes such as white truffle and portobello ravioli and farm-raised, crab-crusted snapper with spicy mayo.
At Austin's Wood Fire Grill, hand-carved hunks of filet mignon and swordfish sizzle over wood-fueled flames, soaking up a smoky aroma. The restaurant’s refusal to use gas or the pages of paperback romance novels reflects a commitment to traditional, down-home cooking. This commitment also surfaces in their made-from-scratch breads, pan gravy sauce, and cognac cream sauce.
The staple of Sushi Rock’s menu is its selection of roughly 50 sushi, sashimi, and maki rolls, which collect multiple Japanese flavors into one neat package. The Sushi Rock roll alone packs a punch of shrimp tempura, crabstick, salmon, tuna, asparagus, and masago. A slate of USDA Prime steaks and fresh seafood entrees such as sesame-seared tuna complement the sushi-bar creations. Each meticulously plated dish arrives in Sushi Rock's ultra-modern dining space, where backlit bottles glisten against a cityscape mural in the bar area, and color blocks of red and black pop in the dimly lit dining areas. Together, Sushi Rock’s choice food and hip vibe earned it a No. 1 ranking on CityVoter's Best Sushi list in 2010.