The ambience at Spice Room is romantic and intimate, thanks to the exposed brick walls, the gauzy draperies that hang from the ceiling, and the soft light that gently falls from globe fixtures overhead. The only thing warmer than the ambiance might be the food, though, thankfully, the spice level of the curries and noodles dishes can be adjusted to match the heat of diners’ passions or left mild to calm nerves during first dates or IRS audits.
When Tropical Acres Steakhouse first opened in 1949, a green palm tree festooned its simple menu of seven steaks, chops, and sandwiches. Today, the Studiale family tops tables with a vast menu of T-bones, porterhouses, strip steaks, and filet mignon seared in a bustling kitchen alongside pork chops and veal cutlets. Chefs ladle sauces whisked with horseradish and dill or lemon and capers over shrimp, scallops, and fillets of fish such as snapper and wild-caught salmon. Dark wood columns and beams encircle the dining room's tufted booths and wall-inlaid tanks filled with colorful fish and treasure chests billowing bubbles of steak sauce. Tropical Acres also caters events from luncheons to weddings with light or formal meals, and it hosts celebrations for up to 250 guests in a refined banquet room.
Though you can always drive up to the Historic Downtowner Saloon, that's not the recommended way to arrive. Instead, customers might want to take the water taxi right up to the downtown stop to get a preview of the river views granted by the restaurant's riverfront patio. Here, guests can enhance their waterside experience with expertly prepared American fare and 20 new craft beers waiting to quench to the most discerning drinker.
While new owners now helm Historic Downtowner Saloon, its chefs tend to their culinary labors, be it slow-roasting prime rib or turning out seafood specials, sandwiches, and appetizers. In the kitchen, they grill slabs of sizzling sirloins and pair them crab cakes drizzled in a Cajun remoulade. Once delivered to guests, ancho shrimp tacos do flavorful dances across palates, while a raw bar, stocked with bowls of littleneck clams and Caribbean jerk shrimp, puts appetites on ice. Most nights of the week, a live band serenades guests with tunes as relaxing as surfing on a waterbed—unless there are sharks inside the waterbed.
Peering into ritzy, gold-framed mirrors, clients at Hair Las Olas can watch stylists as they turn envisioned hairstyles into reality. The long-open salon specializes in traditional hair care for men, women, and children. Their services range from highlights and updos to clipper cuts and beard trims to keratin treatments, which transform frizzy hair into a sleek, manageable mane for up to five months.
When you look at a Philly cheesesteak, "subtle" might be the last word on your mind. But it is, in fact, a sandwich of subtleties—just ask Big Al and his son Adam. When they moved to Florida from Philadelphia, they tried many cheesesteaks that purported to be authentic, but that lacked the small, signature touches of a true Philly creation: ribeye that was sliced and not chopped, for example, or the steak rolls only the East Coast had perfected.
So, the duo started their own cheesesteak restaurant. They sliced the ribeye steak, scheduled weekly deliveries of rolls from Philadelphia, and even put Cheez Whiz on the menu in addition to melted cheeses for added authenticity. This is not to say that they don't branch out—Big Al's also has burgers, hot dogs, and cheesesteak variants, such as the bacon-bleu cheesesteak or the spring-mix salad (it tastes like a cheesesteak if you close your eyes and concentrate hard enough).
Patrons at Red Rock Oasis & Grill can bite into tear-jerking wings, chew through meaty burgers, and peruse the diverse menu to pick from 20 beers on tap. Dip Red Rock boneless wings ($9.99 for 10) in seven sauces, or order the maximum-heat Cosmic sauce and use it to deice your space shuttle. The glow of 42 plasma TVs and projection screens illuminates Double R burgers ($9.99) dripping with barbecue sauce, overlaying their smoked-bacon slices with images of sportsmen sprinting, spinning, and flying away gripping their winged helmets. Red Rock baby back pork ribs soaked in citrus-chipotle sauce ($11.99 half rack, $18.99 full rack) appease flavor-starved palates, and Maine lobster-stuffed ravioli with bacon float idly in cream sauce ($19.99). Red Rock Select, the house lager, smooth-talks palates with its light, malty taste, and beers on tap, such as Guinness and Stone IPA, cry out for attention. The cinnamon-infused, pastry-wrapped Xango cheesecake ($4.99) lives up to its namesake, a Greek village carved from a single puff pastry.