The staff at Tropical Café patrol the restaurant’s perimeter constantly, spears in hand. They’re not on guard duty, though. Rather, they’re servers, carving off portions of freshly roasted Brazilian barbecue. They stop at every table, offering their savory cargo to diners who have flipped their personal dining card green side up, indicating that they might be in danger of consuming plant matter from the extensive salad bar if more meat does not arrive soon.
The taste of culture doesn’t stop at the barbecue, however. Tropical Café fills weekends with live musical performances of South American and Brazilian folk music. Wednesday evenings are devoted to karaoke, the classic contest made more interesting by participants who sing with mouthfuls of meat.
Servers wind between tables at Spettu's Steakhouse, brandishing skewers of 14 different cuts of spit-roasted rodizio meats. Upon request, they stop tableside and carve slices of boneless pork loin, top sirloin, and marinara lamb directly onto diners' plates, unleashing the aromas of traditional Brazilian Churrascaria rotisserie. Between servings of regular or Halal cuts of meat, patrons can make unlimited visits to a buffet loaded with 40 different salads, meats, and rice dishes. Overhead, a panoramic photo of Rio de Janeiro unfurls placid blue seas as parrot figurines keep watch over the buffet's cracker supply.
Most chefs don’t want to hear about how they should prepare a meal; but at Providence Prime chefs welcome patrons to share how they like their premium steaks to be cooked and served. Located on historic Federal Hill, the steakhouse offers diners a chance to order steaks topped with a blue-cheese or horseradish crust, or smothered in bernaise or hollandaise sauce. Steaks are served with side dishes such as mac-and-cheese or peas and bacon, and options from the sea include crab legs, yellowfin tuna, and fishermen's boots. Desserts such as housemade tiramisu, key lime pie, and vanilla-bean crème brûlée finish out each meal, which can be paired with a selection from a list that offers more than 300 wines.
Beyond a slender art deco "3" glowing above a trellis-flanked front door, chefs put a modern and inventive spin on classic American cuisine. Thai, Caribbean, and Mexican flavors exert influence upon savory small plates and hearty entrees such as fried pickles, champagne-glazed salon, and pecan-crusted chicken. Soft, golden light sets sleek banquettes and dark wooden furniture aglow in the spacious main dining room, and warm weather heralds al fresco dining on 3's sunlit patio. Two stately private rooms host events from business luncheons to wedding receptions, for which 3's team of soiree swamis design custom menus, arrange decorations, and prevent DJs from only playing rockabilly.
In the tradition of hibachi service, the performance chefs at Saga Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar delight patrons by flipping chopped veggies high in the air and setting meat aflame on tabletop grills. Diners can choose for their meals to be prepared with veggies, chicken, steak, or seafood, or they can opt for entrees such as teriyaki shrimp from the kitchen. Not to be outdone by the hibachi chefs, sushi artists prepare maki rolls in full view of patrons curious about what rice looks like. In addition to the more than 30 rolls, there's also sashimi in cuts of yellowtail, eel, and white tuna.
Most chefs tend to specialize in a particular cuisine, such as Italian or sushi. Prezo Grille & Bar's executive chef, Tim Vaillette, however, prefers to specialize in a little bit of everything. His main menu runs the gamut from classic American burgers to Barcelona-style swordfish served with rice pilaf. He also draws inspiration from Italy, topping the house-made dough of his thin-crust pizzas with ingredients such as buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, meatballs, and caramelized onions. To complement Tim's far-reaching menu, Prezo's bartenders serve an extensive selection of cocktails and craft beer, as well as more than 20 wines by the glass and 50 by the bottle.
Feasts unfold in Prezo's upscale, romantically lit dining room or in its similarly lit bar, where four plasma televisions stay tuned to the latest sports game.