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.
Servers constantly scan Brasa Grill’s dining room for empty plates, approaching tables with skewers of chicken, lamb, or beef and carving tender pieces tableside. The selection includes 16 different types of savory, grilled meats and a salad bar with more than 40 side dishes, garnering Brasa Grill Cleveland Scene magazine’s award for Best All You Can Eat for Gourmets. The constant parade of hearty fare only relents when diners flip their color-coded token to red, allowing them to sit for a while and stretch their fourth stomachs. Alternatively, the menu also features a small selection of sushi for a lighter version of a high-protein meal.
A painted mural dominates one wall of Brasa Grill’s dining room and depicts a group of Brazilian gauchos as they sear rotisserie meats over open flames, a practice which would later inspire Brazilian-style, churrascaria eateries. The rest of the room embraces a more urban ambiance with its soft lighting, crisp white tablecloths, and stoplight chandeliers.
At Embers, flames dance in a stacked-stone torch and gas lanterns, and atop the wicks of candles, all of which illuminate floral oil paintings and black-and-white photos of Cincinnati history. Just as the restaurant?s name evokes images of fire, so too does its menu of steaks and chops aged for 28 days. The Filet Oscar arrives at the table with a king-crab crust?a touch that tips its hat toward the restaurant?s seafood specialties. Seared scallops, grilled Scottish salmon, and broiled lobster tail grace the list, though the grill?s flames bypass the extensive sushi selections. The staff recommends pairings with one of 11 signature cocktails or wines and beers from around the world.
Outfitted with black tablecloths, framed art, cushy booths, and carpeted floors, Black Pearl’s dining room is a comfortable space that leaves plenty of room for romance to flicker in the low light. In this, it’s well matched to the menu: a selection of pastas, steaks, and seafood with options to suit occasions ranging from a quick lunch to a grand night out. Tender prime rib stars in both hearty surf ‘n’ turf entrees and a slew of sandwiches and salads. The Blade noted that the signature cut—a carryover from the restaurant’s previous incarnation as HJ’s Prime Cut—“continues to be superb,” while also praising lake perch that’s “tender and sweet, with a light breading that doesn't overwhelm the delicate flavor of the fish.”
Beyond the dining room with its arched windows and hanging lamps is a fully stocked bar whose tenders pour beer and mix martinis, including a line of signature drinks made with midnight-dark Blavod Black vodka. Armchairs clustered around low tables and a single flat-screen television introduce a clubby vibe. But the restaurant's most intriguing seats may lie just beyond the front door, where curving half-walls painted with a Rothko-esque design swoop around a party-friendly circular table.
Restaurant entrepreneur Ken Stewart traveled to Italy to gather the ingredients and recipes that he would use to build Tre Belle's illustrious menu of authentic Italian dishes. For appetizers, taste buds do tarantellas in anticipation of spicy stuffed peppers ($9.95), or the equally enticing artichoke with lemon aioli ($9.95). As aromatic as it is flavorful, the signature Tre Belle deluxe pizza ($14.99) is a circular tabletop of dough fixed with sausage, banana peppers, mushrooms, olives, mozzarella, and fresh basil––cooked over a wood fire for a distinctly delectable taste and instant pizza-based nostalgia. The Chicken Milanese ($15.95) is a sautéed and breaded bird adorned in a George Clinton style headdress of arugula, tomatoes, lemon, and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. A glass of Pinot Grigio ($7.95) makes a loving companion to an order of lamb ragu ($15.95), pappardelle pasta mingled with savory sauce and cooked in lamb stock.
The pit master at World Bar-B-Que works hard slow-cooking Carolina-style pulled pork, Texas brisket, and St. Louis–style pork ribs, imbuing each meat with distinctive barbecue bark and deep, smoky flavors. After the cuts have smoked for 6–15 hours, diners take over with finishing touches, adorning their choice of meats with sauces such as sweet-and-spicy blackberry habanero and classic sides such as potato salad and baked beans. They can also forge everything from smoked and beer-soaked burgers to authentic Cuban sandwiches.
On certain nights, patrons can finish off meaty cuts and showcase their singing chops with open-mic and karaoke sessions. The generous eatery also sets aside one day a week for a "World Invasion"—a chance for local groups, charitable organizations, or extraterrestrial barbecue-reconnaissance parties to take over the restaurant and receive a portion of the evening's sales.