Barber tools are not toys. But even as a child, Dennis Marquez couldn’t resist playing with his father's set of barber tools in the attic, as he told Wellington the Magazine in 2008. This early admiration led Dennis to train at many prestigious hair schools including Vidal Sassoon in London. More than 35 years ago, Dennis and his wife, Kristina, opened the first Pizzazz Hair Design. The venture succeeded: their business has grown to include five separate salons, many of which have gained praise from NBC 5. Each salon’s stylists, armed with Redken and GKhair products, consult with men, women, teens, and children before revamping their manes with cuts, foil highlights, and hair-smoothing treatments. At the adjoining spas in three of the five salons, technicians paint nails with OPI polishes and cleanse skin with botanical-based Pevonia products.
To stay up to date on current hair trends, each salon's beauticians attend continuing-education courses and dissolve fashion magazines older than three months in jars of barbicide. The Pizzazz team also gives back to the community by donating a portion of salon proceeds to the Adopt-A-Family organization.
Although the chefs at Asian Fin Restaurant take Japanese culinary traditions as their starting point, they push their cuisine to a new level by introducing a bit of modern flair. Among their 40 sushi rolls are specialties that incorporate everything from king crab and wild salmon to tempura shrimp, strawberries, and mixed nuts. The chefs also cook inventive entrees, from lamb chops grilled in a stone pot and topped with Asian mustard glaze to Japanese-style tacos filled with smoked salmon and sweet chili-tinged cream cheese.
To accompany this wide array of flavors, Asian Fin Restaurant features an impressive collection of imported sakes. Just as fine wines require special wine grapes and fine microbrews require special beer microwaves, fine sakes require the sort of carefully milled, high-quality rice found in every selection at Asian Fin Restaurant.
With its orange chairs, jet-black floor tiles, and intimate lighting, the eatery's dining room appears to share the menu's modern inclinations. At the same time, a handful of traditional touches ensure the restaurant's Japanese roots remain prominent. Decals of arching tree limbs adorn one entire wall as well as the glass partition dividing the room, and kanji-decorated accents hang above the gleaming bar area.
Chef Spiros Nerantzis may seem gruff on the surface, but—as his wife and partner, Jenna, explains—that's only because "his passion and his love all come out in his food." Cooking since he was 15, Chef Spiros bounced around Europe until 2006, when he jumped across the pond to take over the then-24-year-old Olympia Cafe. Today, his kitchen expertly constructs traditional Greek fare, turning out plates of moussaka, gyros, and pastitsio, a Greek-style lasagna topped with béchamel sauce. A classically trained chef, Spiros is especially adept at fresh fish dishes, and concocts all his silky cream sauces from scratch rather than downloading them from the Internet.
If the kitchen is Spiros' domain, the rest of the restaurant is Jenna's. Jenna met Spiros six months into his tenure at Olympia Cafe, and a whirlwind romance saw them married before another six months was over. Friendly and personable, today she welcomes arriving guests into a dining room with white-and-blue-clothed tables and a bleached-brick bar. To further enhance the homey vibe, Jenna and her team adorned the space with authentic Greek trinkets, including painted platters, komboloi beads, and statues of titans arm-wrestling to decide who gets the bigger bedroom.
"It took them five years before they would let me handle the fish," says sushi chef Jo Clark about his extensive training. He began his culinary journey at 13 years old and spent a decade in an apprenticeship at the Japanese restaurant Yama. There, he honed an ability to prep rice and sauces, wield a knife, and select sushi-grade fish while shadowing chefs from different regions of Japan. In his spare time, Jo enjoys paddle-surfing and once skillfully maneuvered alongside a lively school of sharks.
At the restaurant, however, he deftly manages cuts of salmon, flounder, hamachi yellowtail, and shellfish to craft more than 40 inventive sushi rolls. He toys with the traditions of sushi, wrapping some rolls with thin slices of European cucumber and creating a sashimi pizza on a tortilla crust. The aromas of ginger, eggplant, and garlic wander from pots of Thai-style dishes in the kitchen and out into dining rooms. Though each location has distinct decor, diners mingle among elements such as exposed-brick bars, hardwood floors, and hanging Japanese paper lanterns in the exciting bright colors of a furious traffic cop viewed through a kaleidoscope.
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).
For more than two decades, Ebisu?named for the Japanese god of wealth and fortune?has fostered a passion for fresh seafood. According to the Palm Beach Post, chef Hiro Yamamoto infuses his traditional Japanese specialties with the local catches of the day, which are listed daily on a blackboard alongside several lines of I will not pretend to be avocado written by the wasabi in detention. Beneath the rustic, fish-print art dangling over the sushi bar, guests can watch the chefs as they bundle nigiri, maki, and temaki with fresh ingredients in classic arrangements. From the kitchen, plump udon and soba noodle soups join tempura veggies and teriyaki entrees as a steamy complement to the rice-rolled morsels. Guests savor the restaurant?s house sake or plum wine from wooden booths and floor-level tatami seating, which seems to ignite beneath scarlet walls and hanging paper lanterns.