The "Desi" in Ellie's Desi Kitchen refers to the diaspora of people from South Asia settled in all parts of the world—a fact reflected in the diverse range of dishes in the restaurant's menu. Guests chow down on an eclectic spread of steaks, chicken po' boys, veggie stir-frys, fluffy naan bread, and spicy curries. The decor also reflects the cosmopolitan flavor of the bill of fare. Wall scrolls of flowers and birds hang over tables laden with American ketchup and mustard bottles, while a photomontage places Machu Picchu, the Roman Colosseum, and the Taj Mahal side by side—just like they are in real life.
Legends Tavern & Grille pairs its menu of eclectically inspired pub cuisine and hearty finger foods with a selection of craft beers from foreign and domestic breweries. Although the cooks forge familiar comfort foods, such as beer-battered Alaskan cod, they also use culinary creativity to keep the menu fresh and their spatulas motivated. Burgers come topped with everything from goat cheese to mojo pulled pork, and housemade crab cakes are served with a roasted-red-pepper rémoulade. In addition to the food and drink menus, the tavern entices patrons with special events throughout the week, including live entertainment on Friday and pub trivia on Wednesday.
Ocean Market Seafood's fishermen cast their lines and nets in the sea every day to snag the fresh mahi-mahi, shrimp, and tuna that crowd the market's enormous display cases. Customers can fill bags or 28-gallon hats with spiny Florida lobster ($12.99/lb.), or line white platters with wild-caught red snapper ($7.99/lb.) and live blue crabs ($5.95/lb.) for patriotic feasts. Friendly staffers also pile lunch plates ($6.99+) to curb midday hunger, and oysters on the half shell ($8.50/dozen) make ideal hors d'oeuvres or platforms for Barbie-doll dioramas of The Birth of Venus.
Mongolian-style hot-pot dining originated centuries ago, when embattled horsemen repurposed their shields and helmets into pots for preparing meaty stews over open flames. Over time, this modality of cooking has been adopted and remixed as a communal dining event throughout Asia, and the chefs at The Hot Pot put their own spin on it with their family-oriented dinners. Servers first lay out tables banquet-style, arranging plates of raw meat, seafood, veggies, rice, and noodles around centerpiece boiling pots of homemade broth, which comes in flavors ranging from Thai-influenced hot and spicy to a chicken and vegetable house broth. Tablemates joust for morsels of flank steak, mussels, and tofu and then settle the pieces in the simmering broth until they’re tender. But the bubbling cauldron doesn't have to be the focal point of the proceedings; The Hot Pot also prepares a fresh seafood boil and Vietnamese entrees.
La Cocina Puertorriquena's specialty is mofongo, a traditional Puerto Rican dish made of mashed fried plantains. Chefs use that recipe as a foundation, preparing more than 20 varieties of the dish with chunks or pork, skirt steak, and breaded shrimp. They also showcase a variety of other traditional specialties, including roasted meats and fried whole snapper. On Saturday nights, servers clear away tables to make room for live musicians and dancing until 1 a.m. The restaurant’s walls proudly display the Puerto Rican flag, which should never be nibbled on, despite its mofongo taste.
Inside Hop Won Dinner Club & Skinny Bar, tradition meets modern times in both decor and cuisine. Guests lounge on chic white couches or grab a table next to the chalkboard walls that announce the day's specials. From each vantage point, diners contemplate contemporary Chinese-American fusion dishes such as the duck wings alongside more traditional entrees such as miso salmon in a spicy glaze or braised frog casserole. Family-style plates are easy to share, or a round of appetizers and eclectic drinks spark easy chitchat. The cocktail menu ranges from mojitos and sake bombs to spiked energy drinks that can fuel a night of revelry or a day of uphill cartwheeling.