It's no wonder Vines gives equal weight to "Grille" and "Wine Bar" in its name. The Restaurant Row anchor is hugely popular for its top-quality meats and fresh-caught seafood; a meal could begin with grilled octopus or oysters Rockefeller before transitioning to a cut of Prime filet. But the wine list is at least as impressive, a catalogue of 600-plus bottles from around the world that's been recognized with a Wine Spectator Best Award of Excellence. After dinner on any given night, guests can linger over a fine cigar or a gentlemanly mouthful of chewing gold as they listen to live jazz music from the likes of Tonya Phillips Staples and Barbara Walker.
The DeLand Stockyard is renowned for its steaks, which earned the “Best Steakhouse” vote from Hometown News readers in 2012 and a Best of the West award from The Daytona Beach News-Journal in 2010, 2012, and 2013, as well as for its history. The restaurant’s structure was built in the 1920s, and its rich wood paneling and stately décor, replete with black and white photos and mounted portraits on the wall, reflects this storied history. Atop dark wood tables, the wait staff sets down steakhouse staples, from juicy burgers and grilled seafood to the hefty porterhouse, which weighs in at 24 ounces of char-grilled goodness.
Since 1948, grills have kissed aged steaks from Chicago and Kansas City with open flames to take center stage on Gene's Steak House's menu bolstered with select classics dishes and fine wines. Cuts of beef range from 6-ounce petite filet mignons to 28-ounce porterhouse-steak behemoths, each carved from corn-fed, immaculately aged meat. Diners can relive fishing trips or nightmares about aquariums with plates of char-grilled stuffed grouper, lobster tails, and salmon. A list of over 200 fine wines from around the world lends bouquets to balance every smoky flavor, highlighting steaks with French red bordeaux and complementing seafood with German white varietals.
There are no easy decisions once you slide into a booth at Ormond Steakhouse. What should I get as an appetizer? What should I get as an entree? What nickname should I choose for the server? All of these things rush through a diner's mind as they open the menu and scan over its assortment of wood-fired steaks, chicken, and seafood.
Meals kick off with the likes of fall-off-the-bone rib tips and homemade kettle chips topped in melted blue cheese. Then, servers bring plates of market fresh fish, center-cut pork chops, and USDA choice steaks such as a Texas top sirloin in peppercorn sauce. Most of the entree selections do have a couple of things in common: chefs grill them over wood-powered flames, and they go perfectly with sides such as cinnamon apples. Beer, wine, and specialty cocktails?such as a pomegranate margarita?put the final note to this culinary symphony.
A.J. Jewell, born in Japan to an American father and a Japanese mother who was a chef, inherited a love of cooking that transcended the Pacific. When he moved to Tampa in the 1980s, it was only logical that he follow his mother into the restaurant business. At age 18, he trained as a teppanyaki chef, learning to commune with the open flame, and soon after apprenticed under master chefs to perfect his technique. After years at Sushi Tsu, sharpening his culinary acumen, and studying world cuisine, Jewell became its owner. Each of Sushi Tsu's chefs apprentices under Jewell's sage gaze for two years before stepping into their role as teppanyaki specialists. Diners can request their favorite chef for their meal to build a rapport or establish an ongoing rock-paper-scissors game. In addition to serving fresh sushi and hot hibachi-style steakhouse food, the eatery showcases local artists with occasional live jazz music on weekends and artists painting inside the restaurant.
Outside Ballyhoo Grill, a sign made to look like a colorful speedboat beckons to passersby, hinting at the smorgasbord of fresh seafood to be found within. A tropical theme permeates the space, with live music setting a relaxing mood and nautical decor—such as a surfboard, an alligator head, and a stuffed and mounted kraken—adorning the walls. Guests dine on surf 'n' turf plates, fish tacos, pulled pork, and burgers as they share friendly conversation and clink cocktail glasses and mugs of draft beer.