Dried blossoms lean against crystal vases on white tablecloths; ornate chandeliers bathe the high-ceilinged hall in an amber glow; and scents of fenugreek, cumin, and other spices from northern and southern Indian recipes waft from Madras Exotic Indian Cuisine kitchen. The cooking staff bakes tandoori chicken, lamb, and vegetables in an authentic clay tandoor oven, and trains vegetables to assume formations atop flavored basmati-rice platters in the biryani tradition. Chefs also prepare meals to halal standards, and craft additional culinary fusions with Desi Chinese dishes. The culinary crew can pair mains with an array of sides such as six varieties of fresh-baked naan and other breads, and serve desserts in brass, footed vessels for a more delicious finale than samosa-shaped fireworks. Chefs lay out a wider range of their creations at Sunday buffets, when heated chrome containers perched atop linen-draped tables hold steaming meats, seafood, and vegetarian stews.
For more than three decades, Cypress Nook Restaurant's owners Isle Wenttengel and Michael Gerike haven't changed much. Adhering to old-world traditions with a menu of rustic Bavarian cuisine, they still maintain their restaurant inside an old stucco house, exemplifying the kind of cozy familiarity apparent everywhere, from lacey curtains to plates of frankfurters. During evenings, the dinner menu catalogs handcrafted spaetzle, knockwurst with German potato salad and kraut, and slices of homemade key lime pie.
Rocket Pizza and Pasta’s dedicated dough slingers zap away hunger pangs with an extensive menu of Italian favorites. Diners can go it alone with a pasta entree such as jumbo stuffed shells with marinara and mozzarella ($9.99) or bribe an entire quintet of space mercenaries with a family-size carryout portion of spaghetti and meatballs, served with a large dinner salad and cheesy bread ($31.99). Weary rocketeers fuel up with the tuscan steak—a tender filet mignon grilled with olive oil and black pepper, smothered beneath a mushroom brandy sauce and parmesan cheese ($14.99 for a single portion)—as choosy chewers craft the perfect pie, selecting from three crusts, three sauces, seven cheeses, and 22 toppings, including sliced steak and fresh spinach ($10.99 for a large cheese; $1.75 for each additional topping).
The culinary crafters at French Quarter Bar & Grill curtail spells of hunger with a menu of New Orleans cuisine derived from Cajun and French influences. Open a festival of flavor with an appetizer of flame-grilled black-and-blue oysters, which are sprinkled with a Cajun seasoning and crumbled blue cheese ($9.95), while sipping a tasty libation, such as an Argentinean malbec ($6). Entree options range from the spicy shrimp creole ($14.95) to the lightly breaded, thin-cut fried catfish ($13.95). The Canal Street burger ($9.95), fused with Cajun and barbecue seasoning, corn salsa, a pair of bacon slices, melted cheddar, and a duo of onion rings suitable to be worn on a thick or gloved finger, can be augmented with a plaudit-worthy Kendall Jackson chardonnay ($10).
Christina's Café satiates rumbling stomachs with a hearty menu populated with classic Greek and Italian dishes. Start up the tummy tambourines with a ringing round of fresh fried calamari ($9) before moving on to a main-course chorus of a gyro platter, topped with sliced ground beef, lamb, tzatziki sauce, salad, rice, and homemade pita bread ($15). Meat teeth find satiety with a beef kebab, forged with marinated filet mignon, peppers, and onions ($18). Diners can also enjoy fresh Italian cuisine without having to slingshot meatballs over the Mediterranean with dishes such as seafood ravioli ($16), chicken marsala ($16), and chicken parmigiana ($16).
There are many words you could use to describe Checkers Old Munchen—"warm," "welcoming," and "boisterous" come to mind—but "quiet" certainly isn't one of them. The lively German watering hole resounds with oom-pah tunes and friendly chatter from open to close. Diners sit at weathered wooden tables, clinking massive boot-shaped steins and sharing plates of schnitzel. Cheerful servers command the full length of the bar, doling out pours from a selection of more than 30 German beers—from crisp pilsners to sweet hefeweizens to malty bocks.
In the kitchen, plump bratwurst sausages sizzle in pans, pots of goulash bubble on the stove, and hissing kettles whisper German fairy tales. It's in this bustling space that chef Andre Zanith whips up traditional German dishes lauded as brilliant recreations by the Broward Palm Beach New Times. Zanith's favorite dish on the menu is the wiener schnitzel—a tender veal cutlet sauteed in creamy lemon butter and topped with homemade gravy. Traditional sides include red cabbage, potato dumplings, and spaetzel noodles.