From the bustling streets of Times Square to the equally vivacious streets of Hong Kong, people walk around with smiles after enjoying the japanese barbecue cuisine at Gyu-Kaku. The restaurant has more than 700 locations worldwide, each rooted in the belief that some of the strongest bonds between friends are forged at the dinner table. Groups dine on a huge variety of Japanese dishes, from popular meat and veggie dishes such as Harami Skirt Steak, Kalbi Short Rib, and Mushroom Medley - to unique Japanese-American appetizers such as the Spicy Tuna Volcano, Pork Gyoza Dumplings, and Chicken Karaage. The real excitement takes place around individual grills, however, where diners can barbecue their own slabs of filet mignon, grilled ahi tuna, or chicken with basil sauce until they are ideally tender or encircled by on-duty firemen.
The resident chefs at McAlan's Pub & Grill channel Irish and American traditions to construct their menu of pub grub. Limber chomping muscles with starters of steamer clams ($10) whose fresh manila clams are set afloat in a pool of white-wine garlic broth. Buttermilk crackling chicken ($11) arrives accompanied by biscuits and country sausage gravy and Del Mar fish 'n' chips ($10) armor fresh cod in an exoskeleton of tempura ale batter to protect its flaky insides. All-you-can-eat brunch, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on Sunday mornings, rewards early-rising appetites and provides late-rising roosters with a false sense of accomplishment. Stockpile offerings from the made-to-order omelet bar or pile plates high with french toast and buttermilk waffles.
The Tony Award–winning musical Evita, by esteemed writers Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, charts the rise of the world's first political celebrity, Argentine first lady Eva Perón. Peppered with familiar personages such as Che Guevara, nail- and toe-biting political maneuvers, and immaculate six-part harmonies, Evita reaches even the iciest heart with the fire of its emotional exuberance. Allow eager eardrums to savor the dulcet tones of the score, headlined by the famous “Don't Cry for Me Argentina.” In the intimate environs of the Lewis Family Playhouse, peepers can pick out every detail of the stage's goings-on, from artfully rendered emotion to the tragic parting of lovelorn curtains for the entirety of the play.
Ra Pour's executive chef, Greg Stillman, draws upon culinary wisdom culled from stints at famed restaurant The French Laundry to curate upscale renditions of comfort fare, nabbing buzz from Taste Terminal and a dozen other media outlets. An open kitchen affords prime views of chefs as they garnish pizzas with handmade mozzarella and truffle oil before tossing them into a wood-fired oven. Succulent meats from local farms boast exotic flourishes such as North African–style harissa, Buddha’s hand marmalade, and a single unicorn tear. Live beats flow from a raised DJ platform toward the bar, where mixologists fashion original cocktails against a backdrop of dramatic green and purple lighting.
Indian cuisine is famously complex, but diners at Koyla Indian Restaurant get at least a peek at how it's prepared. The restaurant's signature cooking method is right in the name—koyla means "coal"—and chefs use its heat in full view within an open kitchen. Cinnamon and cloves, garlic and saffron fill the air as marinated chicken, shrimp, and goat simmer and sizzle. Although grounded in the cuisine of Northern India, founder Deep Singh and his chefs demonstrate a strong taste for experimentation. That's evident in the large menu's Indo-Chinese section, which holds hybrids such as chili paneer—the traditional Indian cheese spiked with house-made chili sauce. Pesto chicken and calamari masala reflect Singh's time as the proprietor of a small Italian cafe.
A mural of an especially cuddly-looking Taj Mahal brightens one wall of Koyla's softly-lit dining room. The motif continues as painted chili peppers wind around the room behind an ample buffet, served alongside champagne on the weekends.
In 1964, Gus Agiortis emigrated from Greece to Canada and opened a pizza shop called Boston Pizza and Spaghetti House. This humble pizza joint quickly evolved into a full-service restaurant and eventually adopted a new name and spawned more than 400 franchised locations throughout North America. Staying true to their roots, each restaurant's staff spends a portion of every day handcrafting pizzas with made-from-scratch dough and high-quality meats, cheeses, and veggies. Patrons share these gourmet pies—along with pastas, wings, ribs, burgers, and other hearty pub eats—in the restaurant's family-friendly dining area with massive screens that showcase sports action and regional chess tournaments.