The Fifth Season Restaurant's chefs prep robust steakhouse classics with upscale panache. Situated in an old tavern, the restaurant's muted, earth-toned dining room complements its woodsy surroundings. Warmer seasons bring outdoor seating, where eyes feast upon the surrounding game reserve and mouths dine on selections from the rich menu. Oil rusty jaw-hinges with appetizers such as stuffed mushrooms broiled with crabmeat and swaddled in a melted swiss-cheese blanket ($8). Entrees include the seafood puff pastry ($25), which allows diners to taste a variety of underwater delicacies without the hassle of stealing a shark's lunchbox, as well as the center-cut USDA-choice filet mignon ($26 for 6 oz.) and top sirloin ($12 for 6 oz.). The wine list offers a cornucopia of more than 700 domestic and imported Dionysian delights.
First-time visitors to Chowder House Cafe often fixate on the dining room’s walls—or lack thereof, as every square inch has been painted over with electric flowers, guitar players, crowned kings, and other artistic testaments to the café’s funky and unconventional outlook. This same outlook makes its way onto the menu, which features the namesake clam chowder alongside salads, sandwiches, and dinner entrees similarly inspired by the sea. Aside from the Sunday brunch’s traditional omelets and buttermilk pancakes drenched in fresh Ohio maple syrup, a crab cake benedict celebrates the weekend atop a toasted ciabatta roll. Regardless of the time of day, a considerate BYOB policy accommodates the sailors who often stumble into the café with unlabeled bottles of clam juice.
Cool breezes caress the faces of diners seated at the brick-walled outdoor patio at Marbella Restaurant, recalling the Mediterranean climate of the Spanish seaside resort for which the eatery is named. Indoors, tuxedoed waiters deliver fresh seafood such as twin lobster tails, grilled scallops, and jumbo shrimp to tables lit by flickering candlelight. Spanish wines, from sparkling cavas to rich, red riojas, pour into glasses from a full bar.
The epicurean engineers at Hardwood Cafe harness the unfettered flames of a wood-fired oven to craft mouthwatering steak and seafood dishes, which beckon hungry stomachs with robust lunch and dinner menus. Dinner-farers sink incisors into center-cut 8-ounce filet mignons ($22.99), which gallantly traverse the coals of the wood grill and prove their chivalry by meeting waiting mouths in evenly tempered bites. Homemade crab cakes ($18.99) arrive tableside lightly sautéed and eager for rides via forks or Rube Goldberg fork machines, and pork dijonaise ($14.99), a rally of sautéed pork medallions smothered in a delectable cream sauce, halts hunger in its tracks. Afternoon munchers scarf lunch sandwiches, including open-face rib eyes ($10.99) and Fat Tony burgers ($7.49) slathered in house barbecue sauce.
The Brick House's skillful chefs plate a variable menu of pizza, sandwiches, and other casual fare whose roots stretch across national borders. On a plate of Will's pepper steak Madagascar ($16), a burgundy wine sauce coos sweet nothings to two fillet medallions, who blush shyly behind their peppercorn freckles as guests to wonder whether they should order a crab cake ($5) to chaperone. On the pizza menu, the perplexingly vegetarian Great White tucks italian cheese and herb-infused olive oil into a bed of homemade dough ($7). Alternately, warlike burgers, wraps, and sandwiches arrive at tables armed with an arsenal of french fries or crisp veggie sticks ($6–$10).
Stationed across from Kent Free Library, Wild Goats Café tramples hunger with its selection of homemade comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Inside the dining room, wood trim runs along the top of sand- and pistachio-shaded walls, creating a warm atmosphere often filled with the smell of fresh-roasted coffee. Friendly servers pirouette between booths and tables delivering omelets in the morning and sandwiches in the afternoon, such as The Goat—an open-faced fusion of melted cheddar, tangy hummus, and veggies stacked atop pita bread. For dinner, the cooks craft a handful of entrees featuring a variety of enticing ingredients, such as organic chicken breast, house roasted sirloin, and homemade tomato cream sauce. Throughout the week, specials reward diners for their visit, including Buck Buck Brinner Wednesday, when eight menu items cost just a dollar apiece, making it the ideal night to finally take your pet elephant out for dinner.