Mined from the foothills of the Himalayas, Himalayan salt differs from typical table salt in about 80 ways. It’s the only salt to posses more than 84 minerals, which has made the 100% unprocessed seasoning gain the attention of health enthusiasts worldwide. The cooks at The Kabob Curry already knew this, though. This Indo-Pakistani eatery refuses to use anything but the pink stuff for its flavorful meals, balancing the salty zest with staples found on every spice rack in the subcontinent, including ginger, roasted garlic, and cumin.
The menu features a range of dishes as vast as the Himalayas. For starters, naan rolls wrap kebabs inside homemade flatbread, pulled fresh from the clay oven. Vegetarian options include chana masala bathed in a creamy yellow curry, and chicken, beef, or shrimp comes cooked in a spicy vindaloo gravy or the house specialty, masala. For dessert, chefs recommend the mango ice cream. Served on a salt plate, the treat mixes sweet and salty like a Valentine’s Day card written by Sam Kinison.
Before filling up a plate at Hokkaido Seafood Buffet, take a moment to meander past the seemingly boundless rows of fresh crawfish, jumbo crab legs, and oysters, or to marvel at chefs as they toss steak and chicken on fiery teppanyaki grills. Stroll past the sushi station to admire sushi masters as they nimbly slice fresh fish and crispy vegetables into colorful specialty rolls, then saunter by simmering trays of pan-Asian specialties such as fried rice and crunchy spring rolls. The vast buffet abounds with more than 150 hot and cold items, many of which were made with seafood purchased directly from local fisherman.
Out in the spacious dining room, diners linger over last bites of creamy cheesecake and juicy strawberries in cushy booths, sipping imported beers and colorful cocktails. The bright space is decorated with nautical decor, including orange life preservers and impressionist pieces painted by local sea monkeys.
When you step into Boubouffe Grille, you can feel the Middle Eastern influence all around you, which is exactly what owner Wally Nasser wants. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors open onto a relaxed outdoor patio, giving the space an open, airy feeling reminiscent of the Mediterranean seashore. On the walls, spotlighted vases in recessed shelves hark back to the antiquities of ancient Greece. Guests talk and laugh as they share mezze—small plates that originated centuries ago in Turkey—while playing tabletop soccer with falafel.
And the food is just as representative of the Mediterranean region as the decor. Diners can crisscross the Mediterranean Sea via stuffed north african peppers, lebanese grilled lamb chops with warm harissa, algerian chicken tagine, and traditional baklava. The eatery also serves classic breakfast dishes such as smoked-salmon-topped bagels and french toast with fresh fruit.
Befitting its name, Magic Lamp Lebanese Mediterranean Grill features the cuisine of Lebanon alongside a pan-regional assortment of food that also includes Egyptian, Syrian, Saudi Arabian, and Greek recipes. The chefs demonstrate their dedication to tradition by utilizing halal-certified meats and by baking pita bread and making Armenian-style sausages in-house. These small touches contribute to the authentic flavors of the menu?s various dishes and platters, such as the charbroiled chicken kebabs, the crispy falafel patties, and the marinated lamb chops.
The dining room?s plastered walls, burnished-copper accents, ornate lanterns, and dangling swaths of colorful fabric reinforce the restaurant?s Mediterranean roots. Throughout the week, the grill hosts regular performances by live musicians who entertain diners with everything from flamenco to jazz melodies.
The chefs at Atun Sushi & Japanese Fusion plate food with an artist?s touch, transforming carrots into flowers and celery curls like a ribbon. Edwin Goei of OCWeekly best describes the chefs? artistry, as ?they take the time to trace the teriyaki sauce to form the branches of a cherry blossom tree; the blossoms themselves are drawn from dollops of mayo and bits of fruit.? In other rolls,fried lotus root preens atop pieces like shiny tiaras, and other sushi pieces join together to form little hearts.
Additionally, the chefs string mushrooms, quail eggs, bacon, and shrimp along wooden skewers or retired No. 2 pencils and grill them to a golden finish. The yakitori selection joins tempura-battered calamari and sweet potatoes on the kitchen?s menu.
Dips made from fire-roasted eggplant or bell peppers, known respectively as zaolook and shakshooka, top pieces of pita bread and slices of house-baked flatbread at ASHA Moroccan Mediterranean Kitchen. Many of the traditional recipes used in the kitchen come from owner Hend Elarabi's own mother, according to the OC Weekly blog, and treat taste buds to flavor combinations that will be new to many diners. Slow-cooked lentils join fresh tomatoes, cilantro, and Moroccan herbs in the adeesa, Hend's favorite appetizer, and dried plums lend their sweetness to bits of roasted lamb in pots of lamb tajeen. To add to the traditional ambiance set by the restaurant's cuisine, belly dancers provide entertainment, offer shimmy lessons, and translate stomach growls into English throughout the week.