The culinary team at Tsunami fixes up a veritable feast for the eyes with artfully plated Japanese delicacies festooned with sprigs of herbs, splashes of sauce, and colorful garnishes. Flames rage as hibachi chefs blast rib-eye steaks, scallops, and vegetables on their sizzling grills, and the restaurant’s sushi-rolling savants coil specialty rolls such as the Emperor, which surprises tasters with hidden stashes of fried soft-shell crab, cucumber, eel, shrimp, and avocado. At Tsunami's four locations, diners polish off plates in a sleek, modern dining room with candles in faceted glass votives, a bar backlit with lights that slowly change colors, and waiters who can speak fluent binary code.
Noisy Oyster provides the pelican pouches of area citizens with fresh, locally-caught fruits-of-the-sea. Inspect the extensive dinner menu before commencing incisor insertion into an appetizer such as the twistedly-tasty shrimp corn dogs—a skewer pierced with five battered jumbo shrimp, deep-fried to crispy resistance, and served with a side of sweet and spicy Chinese mustard sauce ($8.99). The baked seafood au gratin layers fresh shrimp, meaty scallops, and fresh fish medallions within the mortar of a decadent blue crab stuffing, Jack and cheddar cheeses, and a Parmesan cream sauce ($16.99), and the low-country crab cakes feature loads of crab meat with a blue crab hollandaise ($16.49) on top. Those abstaining from oceanic eating can direct their eyes toward the super cheeseburger ($6.49, add bacon for $0.79), or the spicy barbecue chicken pizza ($11.99), while those abstaining from eating in general can explore the drink menu. Quench thirst with house specialty jungle juice ($6.99) or the noisy oystertini, a spicy mixture made of Tabasco, horseradish, and vodka ($6.50).
Feed starving eye sockets with visions of North Towne's talented chefs grilling away in the open kitchen, or let the fire come to you with kasseri cheese flamed at your table and served with pita wedges ($7.95). Greek spices and lemon sauce perfume broiling sea scallops and tire out tongues just in time for naps in accompanying beds of steak fries ($17.95). Purists can opt for skewers of lamb licked by the flames for North Towne's namesake grill ($17.95). Those with a taste for something less common can venture into an order of moussaka—baked layers of eggplant, seasoned beef, and creamy cheese sauce ($14.50). Other nosh options include crab, shrimp, roasted chicken, what your neighbor ordered, and steak entrees.
Dragon Palace Chinese Bistro’s Chef Cheng Sin Yung is completely dedicated to authenticity. He commissioned the construction of his bistro in Taiwan and then shipped the eatery to the states piece by piece, instead of taking the easy way out and floating it across the waters via iceberg. To craft meals that live up to his high standards of authenticity, he spent time in Hong Kong, meticulously honing time-honored Chinese recipes and techniques.
Throughout the lavish dining room, decked in rich maroons and golds, artwork from contemporary Chinese visionaries whispers of the ancient culture, and so does the food. Instead of bombarding patrons with a buffet of Chinese food, he painstakingly curates a menu of dishes including five-spice duck and royal steak kew. The menu forays into the unusual with dishes such as seafood bird nest and minced pork with chinese eggplant, but also includes some familiar dishes, such as lo mein and general tso’s chicken.
Lee Cummings, the founder of Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, learned the ropes from one of the country’s foremost poultry experts: his uncle, Colonel Harland Sanders. Together, he and the colonel opened more than 800 KFC stores selling fried chicken prepared in pressure cookers and battered with the duo’s famous blend of spices. It wasn’t until after his uncle sold KFC in 1962 that Lee began developing his own secret recipe, a development that would lead to the creation of the Lee’s Famous franchise in 1966.
Today, the franchise sells the fruits of his labor, Lee’s “Famous Recipe” chicken, plus buttermilk biscuits and housemade sides from locations in 14 states and four countries. Each piece of never-frozen chicken is hand-breaded and dipped into honey before being transferred to pressure cookers that crisp the exterior while maintaining a juicy interior. Though the original recipe remains untouched, Lee’s Famous has expanded its offerings over the years to include healthier oven-roasted and lava-charred options.
Chef William Brown, who has been helming The Open Hearth's kitchen for 35 years, grills fresh catches and sears steaks to such juicy perfection that they earned Fox Faves' Best Steak award in 2010. Small plates include broiled or fried scallops ($8), or a crispy lettuce wedge with a generous sprinkling of blue cheese and bacon crumbles ($5). Let your eyes rove over the main menu's list of scrumptious offerings, which include a tender filet mignon cozied up in the tender embrace of bacon ($25). South Carolina fried chicken ($15) maintains peace between territorial onion rings and gerrymandering steak fries. A full bar and extensive wine list allow patrons to pair their meals with quaffable selections or cap off meals with stirring performances of "Flight of the Bumblebee" on empty wine glasses.