Chef Zé Carlos Jiménez's whole career is a balancing act. As a child growing up in Cuautia Morelos, Mexico, he spent his afternoons in a de facto apprenticeship in his grandmother's kitchen. He watched her roll handmade tortillas and tinker with spices before finding just the right blend to balance out her homespun dinners. As an adult, Chef Zé Carlos treats his own kitchen as a playground, paying homage to his grandmother's family recipes while fusing traditional Mexican street food and fine dining—a style he calls New Mexican Gourmet Cuisine.
The menu—complete with a touching epigraph to Meche, his grandmother—is a compendium of his attempts to blend the two worlds. On the haute end of the spectrum are dishes like the Nopales salad, brimming with pickled cactus and his own housemade vinagrette. Fish-and-shrimp tacos sprinkled with fresh cilantro hold down the street-food side of the culinary fort. Where the menu shines, though, is somewhere in the middle, with dishes such as the molcajetes—Spanish for "stone mortar." The upscale take on Mexican comfort food blends beef or shrimp in the eponymous stone dish along with the tastebud-tingling flavors of nopales, chorizo, and roasted tomato-tomatillo sauce.
Sushi may be synonymous with Japan, but Chef Adrian Rojas draws on international influences when creating Miyako Japanese Restaurant's menu. In addition to working in modern sushi bars, Chef Rojas has cooked his way through Europe and South America. The flavors he picked up along the way add tasty flair to each plate, whether he's rolling up sushi or cooking a noodle dish.
Chef Rojas and his team infuse unexpected notes into hot entrees such as breaded, deep-fried pork, or spicy chicken saut?ed with onions and carrots. But it's the sushi rolls that best represent the kitchen's culinary fusion. The red kryptonite roll, for instance, combines spicy tuna with jalape?os, while the coconut shrimp roll holds tropical ingredients including guava and mango. Equal detail is lavished on presentation?rolls and sashimi can be strapped into tiny life vests and loaded into sushi boats, or served atop live models during body sushi events.
The sounds of air hockey pucks whishing toward their targets intermingle with myriad beeps, bells, and general revelry inside Game Time's colorful space, where participants stand captivated by the dizzying selection of games at their disposal. Alongside hands-on amusements, a sports bar perches in the middle of the room to flaunt a set of pool tables and 20 large flat-screen TVs displaying sports commentators that attempt to pour themselves draft beers when bartenders aren't looking. After high-stakes rounds of skee-ball or Cyclone, ravenous players can sidle up to the restaurant where classic American staples such as chicken wings and club sandwiches sate victory-fueled hunger.
After naming ROK:BRGR the best burger joint in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach in 2011, the New Times Broward-Palm Beach repeated the honor in 2012. "If you take apart" one of the restaurant's 17 handcrafted burgers, the paper claimed, and "dissect it into its basic components, you'll figure out why ROK:BRGR deserves this award."
Said components are all local and farm-to-table, from artisan cheese to certified Angus beef. To crown his beef patties, Chef Robbyns Martinez uses everything from chorizo and red-onion marmalade to cave-aged gruyère, which is harvested by spelunking cows. Besides beef, ROK:BRGR's specialties include a free-range turkey burger topped with baby arugula and an ahi-tuna burger drizzled with wasabi mayo.
Innovative twists on comfort food round out the menu, from lobster corn dogs to bacon-infused Kobe meatloaf. Bacon reappears on ROK:BRGR's roster of handmade cocktails, which includes an updated old fashioned made with bacon-infused Maker's Mark. Along with cocktails, more than 65 domestic craft beers can accompany meals.
Town Kitchen & Bar's Executive Chef Michael Altman earned his whites in New York City, working under renowned restaurateur Charlie Palmer. When Altman moved to Miami in 2005, he brought with him a flair for crowd-pleasing American cuisine that can be seen in his menu of brick-oven pizzas, Black Angus burgers, and shareable bar nibbles. Classic egg and pancake breakfasts fill bellies on the weekends and come accompanied by mimosa and bloody mary specials. Town’s decor blends the industrial with the sleek, mixing exposed ductwork and high ceilings with leather booths and pendant lights. The bar stays hopping seven days a week, offering a daily happy hour that lasts three hours, as well as ladies’-night promotions. As they listen to a DJ’s tunes, revelers can sip microbrews, specialty shots, and signature cocktails such as the Spring Samba—Veev açai and St.-Germain elderflower liqueurs with agave nectar, lemon, and cucumber. The bar discounts many bottles from its nearly 200-strong list of domestic and imported wines throughout the week; it won a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2012.
The chefs at GO!Bento fill traditional Japanese-style bento boxes with entrees and sides from Chinese, Thai, and other Asian cuisines. Bento boxes in sizes from the petite Go! Ninja to the hearty Go! Sumo mingle pad thai, honey-garlic chicken, lo mein noodles, and steamed pot stickers. GO!Bento also riffs on hot dogs with katsu-fried franks, avocado, and spicy mayonnaise. The kitchen team coils specialty sushi rolls such as the BFF, whose circumference of tuna, salmon, and whitefish is measured in friendship bracelets. Branching out from their core competency of savory seafood, the staff also drizzles donuts with condensed milk and green-tea ice cream to round out the menu.