Banana Leaf fills its dining room with platefuls of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free Indian meals cooked with fresh spices ground in-house. The juices from 16 curry dishes and seven rice specialties can be mopped from the plate with 10 different Indian breads and washed down with lassi drinks. Banana Leaf?s catering services, which serve small gatherings to weddings with more than 1,000 guests, both please party hosts and literally sustain festive homemakers stuck in a web of their own decorations.
Explorers Club's cozy, 100-year-old brick exterior lends a deceptively comfortable face to the restaurant's constantly experimenting kitchen. Owner Tracy Studer and Chef Dan Varga—both veterans of the late Harold Smith's Gloria Café—root their eatery's fare in playfully updated Latin American food such as chorizo sliders and plantain-topped burgers. Yet, Varga constantly flexes his culinary muscles with unusual menu additions such as his chili-citrus-flavored vegetable lo mein. Monthly menus jet around the globe—614 Magazine notes that after deciding on "a country or cuisine, [Varga] spends months researching the ingredients, history, and flavor profiles, and then experimenting in the kitchen," turning out tributes to Germany, Spain, and his ancestral Hungary. An impressive range of vegan and vegetarian options makes use of soy-based tempeh and tofu, catering to animal-loving humans and self-hating venus flytraps.
Hot Dogs Plus Cafe N' Cones recalls an old-fashioned ice-cream stand, with bright yellow brick walls, a walk-up dairy bar, and a menu of classic American carnival treats. Cheerful servers bustle about behind the counter, doling out freshly made foot-long coney dogs, pulled-pork sandwiches, and fried-green tomatoes. They swirl more than 50 flavors of soft-serve ice cream, and shower sundaes in hot caramel and salted nuts.
At The Butter Cafe, every dish that chefs create maintains their commitment to sustainable cooking and eating, from the fluffy, golden pancakes topped with organic sweet-cream butter to the omelets made with locally sourced, free-range eggs. This dedication to sustainability extends to ensure respect for animals and workers. Along with their all-day breakfast, which includes gluten-free and vegan options, lunch and dinner caters to meat lovers and vegans alike with hearty meatloaf served along with vegan hot dogs and spaghetti.
The old saying goes that if you can't stand the heat, you should stay out of the kitchen. That rule is a little harder to follow at Shi Chi Japanese Steakhouse since the chefs bring the kitchen right to you, cooking on special hibachi grills set into the tables. But here the heat isn't simply utilitarian, as the sizzling tables provide the night's entertainment as well. The flames lick pieces of filet mignon, shrimp, and lobster as chefs toss them into the air and onto patrons? plates. In addition to the grilled fare, each hibachi dinner includes soup, salad, rice, vegetables, green tea, and a choice of vanilla ice cream or pineapple sorbet. And, to keep the fun and conversation flowing, the restaurant also serves a variety of domestic and imported beers and sake served hot, cold, and or frozen on-a-stick.
At Maanas, chefs create authentic selections of North- and South-Indian cuisine. Within the spacious, 5,000 square-foot dining area, groups can dine on vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, tasting traditional dishes such as paneer tikka masala or chicken vindaloo, or take part in a lunch buffet served daily. Additionally, the restaurant's amiable staff even invites guests to visit their kitchen, to take glimpses of the state-of-the-art facility and dishes currently being made-to-order.