Serving up French-style Louisiana cooking along with traditional American favorites for lunch and dinner, Fat Fish Blue also hosts live jazz and blues performances five nights a week. Start tongues tapping with a half pound of boiled crawfish ($6.99) and fried green tomatoes with collard greens, mobile relish, and Cajun mayo ($5.99). Entrees include the mumbo jambalaya chicken ($9.99) and the Cajun crawfish ravioli, which replaces the tiny crustaceans' hard outer shells with tender pasta and tosses them with sauteed chicken, onions, and pepper in a Cajun pepper cream ($17.99). Vegetarians can nosh a crisp veggie burger heaped with lettuce, tomato, and shaved onion ($7.99), while roving sweet teeth can be wooed back with desserts such as the carpetbagger, a chocolate sack filled with sponge cake, fresh fruit, and Godiva white chocolate mousse ($11.99). Fat Fish Blue also offers a spacious bar full of potent potables.
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.
At Samurai Sushi and Hibachi, diners sup on plates of freshly grilled hibachi meats, succulent sushi, and savory tempura in an atmosphere with the low-lit feel of a nightclub. Like a pie fight with explosions in the background, the restaurant blends food with entertainment: skilled chefs display their mastery of knifework at 12 hibachi tables as revelers sip cocktails and sake at a full-service bar or private party room. Rays of electric blue and purple light emanate from ceiling fixtures and disco balls, and walls of gray stone and leafy bamboo lend an organic touch to the chic décor.
The culinary creators at Taverne of Richfield whip up a delectable bevy of handcrafted appetizers, elegant entrees, and original cocktails, crafting a full menu with local ingredients. Allow appetites a warm-up lap with the mediterranean sampler, housing homemade italian sausage and smoked-mozzarella-stuffed pepper alongside bruschetta and fried calamari ($14). The Taverne express lunch, a bounty of endless soup, garden salad, and house-baked rolls served with gremolada oil ($7.99) sates busy, midday munchers and insomniac owls, and evening diners can curb hunger with the potato-crusted walleye, drizzled in a lemon, basil, white-wine sauce ($22), or gnaw on a New Zealand rack of lamb, marinated in dijon and lemon essence of rosemary ($26.50). The bartenders behind Taverne of Richfield’s sleek wooden bar sling an impressive selection of wine, beer, and specialty martinis, such as the strawberry starbust martini, a citrusy blend of raspberry and vanilla Stoli mingling with cranberry, pineapple, orange juice, and supernova dust ($7).
At Austin's Wood Fire Grill, hand-carved hunks of filet mignon and swordfish sizzle over wood-fueled flames, soaking up a smoky aroma. The restaurant’s refusal to use gas or the pages of paperback romance novels reflects a commitment to traditional, down-home cooking. This commitment also surfaces in their made-from-scratch breads, pan gravy sauce, and cognac cream sauce.
Specializing in Mediterranean-tinged Spanish dishes, Viva Fernando's matador chefs bait taste buds with a repertoire of delicate pasta twirls, meaty maneuvers, and seafood flourishes. The dinner menu includes palate primers such as the ravioli stuffed with mushrooms in a madeira-wine sauce ($8.95). The gazpacho with Andalusian–style vegetables is, like revenge, traditionally served chilled ($4.50). Carne cravers fill up on the slow-roasted lamb shank in a brandy sauce ($28.95), and the mixed seafood linguini spotlights a supergroup of clams, shrimp, scallops, mussels, and lobster doo-wopping in harmony ($19.95). A lunch menu stacked with Spanish sandwiches facilitates high-stakes games of sandwich Jenga, towering with such delicacies as the serrano ham with mozzarella, tomato, and basil ($9.95); noontime noshers can also stay fresh with leafy mélanges such as the blackened salmon on a bed of field greens ($11.95).