Joy Hall Thompson spent her childhood in the kitchen?she was either helping her mom cook classic Southern food or spending time with her father, learning to make his signature marinade. Her parents' love for cooking was passed down to Joy, who now runs Southern Sisters Restaurant & Grille out of a renovated historical building in downtown Thomasville.
Just like her mother before her, Joy focuses on Southern favorites, but she adds a creative, upscale twist to each dish. Ms. Daisy's BLT updates the classic sandwich with fried green tomatoes, and the fried chicken is served with a house-made peach sauce. Hand-breaded fried oysters and shrimp are accompanied by pineapple slaw that's made with Joy's mom's own recipe. Her dad's influence is on the menu as well?Hall's Steakhouse Steaks are soaked for 24 hours?the average time a ribeye steak can hold its breath?in that same family-recipe marinade that Joy learned to make as a little girl.
It's been more than a half-century since the first Char-Grill opened its doors on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, but not much has changed at this beloved local chain. Whether in the original cinderblock building or one of the 10 locations that have been added since, people still approach the counter to jot down orders, pass them through the window, and then look on as cooks grill half- and quarter-pound steak patties over charcoal flames.
In addition to the signature smoky-flavored burgers, Char-Grill also fires up grilled chicken, chili dogs, and pulled-pork sandwiches. Milkshakes and fries add to the eatery's classic feel, helping land it on USA Today's list of 51 Great Burgers and reminding guests of simpler times when hamburgers were used as currency.
Each dish at Thai Herb Authentic Thai Cuisine incorporates dozens of fresh ingredients, creating taste profiles that are complex and painstakingly balanced. The chefs adhere to age-old techniques to create such harmonious blends, whether it's by complementing sweet basil with spicy peppers or by brightening the flavors of rich red curry with tropical mango and fresh coconut milk. It takes nearly a full day to craft each curry dish on the menu, meaning that diners should refrain from talking about sports-games outcomes until the chefs can visit their DVRs.
Steak Street whisks the senses on a transatlantic voyage. Gustatory journeys embark in the bar, where baseball gloves and bats accentuate a Cooperstown, New York, theme, before touching down amid the ivy-draped ceilings, commissioned murals, and wrought-iron balconies of the dining room's Tuscan-inspired decor. The corpulent dinner menu continues the global trek by collecting cuisines from Southern locales such as Charleston, the New Orleans French Quarter, and El Dorado.
Guests can savor hand-cut steaks soaked in specialty sauces and marinades after feasting upon appetizers such as the grilled Voodoo shrimp, which inspires conga lines on the ocean floor every time a fork prong is stuck into it. Live music accompanies meals most Friday and Saturday nights, and the bistro’s retractable enclosure reveals a stunning view of starry night skies or bright sunny days, during which visitors can enjoy snacks from the light-fare menu.
Housed within the elegant High Point Plaza Hotel & Conference Center, Bistro 135 invites locals and hotel guests alike inside for a causal dining experience. Not that head chef John Clark takes your meal casually. Instead, he crafts his own versions of high-end steak-house classics, from 12-ounce new york strips topped with garlic butter to grilled Atlantic salmon paired with mushroom risotto. For vegetarians, John concocts meat-free dishes, including grilled portobello sandwiches crowned with roasted squash and zucchini. Pours of beer and wine from the adjoining Pub 135 complement feasts, which unfold in an intimate dining room amid hardwood floors and vibrant frescoes.
Though its dining room isn’t surrounded by the Pacific, Shogun Japanese Restaurant nonetheless evokes the atmosphere of Japan with a mural of Mount Fuji and the rich aroma of authentic Japanese cuisine. The scent belongs to classic dishes such as vegetable udon, edamame, and hibachi- and teriyaki-style meats, as well as a special combination of pineapple juice, soy, and ginger sauce that marinates cuts of chargrilled chicken, steak, and shrimp.
Behind Shogun’s marble sushi bar, chefs artfully arrange plates of classic cucumber and philadelphia rolls. They create their own specialties, too, such as the spicy tuna-stuffed volcano roll, which comes with a side of lava.