Though they can grill up tender pork ribs and make a mean barbecue sandwich, the chefs at Pepe’s BBQ really shine with their authentic Peruvian cooking. Within their smoky kitchen, they fold tender slices of steak into traditional dishes such as lomo saltado and bisteck a lo pobre. They pluck plump chickens straight from the spears of fiery rotisserie grills, then serve the birds Peruvian-style: dressed in spices and hand-knitted alpaca caps. To craft their ceviche dish, the chefs marinate fresh seafood in lime juice, onions, and cilantro. Diners await meals such as this next to the lofty windows in the seating area while sipping on fizzy Inka Cola—a sweet soft drink imported from Peru.
Chicken Delight is open 363 days a year, closing only on Christmas and Thanksgiving. It's a good thing it's open almost every day, serving locals heaping servings of their golden-fried chicken, mac and cheese, buttery rolls, wings, and homemade coleslaw. Not to mention the cookie-crusted Oreo mousse cake, or the buckets of ribs pulled up daily from the restaurant's sauce well. Family specials stock multiple bellies at once with piles of chicken, ribs, shrimp, and sides, while lunch specials pair favorite foods into hearty single-servings.
Tinga Taqueria slakes stomach suspirations with a menu stocked with quesadillas, tacos, salads, burritos, and other contemporary Mexican cuisine. Halt hunger with a classic Tinga burrito ($9.75), a flavor bomb of tender char-grilled chicken slathered in Tinga salsa and wrapped in your choice of a flour or whole-wheat tortilla wrapping paper. Customers ordering for their inner-brontosaurus can select the grilled vegetable platter ($9.45), a savory concoction of yellow and green zucchini, red pepper, and portobello mushrooms with rice and beans. Each order can be savored in Tinga Taqueria's welcoming restaurant or enjoyed at home with the help of a real-life delivery person. Like sock garters in an appropriate business suit, the delivery fee is included.
Red-hot wood embers smolder at the heart of Barbacoa BBQ's roasting pit, infusing the tender chicken and beef specialties with rich, smoky flavors. In the kitchen, cooks borrow traditional Caribbean and American culinary techniques to slowly seal in the flavors of each specialty dish. Chicken may be ordered half or whole to share with tablemates, as can racks of Barbacoa ribs. The kitchen staff also sears pork chops and new york steaks with just as much careful attention as when they read bedtime stories to each rib.
Local blues musicians and other artists generate a suitably warming and varied aural backdrop on which executive chef Patrick Pierre-Jerome swirls together flavors from New Orleans, Europe, and further afield. Hat City Kitchen's menu fills plates with inventive takes on comfort food such as shrimp and grits, jambalaya, bread pudding, and baby back ribs. The ribs don a combination of plum sauce, hoisin sauce, ketchup, and cocoa, which the New York Times says "sounds like a mouthful and, happily, is."
In front of a blocky quilted curtain, a rotating roster of live performers strums guitars and charms snakes back into drum kits beneath the exposed ductwork that runs above the cabaret-style seating. Hands Inc., a local nonprofit, presides over the eatery and works with a variety of artists to raise funds for projects designed to improve the Valley area.