Herradura's kitchen hums with the sounds of simmering Mexican sauces and sizzling meats. Chef Rita Castro fries up fresh shrimp, crab, and scallops for seafood fajitas, stuffs taquitos with beef or chicken, and adorns cheese enchiladas with pork, onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Bartenders blend natural juices into pitchers of mango, cactus fruit, and guava margaritas, drawing from an 18-year-old recipe formulated by brothers Raul and Oscar.
Pinatas dangle from the ceiling at Chaska My Love, giving them a perfect view of the restaurant's orange and red walls adorned with murals of iconic Mexican images and landscapes. Below, diners nestle into bright blue booths before tucking into plates heaped high with flavorful dishes, such as carne asada, sizzling fajitas, and guacamole made with fresh avocados. The menu offers a variety of authentic Mexican appetizers, entrees, and desserts, as well as antojitos, which translates to "little cravings" and refers to Mexican street food such as tacos and tamales.
The lengthy menu at Tian Jin Chinese Restaurant includes dishes described as "authentic, flavorful, and unique" by Mpls. St.Paul Magazine that are each inspired by the owners' frequent trips to China. After each trip, region-specific foods are hand-picked to comprises dishes at Tian Jin Chinese Restaurant. Entree selections include whole halibut stewed in wild chili sauce, Mandarin beef with golden garlic, sizzling steak in black pepper sauce, giant walnut shrimp, and a chrysanthemum sole fillet in tomato sauce, a 2012 Taste of Chanhassen Grand Prize winner. Tian Jin Chinese Restaurant also has a sister restaurant in Cafe 99, which twincities.com describes as "the real deal" with dishes not seen elsewhere.
Tokyo Sushi & Grill's expansive menu combines hot appetizers and entrees with cool and contemporary sushi rolls that please both traditional and daring palates. Those embarking on a new journey into raw fish can begin with simple slices of assorted sashimi ($18.95) or warm up to the idea with a cooked roll such as the toasted salmon skin with cucumber ($5.95). Tokyo?s specialty rolls balance sweetness and spice as deftly as a love letter written in hot sauce, and include the Happy Roll (spicy tuna, smoked eel, and banana tempura; $12.95) and the Fire Island (Alaska crabmeat and chili sauce; $13.95). Dinner entrees such as beef teriyaki ($15.95) and shrimp tempura ($16.95) are accompanied by soup, spring rolls, shumai, rice, salad, and a california roll.
The brick façade and striped awnings of Dangerfield's have stood for more than 20 years alongside the south bank of the Minnesota River. Inside, brick archways and wooden wainscoting create a warm setting, and there's also an outdoor terrace, screened in by a netted dome to ward off bugs and confetti dropped by exuberant skydivers. Chefs transform Angus beef into steaks, medallions, and half-pound burgers, and they highlight the delicate flavors of Canadian walleye and jumbo shrimp with citrusy sauces. A full bar and wine list help nurture good spirits, and the join also hosts national and local comedians in their lower level on the weekends.
With a fire burning in a stone hearth and a porch overlooking the iridescent lake, the main dining room at Lord Fletcher's Old Lake Lodge recreates a classic lodge setting. The aromas of Chef Thomas Pivec’s gourmet steak-house cuisine fill the space year-round, ranging from grilled boneless rib eyes to cold-water lobster tails broiled with clarified butter. Private feasts are held in five banquet dining rooms, including a pub decorated with English house brass and a nautical room full of sailing artifacts and shelves full of murmuring squid.
Over in Lord Fletcher's newly remodeled Oar House, barkeeps pour more than 50 local, craft, and international beers that complement upscale bar snacks. Ten flat-screen TVs keep viewers up-to-date on sports, and sliding glass doors open onto the Wharf, Lord Fletcher's lakeside deck, which is the size of one football field or 100 one-yard models of football fields. There, chefs whip up casual dishes, bartenders man three full bars, and live musicians keep toes tapping every summer weekend. Competitors serve and spike volleyballs at three lakeside sand courts in warmer months, and broomball leagues kick off each winter when the lake freezes over.