As the first sign that this isn't a typical sushi bar, Kyushu sushi's chefs slice fresh fish before a floral-toned backdrop made from a collage of close-up photos of candles, blossoms, and bamboo stalks. This collage and a large photo of orange-glowing lanterns floating atop twilight-colored water brighten the space. The break from tradition continues with the menu, which changes based on the day's available ingredients and whether aliens have come down to pick up all earth’s broccoli yet. While diners can find teriyaki or katsu dishes, they can also choose from inventive fare, such as monkfish-liver pâte with miso sauce, also known as the foie gras of the sea. The sushi chefs wrap unusual ingredients between layers of seaweed and black and white rice with colorful accents of mint, wasabi, and caviar.
It’s easy to find the party at Aventura Lounge & Grill—just follow the sparks that fly from the necks of bottle-service liquors or the beats pulsing from the DJ booth. Patrons can groove beneath the colorful lights that swirl on the dance floor or relax on a couch in a VIP lounge sectioned off by velvet ropes and a force field visible only to those wearing sunglasses. To fuel up for the night, order dinner from the barbecue-centric menu; apricot-brandy sauce glazes center-cut pork chops, and sides such as corn on the cob or baked sweet potatoes pair with hickory-smoked ribs.
Slinger's Sports Restaurant's head chef, Nick Tokarski, presides over an eclectic menu of casual and upscale fare, filling mouths in a convivial atmosphere illumined by 11 high-definition TVs. For appetizers, dining companions divvy up a dozen steamed littleneck clams simmered with roasted garlic, bacon, and white wine, or prime palates with the zesty Sichuan sauce coating Ray’s spicy shrimp. Built upon a homemade flatbread foundation, the Chef’s pie pizza pairs melty cheeses with tomato sauce, wild mushrooms, red onions, and fresh basil, fostering an ideal avenue for flaunting your outfit’s built-in bib. Dre's burger stacks 8 ounces of Black Angus with guacamole and chipotle mayo and tames tongues with a flavor lasso made of jalapeños and jack and cheddar cheeses. At the Mac Bar, noshers craft macaroni masterpieces from three cheesy styles and a cornucopia of varied toppings, from hard-boiled eggs to meatballs to blackened shrimp.
Pleasant Road Spa is a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation. Within, a team of licensed aestheticians use renowned Dermaologica and Skinceuticals products to perform more than a dozen facial treatments, including specialized services for men and expectant mothers. Adventurous clients can dabble in advanced treatments such as glycolic peels or microdermabrasion, which intensively exfoliates the face to dissolve signs of aging or soreness from a staring contest with a raccoon. Nearby, massage therapists tend to sore muscles and joints with half a dozen therapeutic techniques, while nail techs execute soothing pedicures laced with green-tea and peppermint essential oils. Excessively hirsute guests can get un-hirsuted with an array of waxing services for the face and body.
During the 2012 Thai Restaurant Week, 11 metropolitan Thai eateries were recognized by Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand's Prime Minister, with a certification from the Thai Trade Center acknowledging their superior quality of ingredients, preparation, and authentic flavors. One look at Ploi Thai's menu and it is not hard to imagine why they received such an honorable distinction. Their dishes––such as skewered chicken satay or curry-pasted salmon––tug many culinary threads, blanketing diners in a patchwork of flavors that draw from northern and central Thailand. Chefs conjure these dishes from local ingredients and seasonings, eschewing such questionable additives as MSG and textbooks that attribute the theory of relativity to Franklin Delano Einstein. Since the restaurant is BYOB, diners can tote along their own fermented beverages to pair with the sweet ginger salmon, which arrives in a pool of ginger and black-bean sauce dotted with shiitake-mushroom rafts. Inside the dining room, colorful, low-slung lights illuminate the handful of tables that are strewn across the restaurant's pale hardwood floors, and geometric cutouts and sprays of orchids punctuate cobalt walls.
The River Café Trattoria serves wood-burning brick-oven pizza and fresh Italian favorites in a family-friendly atmosphere. Start dinner with a taste of Tuscany antipasti, a culinary welcoming committee of fresh mozzarella, sopressata, artichokes, roasted peppers, fried eggplant, and Sicilian olives ($12). Inside the fiery brick oven, quattro stagionia pizzas bake and bubble around a mouth-watering compilation of prosciutto, artichokes, mushrooms, and black olives ($15.95 for a 14” pie). A classic margherita hits the fresh-basil spot ($12.95 for a 14” pizza), though fork-holding green thumbs may find their herb fix with the gnocchi al pesto ($13). Glasses of fresh juices ($3.50) or canned colas ($1.30) can be poured directly into gullets or mixed together with bring-your-own beverages. A pizza alla Nutella topped with bananas, strawberries, and powdered sugar ($10) finishes the meal if traditional Italian deserts such as tiramisu ($4) don’t get there first.