Sea Dog Steak & Ale's menu catalogs hearty pub food and a deep well of beer. Every item on the menu pairs almost perfectly with one of the pub's 10 locally crafted brews served on tap, whether it's the milky Sea Dog Stout and the marinated grilled steak tips, the malty Winter Ale to wash down the chorizo-crusted haddock, or the crisp flavor of the Raspberry Wheat Ale as a palate cleanser after dinner. Sea Dog's chefs also grill 8-ounce filets mignons, which are as heavy as Willy Wonka minus his candy weight. The patties of seven specialty burgers blend ground beef, short rib, chuck, and brisket, all piled with toppings ranging from balsamic-marinated onions to root-beer barbecue sauce.
The alehouse's nightly crowd adds to the convivial ambiance of the pub by sharing drinks on its outdoor patio or in its rustic wood-paneled, chocolate- and almond-colored dining room. Frequent visitors can join the wine or mug clubs, which toss in benefits such as personalized mugs, T-shirts, and a spiritual connection with America's most famous beer drinker: Benjamin Franlin, the inventor of both mugs and T-shirts.
Dinner at Brazilian Steakhouse is a prix-fixe feast: all-you-can-eat portions of bacon-wrapped filet mignon, leg of lamb, and parmesan pork loin reside next to broccoli rabe sautéed with shallots and white wine. More than 70 wines complement these massive meals, including champagnes that sparkle in the light from the dining room's patterned window screens. Diners can ask for wine recommendations from the restaurant's attentive waiters, whose excellent service garnered the steak house a Diners' Choice Award in 2012 and a high-five from Transylvanians who made special requests because of their garlic "allergies."
At each of Oliveira's Steakhouse four locations, the crackling sizzle of roasting meat ring’s out like a starter’s pistol, signaling the beginning of Brazilian-style churrasco feasts. Weaving between tables, servers garbed in black shirts and scarlet neckerchiefs trot out flame-kissed chicken, pork, sausage, and rodízio steak presented upon a meat-laden short sword suitable for speedy delivery or elevating a busboy to knighthood. A salad bar supplements meaty mouthfuls with plates of leafy greens, rice, beans, and sauce-laden noodles.
If laughter is the best medicine, then chuckling with a mouthful of soup is an unstoppable recipe for relief—plus it really does help treat bugs. Send a bowl to an under-the-weather son at a faraway college, a family member who needs some cheering up, or grandma that thrives off competition. The most popular Just Soup package ($29.50) includes a half-gallon (four to six servings) of the savory elixir with the option to add noodles or matzo balls and a personalized message. You can also incorporate a huggable teddy bear ($18) or edible banana-walnut cake ($15.50) among many other add-ons. The soup is MSG free and is a homemade mix of grade-A chicken, fresh carrots, celery, and onion simmered for hours until Grandma approves. Aside from the tasty soup, a lengthy list of other care-package possibilities is available.
The burritos at Ixtapa Mexican Grill & Cantina aren't the handheld fast-food variety. Far from it, actually. The sauces and melted cheeses that smother the tortillas make them best eaten with a fork. Some of the burritos are stuffed with classic fillings, such as chicken or slices of grilled steak, whereas others are more innovative: the Atlantic Burrito is filled with shrimp, crab, fish, and scallops. There's even a fried apple-caramel burrito for dessert.
Though Ixtapa's chefs eagerly experiment with their dishes, there's no "Tex-Mex" on the menu?every taco, chimichanga, and enchilada is a remnant of an old family recipe. Each one can be traced back to its inspiration in Guadalajara and its namesake resort in Mexico. Margaritas complement the food with flavors of blackberry and kiwi, and range from the classic hand-shaken lime margarita to El Presidente, made with Cuervo 1800 tequila and delivered via motorcade.