This upscale supper club with Texas ties (the brother-sister owners opened the first Sambuca in Dallas) gussies up the gritty Gulch with live music seven nights a week and fine dining created by globe-trotting chef Stephen Shires. His extensive travel and experience in international kitchens of renown packs his menu with worldly influence and discovery. The nightly entertainment is built into the dining costs, which puts entrées in the $20-$30 range.
The Gulch outpost of the Texas-based chain brings fresh ingredients and urban polish to the roster of Mexican favorites, with a few unexpected signatures thrown in. With $13 quesadillas, this is not your cheap-and-cheerful south-of-the-border fare, but the service and atmosphere merit the premium. Grab a seat at the gleaming curved bar, snag an umbrella on the sidewalk or settle into a table in the sleek blond-wood dining rooms and sit back and enjoy the ride of fresh flavors. A palette of lime, cilantro, jalapeño and poblano showcases a repertoire of beef, chicken and seafood, with warm salsas and sizzling desserts. As Mexican as apple pie? Who knows. But when brandy butter, caramel and cinnamon ice cream meet on a sizzling platter, who really cares? — Carrington Fox