Epic Roasthouse, San Francisco.
“Epic” describes it all: the oversize dining room, the seven-foot flywheel and pulley that sits in the middle of the room (an homage to long-ago bayside pump houses), the mile-wide bay view, the huge metal fireplace, the hearty slabs of meat and, alas, the high prices. This is the latest venture, along with the neighboring seafood-themed Waterbar, of famed restaurant architect/owner Pat Kuleto. Chef Jan Birnbaum is in charge of putting the $54 porterhouses and the $25 burgers on the fire. For sides, he has opted for sautéed spinach with garlic confit instead of classic creamed spinach, and truffled cauliflower rather than scalloped potatoes. If you don’t have a Texas-size wallet but still want an Epic experience, head upstairs to the Quiver bar and graze off the bar menu. 369 The Embarcadero, Embarcadero. 415/369-9955. www.epicroasthousesf.com. AE, D, DC, MC, V. No lunch Sat. & Sun. Median entrée price: $32
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Set inside fashion boutique Achilles, this eco-friendly Fort Point restaurant attracts a mix of neighborhood artists and young office workers. Diners first converge in the lounge, which separates the boutique from the restaurant, to play Guitar Hero and munch on bar snacks such as baked-to-order pretzels. The main dining room, once you get there, has exposed-brick walls and aluminum accents, giving it an industrial feel that provides a simple backdrop to match chef Michael Leviton’s sustainable, locally-sourced food. Listed from small to extra-large on the menu, dishes include a veal shoulder that’s big enough to share and tub-trawled Maine halibut that’s pan-fried to produce a crispy skin. Drink options are myriad; there’s a rotating cocktail list, a sake list, and a small but unique wine list. 283 Summer St., Fort Point, South Boston. 617/695-2257. www.achilles-project.com. AE, D, MC, VC. Closed Sun. Median entrÃ©e price: $24.
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Beso, Los Angeles.
Celebrity chef Todd English takes on Hollywood, collaborating with television star Eva Longoria Parker at this stylish, Latin-themed restaurant with a name that means “kiss” in Spanish. Glittering chandeliers dangle over a dramatic scene: young hipsters sipping mojitos at a marble bar, and tourists sliding into cozy booths with a view of the prominent exhibition kitchen. To begin, start with one of the inventive appetizers, such as the soft shell crab with caper aioli taco, or the artichoke guacamole, or addictive crispy lamb ribs with peanut-chipotle sauce. For the main course, move on to a steak with chimichurri sauce, paella, or scallops with a mild mole. Churros with chocolate and dulce de leche dipping sauces make an ideal finale. Beso is pure Hollywood, but because it doesn’t take itself too seriously, it adds plenty of fun to the legendary neighborhood. 6350 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. 323/467-7991. Reservations essential. Closed Sun. No lunch. AE, D, MC, V. Median entrée price: $36.
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Cathouse, Las Vegas.
Handsome chef-about-town Kerry Simon left the Hard Rock Hotel in 2007 to open the first serious restaurant at the Luxor Hotel. Serious when it comes to the quality of the food, at least; one nibble of the steak tartare with mustard, chives, and caper berries proves this point. Cathouse is also silly, sly, and unabashedly scandalous: it’s a playful homage to European bordellos, complete with scantily-dressed servers, a foyer with peepholes, and faux bed chambers. Other standouts on the East-meets-West menu include steak frites with lobster béarnaise sauce, and grilled tuna niçoise. Luxor Resort and Casino, Las Vegas Blvd., South Strip.â€‰702/262-4228. www.cathouselv.com. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Median entrÃ©e price: $28.
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Grand Hyatt Guangzhou, Guangzhou.
“G” is the theme at the Grand Hyatt Guangzhou. For starters, thereâ€™s “G” restaurant, a contemporary eatery decked out with tan wood floors that feature bay windows looking out onto the fabled Pearl River. Then thereâ€™s “G” bar, with its burnished steel and lacquered wood décor, featuring a “walk through” wine cellar. Other highlights include a roof-top pool, six spa treatment facilities, and a 2,906 square-foot suite replete with a marble tub. Indeed, the size of the Hyatt’s rooms also adds to its appeal — there are 375 rooms ranging from 484 to a spacious 2,906 square feet. In a densely populated city, it’s key to offer spots of respite with lots of personal space; clearly, the Grand Hyatt Guangzhou is on top of this trend. Pros: Guanxi lounge offers one of the most unique meeting grounds in the city. Cons: hailing a taxi outside the hotel proves difficult; constructions sites surround the hotel. 12 Zhujiang West Road, Pearl River New City, Guangzhou. 020/8396-1234 (ph.). 020/8550-8234 (fax). www.guangzhou.grand.hyatt.com. 375 rooms, 28 suites. In room: safe, minibar, Wi-Fi. In hotel: 1 restaurant, bar, room service, pool, gym, spa, public Wi-Fi, laundry service, concierge. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at: RMB 1,200 ($176 USD).
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