At local Hilton Head favorite Roastfish and Cornbread, authentic low country picks range from startup conch fritters to house favorite Port Royal Platter and the signature all-natural lamb stew. Try the whole roasted tilapia with stuffed mango and the sweet potato cornbread and pray that the dessert du jour is the sweet potato pecan praline pie. With colorful island décor and a location upon the aesthetically pleasing beaten path, the only thing juke-joint about this establishment is the unbelievable pricing. Three-dollar crab cake, anyone?(70 Marshland Road, Hilton Head, S.C.; 843-342-2996).
At Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Asian-influenced restaurant Chifa, tease your palate with fusion delights like scallion pancakes with sesame mayo or the “naughty” Chicha Movado (a spiced rum drink with purple Peruvian corn and pineapple). Then take your taste buds to the limit with the Thai sausage sandwich with avocado and pickled papaya, or try it sans bread with flavored rice and sweet and spicy tamarind chile sauce (707 Chestnut St., Philadelphia; 215-925-5555).
The first thing you’ll notice about Dhaba is the ambience. Nestled in the Flatiron district of Manhattan, the cozy atmosphere makes it a perfect first-date or date night location. Wait service is very attentive—before you’re nestled into your booth, there will be warm naan (leavened bread) on your table with assorted sauces. Go for the classics: Dhaba’s chicken tikka masala is expertly prepared and will not disappoint. The desserts may leave much to be desired, but fortunately, you’ll be too full after dinner to even bother (108 Lexington Ave., New York, N.Y.; 212-679-1284).