This bistro has slowly accrued a wall's worth of accolades and "best of" awards along with its devoted, largely non-Chinese clientele. Crisp linens, Chinese floral prints, and sprays of silk orchids lend a dash of formality to the proceedings, but the menu reads like a greatest-hits list of Cantonese-American dishes. That means a workhorse hot and sour soup, juicy pork spare ribs, sweet-tangy orange beef and nurturing pan-fried chow fun noodles.
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Features house-made pastas and simple, gutsy pizzas and salads. The restaurant space itself is pleasant and inviting, nothing super fancy, but with generous booths and white-clothed tables, a separate barroom featuring a long, marble-topped bar and comfy leather bar stools. Service is similarly warm, not too formal, with waiters willing and able to guide you through the short two-page menu of familiar Italian preparations.
In the 580 Plaza. Happy Hour from 4-7 p.m. daily. Hours : lunch starting at 11:30 a.m. Mon.-Fri., then 4-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., until 11 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
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James Keene spent years at Haiku Sushi in St. Petersburg, as sushi chef at Island Way and then as opening sushi chef at the Venue. At Pisces, the focused menu stays rooted in Japan with the odd South American or Mediterranean fillip. The sushi aesthetic is clean, without a lot of gloppiness, and demonstrates a clear knack for juxtapositions of texture. Panko gives crunch often, as in a lively veggie roll (there are lots of vegetarian options) called I Yam What I Yam, with panko-edged sweet potato and spinach topped with avo and garlicky aioli, the whole thing edged with crunchy bits of rice cracker.
The Dirty Martini definitely lives up to its name. With gimmicks like nearly naked sushi, nude body painting and "skin parties," this upscale club is all about being naughty while serving up an array of fine martinis in a posh South Beach-style atmosphere - and does it all right off U.S. 19, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.
Easily one of the biggest sports bars in this part of the bay area, Varsity shows sports games on all sorts of channels, with more than a dozen TVs and all the major season tickets. There's a full-on game room in the rear, including Tee, bowling and shooting games, and a dining area sits between the games the coffee shop-size bar area.
Dance club with separate bar, Top 40 Dance Mix, Old School Dance Party, champagne and bottle service.
Hours: 5 p.m.-3 a.m. daily.
Kids of any age are free to run, jump and climb on games, rides and attractions. You'll find everything from video games and high tech simulators to kiddie rides.
Glow-in-the-dark Cosmic Bowling from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Friday and Saturday.
The snack bar offers several sandwiches and pizza. Lucky's Sports Bar has big-screen TVs, four pool tables, an Internet jukebox, dart boards and a Foozball table.
Prices: $3 - $3.85 per game. Cosmic Bowl, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. is $3.85 per game per person or $14.02 per hour. Late-night specials.
Two story arcade with an indoor Lasertron. Outdoor activities include a batting cage, bumper boats, mini-golf, go-karts and carnival rides. Go-kart track is suited for families and kids. Drivers must be at least 56 inches tall; passengers 36 to 56 inches.