But only Naples boasts the family-run business’ latest innovation – The Continental – opened in December 2014.
Leaving the realm of Italian and fine Mexican, The Continental is an all-American place. Its niche is two-fold: name-ranch steaks and craft cocktails. But yet it's multi-faceted, too, offering such original concepts as its daily changing fresh fish and dessert pie menus.
The Continental's courtyard makes a lush setting for dining and late-night partying — Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton
The steak takes center stage, however. It occupies one page of the dinner food menu, divided among the restaurant’s four beef providers. Each touts its own connoisseur-level characteristics.
Creekstone Farms, for instance, raises proprietary black Angus with no hormones, antibiotics or growth drugs. The cattle’s 100 percent vegetarian diet means tender and flavorful meat that The Continental serves in seven cuts from bone-in strip to porterhouse for two.
The Piedmontese beef in many ways is the most remarkable because, despite its leanness, the meat of Italian-bred cattle retains surprising tenderness.
The Continental serves two types of Japanese-originated Wagyu beef. The Darling Downs brand comes from Australia and excels at tenderness with its buttery marbling.
At the pinnacle of the steak experience at The Continental, the Japanese Wagyu A-5 is pure beef ecstasy, priced by weight. Many try the six-ounce minimum as an appetizer or sampler portion.
So The Continental is clearly no ordinary steakhouse. Owners break the mold with their menus, but also with the restaurant’s design.
The dining room, which shows the telltale opulence of a typical steakhouse, opens onto the courtyard, where a convivial bar, bougainvillea-framed setting, cabanas and live dinner entertainment make this something wholly other.
The experience, properly executed, should take hours, starting with craft cocktails from the hand-blown glass orbs hanging over the bar. Classic, Prohibition-era cocktails and others of the bar’s own invention mix fine gins, small-batch bourbons and other artisanal liquors with fresh ingredients and flavored bitters.
On the starters menu, don't miss the yellow tail carpaccio or utterly rich onion soup with bone marrow and pork belly.
Whether you choose steak, the seafood du jour or the once-on-a-lifetime burger made from house steak scraps and served on brioche, don’t skip the sides. The roasted and honeyed organic carrots make a nice departure from the rich, heavy potatoes gratin with serrano ham or the Brussels sprouts gratin.
The expert staff can guide you through the courses and the comprehensive, impressive wine list, which includes 25 by-the-glass selections.
If Key lime blackberry pie is on the night’s pie menu, don’t pass it up. Other choices might include salty caramel peanut blondie pie, traditional steakhouse cheesecake and to-die-for sundaes made from the house soft-serve ice cream.
The Continental also serves lunch, with all of the same steaks and many of the same appetizers and sides as the dinner menu, but also with a selection of egg dishes, salads and sandwiches.