Tower Room American Grille opened last month in Clark Tower. The restaurant is on the 33rd floor of the Memphis landmark building and was once home to the Summit Club. The space has been completely transformed, and the only thing that remains the same is the spectacular view. In-Rel, the company that owns Clark Tower, hired interior designers from the Crump Firm to give the restaurant an elegant, contemporary feel. The designers chose warm, rich colors of butterscotch with accents of eggplant. The decor also features new carpeting, chandeliers, and a state-of-the-art kitchen, including an open-flame grill to prepare the steaks and chops that make up a large portion of the dinner menu.

Though the name says "American," executive chef and general manager Ben Wilson employed global influences when creating the menu. From the sesame-crusted sashimi tuna to the Tuscan turkey focaccia panini, the lunch menu offers something to suit all tastes. The full bar features an extensive wine and champagne list.

The restaurant also features banquet facilities to serve parties from 25 to 600. "With experience at hotels in Dallas and casinos in Tunica, Chef Ben enjoys doing events where he can create special menus," says David Simmons, development consultant for the restaurant. "He won first place in a regional chef's competition last year and third place nationally, so he's really an up-and-coming chef."

The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch Monday through Friday and for dinner from 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call 767-8776 or see

Senses may be best known for its music, drinks, and dance -- what happens after dark. But now there's the "Before Dark" experience, which launched on April 8th. With the addition of sushi chef Mike Yeh to the staff, the ultramodern Orange Bar will be transformed into a sushi bar Monday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. Yeh, who worked for Sekisui for about 12 years, revamped the entire menu. Guests can choose from a wide assortment of appetizers or tempura à la carte or opt for a complete salad and entrée. Dinner options range from traditional dinners to specialties, such as sea bass, coconut-curry shrimp, or Kobe steak. Yeh also created more than 20 sushi rolls specifically for Senses. One of them is the "Techno Roll," which features eel and shrimp tempura topped with avocado. To go along with the pan-Asian theme, the bar has added more than 10 premium sakes to the drink menu.

Senses is located at 2866 Poplar, 454-4081.

Take a tour of South Africa's wines at Seasons at the White Church April 14th. Chef and co-owner Brian Harwell will pair Cape Classics' wines with a four-course dinner. The meal will begin with Laura Chenel goat-cheese ravioli with crispy chicken thigh, followed by blue-nose bass with a frisée lettuce, crispy potato, and prosciutto salad. The main course will feature Niman Ranch flatiron steak. For dessert, Harwell will serve strawberry and lemon trifle. Carter Nevill of United Liquor Distributors will be on hand to discuss the Blanc Stellenbosch and Shiraz wines, as well as the Canton Ginger Liqueur served with dessert. The dinner is the second installment in the Collierville restaurant's 2005 Wine Series. The cost is $49 per person.

White Church is located at 196 N. Main at Poplar in Collierville. Call 854-6433 for reservations.

Things are heating up in the parking lot of the Poplar Lounge, 2586 Poplar, during the Third Annual Hot Wing Contest April 16th. Joe Birch, WMC-Channel 5 newscaster, will be among the celebrity judges who will award cash prizes to the top three winners from 20 teams. The competition runs from 2 to 4 p.m., but the party goes on all day. Ten bands are scheduled to keep the music going from noon until 8 p.m. And it's not just beer, wings, and music. There will also be a silent auction. Place a bid on dinners from area restaurants, such as Huey's and Zinnie's East, a stay at Sam's Town Hotel and Casino, or an enormous bottle of beer from Buster's. The event is to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House and Judge Tim Dwyer's Drug Force.

"I started this thing about three years ago, because I love hot wings and I thought it would be a fun way to raise money for some good charities," says Paul Gagliano, a sales representative for Wallace Development Co., one of the event's sponsors.

For more information, call 274-0539.



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