FOOD & DRINK: Bites pan-american

Genuine US-inspired restaurants are actually as rare as a rodeo in Macclesfield

Buffalo Grill, 12-14 Chapel Street, Edinburgh (0131-667 7427). Mon-Fri lunch and dinner, Sat, Sun dinner. It's not big, it's not brash, it's not bad. So this cosy BYO joint is not your typical American-themed diner, and decor pays homage to Native Americans. Beef is Scottish and treated with the respect accorded to meat in the US. Variations on burgers and steaks include teriyaki and carpetbag (stuffed with oysters), plus there are specials such as blackened catfish; Cajun-marinaded shark steak, and always jambalaya. Around pounds 15: no corkage charge.

Cayenne, 7 Lesley House, Shaftesbury Square, Belfast (01232 331532). Daily lunch and dinner. Ever the pioneers, Paul and Jeanne Rankin have converted Michelin-starred Roscoff into a more informal, American-influenced restaurant, and as Jeanne comes from the States, they'll get it right. It's not exclusively US, but there's Mexican tortilla soup; glazed chilli quail; and Mexican chocolate pie with Kahlua cream amongst more worldwide- ranging dishes - risottos, Asian accents and home comforts like steamed ginger pudding. pounds 20 for three courses.

Prospect Grill, 46 Garrick Street, London WC2 (0171-379 0412). Mon-Fri lunch and dinner. Sat 11.45am-midnight. A professional, East Coast kind of place with a bookish, leather-upholstery-and-reading-lamp look. Simple, States-ish classics include salmon fish cakes with parsley sauce; grilled swordfish with coriander salsa; and a very fine hamburger with chips (pounds 8.95). Though it leans more to the other side of the Atlantic, creme brulee or chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream for afters show it keeps a foot in each continent. Drinks from Bloody Mary to after-dinner Grasshopper are also just so. Without any, around pounds 20.

Utah, 118A High Street, Wimbledon, London SW19 (0181-944 1909). Mon- Fri lunch and dinner, Sat, Sun brunch and dinner. The latest in the Montana group of new-wave American restaurants brings the likes of blue cheese tamale with roast pepper stew and sage crema; maple-roasted quail with citrus and date couscous. Can't vouch for this branch, but the others, such as Idaho, Dakota and Canyon, have some of the best US southwestern grub in town. Around pounds 25-pounds 30 for dinner; brunch is highly family friendly.

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