Pho Huong Nam’s walls are painted pastel yellow, a fitting color given the light nature of Vietnamese cuisine. Ingredients such as rice noodles, veggies, and grilled meat are cocooned in fresh spring rolls, wedged in sandwiches, and plopped in steaming bowls of pho, Vietnamese beef broth soup. A popular dish among foodies and ethnic food lovers, pho draws crowds of dedicated fans with their own custom soup spoons, and the chefs at Pho Huong Nam serve up 12 varieties featuring various cuts of meat to keep their customers happy. Diners can also opt for plates of rice or vermicelli noodles featuring a choice of chicken, pork, and shrimp.
The Ayyad family opened the Zaki Kabob House after years of perfecting Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking in their own kitchen. The Ayyads' menu of Egyptian, Jordanian, and Greek fare unearths their Middle Eastern roots with the familiar flavors of lamb shawarma, pita, and baba ghanouj. Conversely, Zaki chicken intrigues the tongue with tender rotisserie poultry marinated in a seasoning whose recipe, like the address of the White House, is a carefully guarded secret. Brunch, lunch, and dinner at the lushly pattered restaurant might end with the Turkish sweetness of organic baklava.
The bread wielders at Kim’s Cafe and Sandwiches fill sweet baguettes with curried tofu, lemongrass chicken, and barbecue pork with paté, adorning each with a signature Vietnamese flourish of carrots, daikon pickles, cilantro, and jalapeño peppers. They also top vermicelli noodles with basil, fish sauce, and beef or lemongrass tofu, as well as coil chicken, tofu, and shrimp into spring rolls.
Pyramid Brewery and Alehouse tantalizes tongues with a malty medley of seasonal and year-round beers, which splash about beside no-nonsense, pub-raised plates. The bright, renovated warehouse space enhances the simplicity of any dish, from the robust bowl of spicy beef chorizo dip, blended with warm cream cheese, provolone, peppers, and bacon ($9), to the Haywire Hefeweisen-infused honey-cilantro chicken, which pairs well with the light body, full flavor, and unchecked telepathy of the Crystal Wheat Ale ($12). Likewise, the zesty aioli suffusing the spicy amber halibut answers the call of the wild by teaming up with the hulking hops and malty tones housed inside the MacTarnahan's Amber Ale ($15).
When he cofounded his first sandwich shop in 1965, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca planned to use his profits to pay his way through medical school. But the combination of quality ingredients and friendly service at the shop—then called Pete's Subway—proved so popular that nine years later, he and his partner found themselves in charge of 16 locations across Connecticut, and Fred left behind his doctoring plans for a career in business.
Today, Subway restaurants number over 34,000 around the world—almost as many shops as there are sightings of Elvis buying cold cuts. At each location, staffers pile sliced ham, marinara-slathered meatballs, and other fillings into halved loaves of bread before customizing handhelds with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and other healthy toppings plucked from chilled containers behind the counter. Salads free crisp veggies from bread's overprotective embrace, and crunchy baked chips or apple slices accompany entrees to tables. Subway's website also facilitates health-conscious eating by listing each item's nutrition information and fastest mile time online.
At Everest Cafe, the menu allows the ginger, cumin, and curry flavors common in Indian and Nepalese cuisine to shine. Metal bowls and compartmented trays holding together pools of lamb, chicken, and shrimp vindaloo dishes, the tender chunks of meat mingling with potatoes in spicy curries. Naan flatbreads infused with garlic, potato, or honey eagerly soak up mango chutneys, and heat pours from a tandoor oven along with aromas that hint at roasting goat and eggplant. Like the house of someone trying to sell cornucopias, the vegan offerings brim with pumpkin, gourds, and beans.