From their command center behind the open sushi bar, Umi Sushi’s skilled chefs champion fresh, authentic Japanese fare by sculpting vibrantly hued rolls and umami-packed entrees. These culinary gurus scuttle about the kitchen decorating sleek white plates with traditional morsels infused with inventive flavors such as honey wasabi sauce and pink soy seaweed. Artistically composed platefuls of fresh fish and bowls of steaming noodles arrive before guests perched on modern wooden benches in the dining room. When warmer weather rolls in, Umi Sushi’s outdoor brick patio beckons eaters to sun on its stone benches as their chopsticks click through the kitchen’s masterpieces.
Soft candlelight illuminates the pistachio-green walls and minimalist decor of The Grill Room, a Zagat-rated, Manhattan-style restaurant that draws on pancontinental influences to craft its menu of New American fusion fare. While guests mingle over plates of chili-rubbed pork tenderloin and hearty Black Angus new york strip steaks, bartenders fill martini glasses with violet, green, and marbled cocktails and shake classic gin martinis to crystal-clear perfection. In the kitchen, Executive Chef Miguel Berrios oversees the creation of delicacies such as tuna tartar, Prince Edward Island mussels, and hibachi ribs. While the weekend crowd awaits tastings of his latest masterpiece, jazz musicians set up on the stage and prepare to regale their audience with saxophone solos, walking basslines, and crooning recitations of the bar’s daily specials.
Lauded by the New York Times, Butterfields Restaurant deftly pairs an upscale menu of New American cuisine with an opulent, chandeliered ambience. Let personal taste or a divining rod guide the choice among three lettuce, tomato, and onion-laden gourmet burgers, each flanked by a 12-ounce soda (a $2 value) and a retinue of adoring fries. The Parkside ($7.95) Burger presents a magnificent 10 ounces of Angus sirloin nestled in a toasted brioche, while The Butterfield Burger (an $8.95 value) adds to that embrace a guard of smoked bacon, cheddar, and frizzled onions. The Butterfield Bull Burger’s (an $8.95 value) tiers of smoked bacon and cheddar support a fried egg ripe for incisor yolk-goring.
With five locations—spanning Brooklyn, Queens, and Deer Park—the restaurant and juice bar fuels patrons with a health-conscious selection of dishes and drinks that are low in both fat and cholesterol. Cooks never fry or cook anything in oil, including the lean burgers, which arrive on wheat pitas or 100-calorie buns. The menu also features a number of fruity or creamy beverages that keep patrons’ health in mind, including the café mocha made with coffee, fat-free chocolate, and skim milk.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers' market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,330 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options, such as the pepperoni pretzel and eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs, slicing it into bite-size nuggets, or using it to build historically accurate Austrian villages. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonades.