The earthiness of freshly ground espresso mingles with the buttery scent of crepes cooking on the griddle all day at 407 Cafe. Chefs fold the lacelike golden circlets of batter around fillings such as roast beef and sharp cheddar cheese or Nutella and strawberries. With a sizzling drumroll, a panini press shuts on sandwiches until mozzarella cheese melts perfectly around grilled chicken, fresh spinach, and sweet yellow raisins. In the kitchen, cooks craft gelato, a delicate process of folding together eggs, milk, sugar, and loads of fruit. Glass vases on the white dining-room tables brim with coffee beans and bright-green stalks of bamboo like the diorama a biologist makes to get a PhD.
At Green Lemon Cafe, ceramic salt- and peppershakers masquerade as pairs of flamingos, crabs, and dairy cows. The figurines mirror the café's harmonious atmosphere: on any given day, patrons munch Fresh-inspired café fare, chat with owner Amanda Volence, or sprout goatees while browsing original artwork.
In the kitchen, chefs pack Boar's Head meats into savory crepes and paninis such as the black forest ham and swiss panini or the raspberry-chicken crepe with jack cheese and spinach. Alternately, cooks fill the apple-crisp crepe—1 of more than 30 crepe options—with cinnamon, apples, caramel, and graham-cracker crumbs.
The culinary connoisseurs at El Caldo Puertorican Restaurant summon an array of spices, seafood, and meat for a satiating menu of succulent Caribbean fare. Mouths water when close to the thin-sliced palomilla steak ($9), which staggers under the weight of its accompanying onions and optional anvil as it arrives at the table, and bite-size fried chicken ($9) clings to the bone while lounging on plates. The paella’s medley of seafood includes mussels, scallops, and lobster, which join chorizo and beef tips before tickling taste buds ($20). By the end of slurping the seven potencia’s rich seafood broth ($17), diners are sated enough to stop diving for clams at the bottom of their bathtub.
Every day until at least midnight, the floor of Bananas Diner is bustling. Often, it's for the bounties of reinvented diner food. Stuffed french toast coated in rice crispies, chicken 'n' waffles, and unusual benedicts—such as the eatery's signature Funky Monkey topped with fried goat cheese, sun-dried tomato jam, and hollandaise—add an element of novelty to the morning. Lunch and dinner bring surprises as well. Take the Garbage Plate, for instance, which smothers burger patties, hot dogs, or grilled chicken breasts with a tower of hash browns, macaroni salad, cheese, onions, and salsa. Nine burger varieties grant the option of an Angus beef, turkey, chicken, or veggie patty, while an array of classic sandwiches pay homage to deli tradition better than a bagel stuffed with take-a-number tickets.
But sometimes, the crowd is there for something else entirely. On weekends, when the diner stays open 24 hours a day, servers dressed in drag ferry eclectic breakfast dishes to customers while female impersonators hold court on stage for the Sunday Gospel Brunch. Other past events have included Queengo (the diner's own take on bingo), Broadway-themed drag shows, and the competition known as Bananas Got Talent. No wonder Bananas Diner has won multiple best-of awards from OpenTable diners.
Aiming to emulate the tucked-away wine bars and cafes of Europe, Le Rouge Wine Bar and Tapas accommodates its guests in the low-lit, loungey atmosphere with chic, comfortable chairs and warm tones. Of course, there's wine. Along one wall, rows of wine bottles are displayed adjacent to a line of intimate tables where couples share small plates, or wait for the next course in a tasting menu coupled with wine pairings.
The Venetian Room is fine dining the way it was meant to be. Intimate, award-winning and offering superb cuisine sure to wow your most-difficult-to-impress friends or clients. Known for award-winning service and food, named the Best Restaurant and Best Place to Propose. AAA Four Diamond rating for seven years in a row.