If cooking were a language, the chefs at Makoto Japanese Restaurant would be multilingual. They follow Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, and Thai cooking traditions to craft dishes ranging from Thai-style duck with curry sauce to broiled eel with seaweed salad and Japanese pickles. At any given time, they might be slicing fresh sashimi in the kitchen or dazzling hungry guests at tableside hibachi grills. They approach grilling as a performance, thrilling audiences by flipping juicy steaks, sizzling tender scallops, and chopping vegetables fast enough to ignite the flames that light the grill. Wooden walls border the hibachi tables, creating an air of exclusivity as diners delight in the semi-private show.
Gold-leaf writing inscribed across the towering red portico at the entrance to The Shannon Rose Irish Pub announces what one might expect to find inside: “Premium Stouts,” “Irish Whiskies,” and other culinary staples of the Emerald Isles. Behind this imposing entryway lies a series of dining rooms that have a markedly different effect; chandeliers create a sense of intimacy as they illuminate Gaelic artwork and aged hardcovers resting on lofty bookshelves.
Cooks at Towne Mart and Deli pile Boar’s Head deli meat on seven-inch subs and scoop sides of pasta salad. In addition to preparing chipotle chicken sandwiches, the staff slices deli meat by the pound for at-home meals and stocks the shelves with dry goods.
Green Chilli's amiable staff maintains a friendly vibe as they circulate the room with steaming hot Indian specialties. Naan and roti flatbreads scoop up mouthfuls of rice from artistically arranged biryani plates and the rich sauces of goat and seafood curries. In addition to sweet desserts and the blueprints of the Taj Mahal, Green Chilli's menu includes more than a dozen vegetarian dishes, which eschew meat in favor of flavorful ingredients such as lentils and cottage cheese.
The pizza slingers at Papa John's toss each doughy discus by hand, and top their signature sauce with decadent mozzarella, fresh vegetables, and quality meats. Pie Picassos design two pies with up to two toppings each, and can commission a portrait of baby portobello mushrooms and spicy italian sausage posing against a backdrop of chewy crust or forge a blend of three cheeses smattered with crispy bacon. Tongues tiring of pizza's circular logic can take between-bite breaks with a side of breadsticks or parmesan-garlic breadsticks. A splashy two-liter beverage keeps taste buds on their toes. Order online to arrange a pickup or delivery, or visit a Papa John's location to dine right where the cheese sticks are harvested.
Volga Restaurant brings India's diverse culinary traditions to Iselin, featuring classic dishes from virtually every pocket of the country. The BYOB eatery strives to make distinctive flavors available and accessible by keeping the tandoor oven roasting until midnight seven days a week. Crepe-like dosas filled with everything from garlic to onion masala draw inspiration from the Indian subcontinent's southern regions, while the roasted skewers of chicken tandoori demonstrate one of the northern regions' most iconic cooking techniques. Additionally, dishes such as the Manchurian-spiced paneer cheese represent the cultural and culinary fusion that appears along the Indo-Chinese border, which is divided by a long row of obedient lambs.