Locally, it's called shaved snow. In Taiwan, it's called xue hua bing. The New Haven Independent called it "sweet, faintly creamy, and refreshing." Each shaved snow treat starts as a block of milk and water with a flavor?such as taro, strawberry, mango, or green tea?before it's shaved super thin. The result is a tall cup of light and fluffy shaved ice that helps make hot days cool and anyone low on sugar friendly again. Snojoy Cafe has plenty more fun treats too, including hot fondue, fruit-piled Belgium waffles, and mochi.
Years ago, the building now occupied by O'Porto Restaurant built bicycles. Today, the converted factory still carries an industrial-themed appearance and echoes with the distant dings of ghost bikes. But the space now churns out traditional Portuguese cuisine—a service that earned O'Porto the honor of "Best Portuguese Restaurant" from CT.com for 2013. Executive chef Adelino de Sousa relies on many of the ingredients from Portugal's former colonies: rice from Asia, hot peppers from Africa, and cinnamon from India, just to name a few. He transforms those elements into artfully presented dishes, including seafood-based entrees, such as baked salmon stuffed with shrimp and crab and grilled filet of sole.
The Fez provides an enticing menu of Moroccan and Mediterranean-inspired dishes in a sleek setting meant to enliven adventurous appetites. Embark on a culinary cruise with a shareable snack of crisped chickpeas and okra ($6) or caramelized cauliflower, golden raisins, and toasted pine nuts ($6). Communal consumers can divide and conquer a series of small plates, such as a quartet of chicken, turkey, kafta, and shrimp kebabs ($14), roasted-beet salad with grapefruit and feta ($10), or grilled scallops served alongside whipped hummus ($16).
At Butterfly Chinese Restaurant, guests dine on elegant entrees of boneless spare ribs and spicy hunan chicken, dainty dim sum plates, or a spread of authentic regional Chinese specialties. Diners can also feast on morsels of double-cooked sichuan pork or crispy roasted cantonese duck or chow down on vegetarian meals, such as eggplant with garlic sauce or general tso's tofu.
A bandana-clad chef draws his gleaming cleavers with practiced speed and agility, spinning them through the flames at his hibachi station as he prepares filet mignon and swordfish. Between jokes, tricks, and attempts to lasso stray vegetables, the cowboy chefs at Sakura Garden Japanese Steak House prepare savory meals right before the eyes of patrons sipping specialty cocktails from a full bar. Away from the heat, chefs fill a glass-cased sushi bar with sashimi and specialty fusion rolls packed with both traditional and inventive ingredients, such as coconut flakes, lightly fried lobster, and crumpled patents. Sleek stone walls, white tablecloths, and red pendant lamps create a modern backdrop, and an indoor rock fountain guarded by a cherry-blossom tree adds a touch of the traditional.:m]]
Earth-toned tiles, exposed brick, and aged wooden beams dominate the cellar-like interior of Village Bistro, where hearty omelets and grilled sandwiches are served throughout the day. At night, however, the dimly lit eatery transforms into a tapas bar. Servers sidle up to tables with Spanish and Mediterranean small plates, artistically arranged platings ranging from empanadas and grilled calamari to ratatouille and stuffed grape leaves. Behind the polished bar, chalkboards are scrawled with the evening's offerings. Other accents—an ancient wooden door, an antique cash register, and a wall decorated with fragments of wine crates—lend a rustic atmosphere and provide more stable decor than wistful Spanish grandfathers.