Maura's Kitchen is casual and cozy, but the food--roast pork, stews, fish and empanadas--is big and bold. Latin American flavors color the menu, which intermixes tapas such as yuca fries with full-size entrees including pollo a la brasa--Peruvian rotisserie chicken. Choose from three types of fresh ceviche, or pair shrimp with sauteed steak for an irresistible surf-and-turf combination, like a charming mermaid geologist.
It's a packed house for brunch on Moon River Grill's 25-seat open-air patio. Across the Hudson, the sun hangs like a poached egg, dripping yellow light onto the New Jersey landscape. A waiter delivers menus to the table, his shirt emblazoned with the restaurant's name and crescent moon emblem in golden stitching. It's going to be a good afternoon––definitely worth sticking around for dinner.
Inside there's so much more to see. In the downstairs dining room, burgundy curtains hang from tall patio doors. Crisp white tablecloths prop up plates of 10-ounce burgers, seafood wraps, and fresh shellfish from the raw bar. After warming knives in a rack of ribs or grilled fish, patrons can watch the sun setting over the Hudson in the second-floor dining room, or they can bask in the pixilated glow of the TVs perched above a fully stocked bar.
Viru Restaurant demonstrates its authentic Peruvian roots with a wide variety of traditional dishes. Causa rellena de camarones satisfies bellies with shrimp, as long as those bellies like their shrimp hiding inside chilled mashed potatoes that are spiced up with lime and yellow chili ($12). The parihuela, a soupy sea of seafood cooked with white wine, spices, and panca chili, moisturizes parched stomachs with a torrential downpour of flavor ($24). Representing the eternal battle between land and sea, the bisteck a la chorrillana—a grilled New York steak with a sauce made of panca chili, onions, and tomatoes ($24)—wields haricots verts clubs against the pescado sudado, the fish of the day poached in seafood broth and herbs ($19). Placing a comforting cap on dinner, flan reminds diners of former days when sweet, creamy desserts grew everywhere all the time and only cost a nickel ($6). In addition to edibles, Viru Restaurant nourishes guests at the bar, which stocks its shelves with an impressive supply of domestic and imported beers, sangria, wines, and chicha, a drink made of fermented maize.