Andre's is a humble, family-run Euro-American eatery, which Zagat members recently named one of the Top Restaurants in the United States. Andre de Waal, chef and owner of Andre's, and his wife Tracey opened their restaurant in an old storefront building in 1998, adorning the exposed brick walls with their wedding photographs and paintings by local artists. Their eatery offers a rotating menu that is inventive, elegant, and comforting. Though the situation may turn at the drop of a switch, diners can currently begin the evening with house-cured salmon, cucumber salad, and fresh herbs ($8.50) or duck confit, penne pasta, and black truffles ($9) before they are ready for rare-roasted tuna and white-bean chorizo ($29).
True to its name, Just Grapes Lounge focuses on wines, with more than 30 vintages poured by the glass and 18 more varieties sequestered on a reserve bottle list. Microbrews, champagnes, and ports round out the lounge's full bar, complementing a Mediterranean-tinged tapas menu. Small plates, ranging from hummus and crostini to stuffed baked clams, are ideal for smothering appetites or boosting a tiny table's self-esteem. Three styles of rustic pizza artfully pair tomatoes with cheese, whereas molten fondue, served in a bread bowl, comes in varieties including gorgonzola and double-cream brie.
At Bar Majestic, live music can often be heard bouncing off the backdrop of darkly lit wood, shimmery walls, and wine racks so well stocked the place resembles a chateau wine cellar in the heart of Spain's countryside. Small, sharable portions of fresh tapas dance across tables and decorate the menu. Nibble decadent meats and cheeses, or bite bruschette such as spinach pesto, prosciutto, or mushroom tapenade ($3 each, $7 for three, $12 for five). Piping hot paninis pummel stubborn stomachs with comestibles including turkey breast, brie, romaine, and aioli ($8) or eggplant, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and balsamic ($9).
Lelabar earned a "critic's pick" from New York Magazine, bolstered by an extensive list of vintage wines such as a Bordeaux from 1970. Their sommeliers recommend selections from nearly 200 international wines, which are imported from the likes of Italy, France, and the moon. Patrons can also look to a central chalkboard, which details the daily wine and food specials. Food selections include meat plates, imported cheeses, and pressed sandwiches.
At Mario's Trattoria, glass-enclosed votives flicker, throwing shadows onto red walls and setting nearby wine glasses aglow like rubies. Within this warmly lit dining room, guests trade smiles over formidable nests of pasta. The menu's traditional Italian dishes include chicken parmesan, crusty pizza pies baked in the kitchen's brick oven, and seafood akin to the Mediterranean's native crustaceans with ravioli shells.
AYZA Wine & Chocolate Bar uses cocoa like a magnet. Its 80% dark-chocolate ganache by Jacques Torres draws in connoisseurs while a cluster hazelnut by Xocolatti entices sweet teeth of all stripes. There's warm chocolate molten cake topped with ice cream to mix temperatures, Belgian chocolate-covered strawberries to mix sweets, and a raspberry-chocolate martini with Chambord and Kahlua to mix one indulgence with another.
Indulgence is the overarching theme at AYZA. More than 90 types of wine from Italy, Argentina, and Chile pair with chocolatey treats—wine coming by the glass or bottle; chocolate coming by the piece or as part of a cascading fondue fountain. For more tenacious hungers, imported cheeses pair with Mediterranean-style entrees of pan-roasted wild sea bass. To make these offerings even more romantic, the bar hosts a Sunday couples' night, when the staff sprinkles tables with rose petals instead of firmly platonic palm fronds.
Gooey mozzarella melts over classic pies in a Neapolitan-style brick oven at Zigolinis Pizza Bar, which melds the atmosphere of a modern bar with rustic cuisine. The friendly staff dishes a variety of drinks, and expert chefs wield an arsenal of products imported weekly from Naples, as well as fresh produce plucked from local farmers, to forge a menu of authentic Italian fare. Garden noshers plunge forks through the leafy greens pervading a trio of small and large salads. Pepperoni rains across the shores of the diavola pizza, which slays slice-craving appetites alongside 14 other signature pies, including the cheese-laden seven formaggi pizza. Those shunning sauce can turn to the vegetariana, adorned with seasonal vegetables, or the ai carciofi e tartufo, garnished with high-end truffle oil and shaved pecorino romano. Flickering TVs glint off glasses brimming robust red and white wines in the intimate eatery, as bartenders sling imported and domestic beers from gushing taps flecked with frothy foam and liquefied laughter.