Flour drifts down through the air, the motes catching briefly in the light from the wood-fired oven. Inside, fontina, smoked mozzarella, and ricotta melt across the handcrafted crusts, forming warm tributaries of cheese. Nearby, chefs sprinkle fistfuls of broccoli rabe, prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, and eggplant onto fresh dough or stew san marzano tomatoes to craft a thick sauce the deep crimson color of a sports car that just discovered it left a hair curler in. The cooks look to traditional Neapolitan recipes and forge crusts from a simple combination of flour, yeast, water, and salt. In an effort to protect the environment, the staff at Red Tomato Pizza—from the same owners as Dortoni Bakery in Levittown and Messina Market in East Norwich—also serves hormone-free meat in the glow of gentle LED lights and uses recycled glassware.
As a child, Michele Stuart worked alongside her grandmother, peeling fruit, crimping dough, and assisting in other tasks to create decadent pies. Before her grandmother passed away, Michele vowed to make her pies famous. It's safe to say she has made good on that promise. Since founding Michele's Pies in 2007, her creations have won 27 national awards, and have garnered praise from outlets including the Food Network, QVC, and the New York Times. Her pies run the gamut from sweet to savory, and her display case also shines with handmade cookies, tea breads, cheesecakes, and other baked goods.
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Giant copper kettles overlook the dining room at Sono Brewhouse Restaurant, glinting in the light that shines over ornate railings, exposed brick walls, and a colorful collection of flags. Shipped to the United States from a brewery in Germany, these kettles infuse the restaurant with a sense of history and spark visitors? curiosity about the world?s many beer-brewing nations. Bartenders fan these flames of intrigue by serving drafts of Paulaner Hefe-Weizen from Germany and bottles of Rochefort Trappist ale from Belgium and Innis & Gunn oak-aged ale from Scotland.
To complement these globe-trekking brews, chefs forge hearty New England-style and international entrees, such as lobster pot pie, Argentine gaucho steak with chimichurri, and wiener schnitzel accompanied by potato pancakes. They explore even more of the world?s finest during Sunday brunch, which teems with Italian chicken picatta, Chinese dim sum, and Viennese treats crafted by pastry chef Fran Schuelke. For private events, guests can choose from a variety of buffets, meat-carving stations, and raw bars brimming with freshly shucked oysters and clams.
Avocados, jalapeños, and tomatillos. These staples of traditional Mexican cuisine take center stage at Tacos Mexico, where the dishes’ rustic simplicity lets their flavors shine through. Chefs nestle tender morsels of steak, carnitas, or chorizo into corn tortillas to create their signature tacos, and they also turn out more complex entrees, such as cubes of pork loin blanketed in a rich mole sauce or vegetarian options that spotlight portabella mushrooms and cacti.
As guest conclude their meals with sweet nibbles of tres leches cake or coconut flan, they can listen to the ebb and flow of a soccer match broadcast on the flat-screen television hanging over the bar. Nearby, a belt of cornflower blue wraps around the dining room’s bright, yellow walls, which bear paintings of traditional Mexican pueblos rather than Mexico’s newest moon colonies.
Emigrating from Punjab to the United States more than 17 years ago, Saffron's continent-hopping owners act as tour guides through India's culinary landscape with a menu that's "diverse and extensive enough to satisfy all tastes," according to the Norwalk Citizen. Five-star chef Sandeep Kakkar and his team furnish empty bellies with subtly spiced saag chicken, lamb masala, and shrimp biryani, as well as a variety of gluten-free and vegan entrees. Midday visitors can find ample sustenance from an extensive buffet that stretches across the restaurant or twiddle their thumbs until it's time for the daily wine and beer happy-hour specials. Saffron's soft hanging lights and refined Indian artwork encourage diners to relax while being serenaded by Indian music softer than a cloud's beard.
BJ Ryan's BANC House satiates cravings for both fresh coastal catches and savory wood-smoked meats that exude Southern charm. The slow-smoked pulled pork calls to taste buds from the plate where it sits slathered in homemade sauce and dry rub, and savory shrimp and grits blend dry rub and cheddar flavors. The talented chefs pay a special tribute to fresh crab, which can be added to any entree, steaming dishes such as the Banc crab cake, dungeness, Alaskan king, or blue crabs, which come dressed in homemade roasted-garlic sauce, ginger caramel, or inner-harbor spice.
Not to be overshadowed by the succulent food, BJ Ryan's dark, varnished wood and black-lacquered furnishings effuse a low-key, yet carefully kept dining environment marked by old photos and broad chalkboards listing the day?s specials.