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.
Blue Cactus Grill's fleet of efficient chefs zest, sear, and sizzle bold southwestern cuisine in the restaurant's cozy, unassuming interior. Chomp down or break in bibs with one of Blue Cactus' juicy philly cheesesteaks, such as the Tucson Monster, an authentic meaty morsel heaped with chili, bacon, charred jalapeno, and melted cheese ($8.95). A panoply of robust wraps zing taste buds, including the West Texas Cajun wrap,—which bear-hugs its peppy fan base of grilled chicken, seasoned rice, and black beans ($7.95). Blue Cactus tops off its menu with customizable salads ($6.95+) and fresh burgers, such as the Five Napkin Burger, anchored with a savory mound of chipotle barbecue sauce, melted cheddar, and crisp onion rings ($7.95).
Catering to herbivores and herbivoyeurs alike, the culinary captains at Quechua carry a number of vegetarian dishes for $10 each, like saltado de vegetales, a plate of mixed veggies sautéed in olive oil and soy sauce and served with white rice. Side dishes are numerous, including traditional favorites like Peruvian choclo corn and sweet fried plantains. Since variety is the spice of life, their chefs will cook food to order for anyone wanting slightly less heat with any dish.
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.
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.