A set of French glass doors marks the entrance to Cross Mill Diner, though, when it comes to European culinary traditions, the diner’s cooks bypass France for Italy and Greece. The diner’s extensive eight-page menu includes housemade Greek-style spinach pies and shrimp parmesan, as well as an Eastern-influenced Thai cashew wrap with grilled chicken and ginger sesame dressing. American staples round out the menu, from char-grilled burgers topped with pork rolls to from-scratch buttermilk pancakes served as part of an all-day breakfast. Feasts unfold inside the BYOB eatery’s cozy dining area, where guests are surrounded by posters of waterwheels from around the world.
Ensconced in fiery yellows and reds and enlivened with nostalgic élan, Dizzy's Diner is the brainchild of two devotees of down-home cooking with experience in Bobby Flay's kitchens and at the Culinary Institute of America. A menu of classic diner fare crams in comfort food such as Dad's Favorite Meatloaf, wrapped in smoked bacon with its feet up on davenport of garlic mashed potatoes, and the turkey club deluxe, which unites the classic tomato, bacon, and roast turkey of a club with fresh tossed greens and cranberry chutney. On a plate of steak frites, pan-seared hanger steak soaks in sauce au poivre in the steak frites, and a pair of portobello and garden burgers cure vegetarian cravings. Each of these meals is attended by a side such as grits, coleslaw, or chili-cheese fries, as a frosty brew refs a cage fight between salt and pepper shakers.
Chef Cheryl Smith builds home-style meals that incorporate global flavors into rustic recipes using techniques she has shared on Food Network features including Melting Pot, Soul Kitchen, and Gordon Elliot's Doorknock Dinners. Market-fresh dishes blend seasonal and regionally sourced ingredients, astounding savor receptors with the latest tastes from farmers' market flavor runways. At lunch, baked goods and crisp salads share satiating duties with personified sandwiches including the Steve, made with cured bacon and vine-ripened tomatoes ($7.95). Dinner selections fuse agrarian fare standards with worldly accents such as Moroccan vegetable stew over rice pilaf ($15.00) or Korean marinated rib-eye steak and watercress salad ($22.00).
When asked by the Red Hook Star-Revue about their decision to open a diner in the area, owners Mixali Kallonas and Angela Alexiou described being drawn to the community and wanting to be "family to [their] customers." This feeling of warmth suits the diner's menu, which includes hearty, homestyle Greek and American foods such as spanakopita, spaghetti and meatballs, steak and eggs, and all-beef hot dogs, served in the welcoming dining room or on the backyard patio. House-made tzatziki accompanies gyro and souvlaki platters, fluffy piles of garlic mashed potatoes cozy up to open-faced meatloaf sandwiches, and diners can conclude meals by sating their sweet-teeth with baklava, rice pudding, or one of several milkshakes and smoothies.
As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm, or a hearty three-egg omelet or belgian waffle. At City Lights Diner, which boasts two locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, he can have it all. Breakfast brings classics such as silver-dollar pancakes or thick slices of challah french toast, sating sweet teeth willful enough to make it past glass encasements filled with sticky danishes and housemade cakes and pies. Monte cristo sandwiches help bridge the gap between mid-morning and mid-afternoon, making way for stacked pastrami or roast-beef sandwiches or jumbo burgers piled high with fried onions, ham, and cheddar, or a whole fried egg. Night owls can also find plenty to feast on—the Hell's Kitchen location stays open till 11 p.m.—whether they're in the mood for juicy, broiled New York sirloin or disco fries slathered in melted american cheese, brown gravy, and gold medallions.
Some may credit the buttery bun or the chive-speckled mayonnaise, but in an interview with Food and Wine, Ed McFarland insists the success of his lobster roll lies entirely in the meat. He simmers the ultra-fresh morsels of lobster until they’re tender and juicy before adorning them with a simple dressing made of mayo, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. He then piles the meat onto a warm Pepperidge Farm roll until it spills over onto the plate, then arranges it next to a nest of thick, hand-cut fries and slices of homemade pickles. When he isn’t whipping up the much-lauded rolls, Ed extends his culinary expertise to a variety of seafood specialties—from crispy calamari to a hearty lobster pot pie¬¬––crafted using fresh herbs and vegetables plucked directly from his own garden.
Out in the lively dining room, guests bite into warm lobster rolls and nibble on shellfish from the raw bar. On busy nights, guests gather outside to wait for a coveted seat inside the intimate space, since the restaurant staff does not accept reservations or promises to shovel the snow from their driveway for a week.