Chicken alfredo, shrimp scampi, eggplant parmesan. More than 30 housemade pasta dishes emerge from the kitchen every night at Piccolo Trattoria of Newtown. Chefs scatter pistachio nuts and goat cheese into fettuccine, smother penne with baby shrimp and pesto cream sauce, and cover fusilli with oyster and shiitake mushrooms.
Earlier in the day, however, these recipes take on a different form: they become pizzas. During lunch, chefs whip up more than 20 gourmet pies, crowning them with classic pasta ingredients alongside non-Italian flavors such as taco and cheesesteak fixings. Besides tossing noodles and flinging dough, the BYOB eatery's chefs cook salmon in a port wine reduction and sauté veal with figs and mushrooms in a cognac cream sauce.
Since its founding on Cinco de Mayo, 1989, El Taco Loco has sought to transport the flavors of a California taqueria to the East Coast without the help of preservatives, fillers, artificial flavoring, or lard. Along with classic fajitas, enchiladas, and carne-asada burritos, the extensive menu tweaks tradition with offerings such as the Mexican BLT taco and french fries with a piquant house spice blend, all of which can take on extra heat at the complimentary salsa bar. In the summer, sidewalk flower boxes beckon guests into El Taco Loco's storefront, designed to resemble a beach hut complete with grass roof and vacationing starfish.
Using traditional Mediterranean and Indian culinary techniques, Cumin Cafe’s chefs infuse dishes with piquant, rich flavors. Bits of beef or lamb shank simmer alongside spices and vegetables in a clay pot in Mediterranean tajine stews; Greek spanakopita layers spinach and feta cheese between a flaky pastry crust. Chefs add a splash of rose water to prawns flavored with ground spices in golden korma curry, and use tandoori-style ovens to cook chili naan, making a perfect scoop for goat biryani rice dishes or a heating pad for diners’ sore shoulders.
At Acacia, diners savor innovative and classic New American dishes that draw inspiration and ingredients from across the globe. Tastes of the surf, such as grilled swordfish with chilled green-bean-and-beet salad and orange couscous, complement bites from the turf, such as the Moroccan-spiced Colorado lamb shank served with braising jus. Vegetarians fill up during lunch with a five-mushroom burger served alongside yucca fries, and during dinner with roasted eggplant Provencal kept company by fresh mozzarella and Israeli couscous. While sating their hunger, diners can sip drinks they brought with them and glut eyes on the muted auburn and earthen walls covered with vibrant hangings. In the warmer months, the patio hosts bites beneath umbrellas kept open to supply shade and bait traps for magical nannies.
As forks and knives descend on plates of refined American and Italian dishes, The Runway Restaurant and Bar's vast eastern window reveals airplanes touching down and taking off from Trenton-Mercer Airport. While diners watch the aerial ballet outside, chefs in the kitchen whip up mainstays such as sun-dried tomato ravioli, orange-basil mahi-mahi, and chicken cacciatore. In addition to the plane’s nightly shows, The Runway also hosts live entertainment such as local musicians and parties celebrating holidays ranging from Halloween and New Year’s Eve to the birthday of the Wright Brothers.
Michael Stanzione began his 35-year career at the Culinary Institute of America. With more than three decades of cooking and managing restaurants under his belt, Michael deemed it time to set forth on his own adventure and opened Cafe 3131. He draws on his years of experience to create a masterful menu of breakfast and lunch dishes that showcase grilled veggies on a bed of spinach, or hot chicken cheesesteak sandwiches.