Though the idea of shared plates most often conjures up images of dainty Spanish tapas, the communal meals at Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant are hardly suitable for passing. Instead, everyone sits around and digs right into a giant platter called a beyainatu, which translates to “a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.” Diners tear off pieces of flat, spongy bread known as injera and scoop up dollops of rich stews. Ethiopia’s signature dish, doro wat, is a mouth-warming union of chicken, traditional berbere spices, and hard-boiled egg. Each entree comes paired with two vegan sides, such as the curried vegetables of tikil gomen or the slow-cooked chickpeas and herbs of shiro. The chefs work particularly well with lamb and seafood, which best show off delicate hints of sautéed herbs and chilis.
Tortilla Sunrise’s gastro gurus imbue succulent meats and fresh vegetables with authentic south-of-the-border flair to create a menu of Mexican favorites. Feasting duos and foursomes can race to solve Pythagorean’s theorem with a basket of right-angled, homemade tortilla chips dunked in fresh red salsa and delivered straight to their door. Succulent cuts of beef, chicken, or lamb mix with a garden of fajita peppers and onions to allay stomach abandonment issues, and a cheesy plate of three enchiladas arrives stuffed with beef, chicken, pork, chorizo, or vegetables, and doused in the chef’s signature sauce. In addition to delivery, patrons can also place an order and carry out their fare on the way back from work or a peace-treaty signing that ran late.
At Tim Schafer’s Cuisine, Chef Fredy Umanzor dresses up New American dishes with beer-inspired finesse. Acclimate tongues to the change of pace with the Maryland lump-crab-cake appetizer ($12), a pan-fried pescatarian patty accessorized with a dash of chipotle-lime crema sauce, or the thai beef satay ($12), served on skewers with a peanut-barbecue pairing. St. Peter's fish fillet ($24) dons a pistachio-herb coat before taking a dip in a citrus-wheat-beer butter sauce, and the creole jambalaya ($30) brings together the heads of all the protein families, including sea scallops, jumbo shrimp, a trifecta of sausage relations, and tasso ham, and combines their talents with veggies and spices to carry out the greatest taste-bud heist in history. In the Twinkie-led tradition of hiding delicious within delicious, the grilled double-cut pork chop ($28) stuffs wild mushrooms, spinach and smoked gouda inside of the grilled specialty, and sets ale whipped sweet potatoes and sautéed veggies outside to stand guard.
Chef Kris Wojciuk brought more than 30 years of cooking experience—and a handful of his grandmother’s European recipes—when he took the reins behind the counter at Z Deli & Catering. Today, he and his team craft kosher-style deli sandwiches, hot-pressed baguette wraps, and soups using housemade ingredients. Guests can mix and match gourmet salads to create their own platter and smear bagels with an array of sweet and savory cream cheeses. In addition to serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in house, Z Deli & Catering provides full-service catering for events both large and small. The crew prepares an array of daily specials and fresh baked goods and assembles meat and seafood dinners to go.
Michael Sobon appreciates nostalgia for good ol’ Americana—and a tasty old-fashioned burger. That’s why he created Pudsters, a family-friendly restaurant named in honor of his beloved English bulldog, Puddy. Old-fashioned burgers (made of 100% fresh, never-frozen angus beef) and frankfurters—known as Pudsters Puppies—rule the menu. Paired with shoestring fries, crispy onion rings, and hand-spun milkshakes, these burgers and frankfurter meals recall the 1950s and preview the 2050s, when all food will taste like a milkshake. The team takes into account considerations of 2013 citizens, too, accommodating vegetarians with portobello mushroom burger—a fresh one that illustrates the eatery's aversion to processed ingredients—or grilled cheese. Technically, the grilled cheese is part of the kid’s menu, but Pudster’s friendly staff won’t raise an eyebrow.