Though masters of classic Italian recipes, the Lucky Duck's cooks don't always adhere to boring tradition. Alongside veal picatta and eggplant rigatoni, they also prepare sole fillets stuffed with shrimp, scallops, crabmeat, and spinach or top pizzas with bleu cheese and buffalo chicken. Inside the restaurant's spacious dining room, paintings of Italian landscapes and flat-screen TVs hang on exposed-brick walls, giving patrons something to gaze at besides the hypnotic swirls hidden in their date's eyes.
Family-owned since 1989, the kitchen at Poppy’s Place sends forth steaming plates of pasta and seafood with scents that suggest hours spent simmering tomatoes, chopping garlic, and stirring sauces. Waiters glide across the caramel-hued floorboards, bearing trays to a table cloaked in spotless white linen like a ghost in a job interview. Dishes of pasta, saltimbocca, and catch-of-the-day fish settle there alongside bottles of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The clatter of busy forks drifts past the lengthy bar, where rows of bottles bristle and patrons sip beverages beneath yellow walls, hanging flowers, and an absence of shrill cuckoo clocks.
Italian pastas, meats, and veggies dressed in tasty sauces pepper Trattoria Lucia’s dinner and lunch menus, resting alongside a varied assortment of wines and specialty cocktails. The caprese—a duet of tomatoes and mozzarella ($8.95)—sings an opening number for the spaghetti alla Frank Sinatra, its noodles backed by shrimp, chopped clams, attractive bodyguards, and olives ($15.95). Meanwhile, arugula salad and tomatoes top a crisp breaded cutlet in the veal capricciosa ($17.95), and the tricolor salad ($8.95–$10.95) sends teeth traipsing through a garden of sliced pears, pignoli, and shaved ricotta. Once satiated, diners can cheers to good health and lucrative penny stocks after clinking together a couple glasses of the sparkling brut (a $6 value per glass).
Brothers Mario and Sal Marino keep Neapolitan-style cuisine artfully alive by offering dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. For starters from the current summer menu, tantalize your stomach with savory spuntini such as polpette al sugo, a pair of meatballs served with ragu ($6). Insalata di carciofi hugs your tongue with freshly shaved artichoke, arugula, and parmigiano ($13), and a Milanese sandwich treats tasters to breaded chicken breast, organic greens, and tomato, trapped between homemade bread slices ($9). Although non-Italian restaurants resort to using excess lasagna noodles for napkins, La Bottega Marino's lasagna is served di carne, which features traditional meats ($13), or bianca, with mushroom, spinach, and bechamel sauce ($12). After an entree of pollo alla griglia, or grilled chicken breast ($15), guest can put their feasting muscles to rest with warm nutella pound-cake ($6).
The color blue comes in many shades, be it periwinkle, powder blue, or baby blue. Should you name a shade of blue, there's a good chance that color graces the walls of MLO Salon. In an effort to channel the calming, peaceful feeling of water, trickling streams, and leaky faucets that drip to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," MLO’s owner, Maria Orbinati, latched onto a blue color palette and never looked back. The end result was a calming, modern feel—yet one set in elegant relief by Greek columns and arches. Almost as an homage to the décor, the staff performs a deep hydration facial to mitigate wrinkles with a hyaluronic system. But this relaxing environment serves as an ideal locale for spa services beyond just facials; the team also renders hair, makeup, and nail treatments.