Executive Chef Matt Higgins concocts elegant interpretations of rustic Italian dishes to fill a menu that has earned praise from the New York Times for its fresh ingredients and playful flavor combinations. Toast an anniversary, birthday, or a Little League World Series title with a decadent dinner, starting with a savory saffron risotto infused with sage, pancetta, and a sprinkling of parmigiano reggianno ($12). Filet mignon dons a dapper suit of peppercorns as it lounges in a shallow brandy-cream river alongside fingerling-potato gondolas and bobbing roasted figs ($34). Plunge tines into a shrimp-and-scallop feast, laden with olives and grape tomatoes atop a creamy risotto ($28), or catapult tongues through clouds of gnocchi suspended in an eggplant-and-mozzarella-strewn sunset ($22).
Delicate, black filigree forms a lacy aura around one of the dining-room doorways, resembling a wrought-iron gate. Across the room, a recessed archway frames a fireplace whose flame glows in harmony with the sconces on the green walls. This fusion of classical elegance with contemporary influences informs the menu, which comprises a mix of time-tested and innovative lunches and dinners.
Though contemporary Italian cuisine forms the menu's foundation, the restaurant also opens up its kitchen to Asian and American influences. Marbleized sauces join precarious sculptural arrangements to adorn plates with upscale panache. Valentino's specialties are long island duck, grouper marechiara, and a portobello appetizer, which can be enjoyed by themselves or as part of Valentino's three- or four-course dinner specials. Every single dessert, such as Anthony's bananas foster flambé, is made from scratch on the premises. In fact, all flambé desserts are seared right at the table, meaning guests can personally ensure their desserts' calories are burned. The restaurant features live music on Fridays.
When he cofounded his first sandwich shop in 1965, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca planned to use his profits to pay his way through medical school. But the combination of quality ingredients and friendly service at the shop—then called Pete's Subway—proved so popular that nine years later, he and his partner found themselves in charge of 16 locations across Connecticut, and Fred left behind his doctoring plans for a career in business.
Today, Subway serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and boasts more than 38,000 locations around the world—almost as many shops as there are sightings of Elvis buying cold cuts. At each location, staffers pile sliced ham, marinara-slathered meatballs, and other fillings into halved loaves of bread before customizing handhelds with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and other healthy toppings plucked from chilled containers behind the counter. Subway’s website also facilitates health-conscious eating by listing each item's nutritional information online.
What began in Brooklyn as a personal affection for italian ice eventually bloomed into a multistate confection empire on the strength of frosty family recipes. Uncle Louie G's Italian Ices & Ice Cream crafts its treats from the same recipes founder Louie G used growing up in New York City, before the invention of robot-run ice creameries. The expansive menu now includes more than 40 flavors of italian ices and two dozen ice creams. Fresh maraschino cherries, Dole pineapple, and a variety of other candies imbue the shop's italian ice with a dazzling array of flavors and textures.
Towne is an online cupcakery that takes freshness very seriously. Each confection is made from scratch and baked onsite daily using ingredients such as pure Madagascar vanilla, European butter, and Belgian Callebaut chocolate, as well as real fruit and organic milk and eggs. This attention to detail is also reflected in the diversity of seasonal flavors, which range from ginger peach and lemon fig in the spring and summer to autumnal offerings of gingerbread, pumpkin spice, and caramel-apple crumble.
Yama Sushi Japanese Cuisine’s chefs touch all the bases with their classic Japanese dishes. They dunk pieces of deep-fried shrimp in hot soup for shrimp-tempura udon bowls; grill hibachi-style steak; and glaze chicken and beef with teriyaki sauce. Specialty sushi rolls pair white or brown rice with such ingredients as marinated tuna, thinly sliced jalapeños, eel, and fresh mango.