When he immigrated to America, Jesse Berenji took a job in the kitchen at a family member's Mexican restaurant. By keeping a close eye on all aspects of the business, he was soon able to pioneer his own Mexican place—El Patron Restaurant & Cantina. The cooks here fry hand-breaded boneless-chicken breast drizzled with cilantro sauce, for example, and prepare El Patron fajitas—chicken and beef with sautéed veggies on a heated platter, served with homemade tortillas for creating edible Venn diagrams. The menu even touches on American classics such as burgers and chicken tenders.
The Manhattan Pie Co. quells hunger uprisings with a menu spilling over with hand-tossed New York–style pizzas, pastas, subs, and more. Like ice cream and bridal parties, the jumbo wings come in a varied number of sizes and flavors, such as spicy or mild buffalo, honey or mesquite barbecue, teriyaki, and parmesan garlic ($7.99 for 10). Circle seekers can choose from more than 30 different thin-crust specialty pizzas, or craft their own from 10 different types of cheese and 25 gourmet toppings.
Red Poppy Coffee Co. brews up ambrosial coffee potions and feeds starving minds with selections from its lunch menu. While silently studying ancient Latin gossip mags, café-goers can sip a rich white-chocolate Lyrical latte ($3.09+) or gourmet coffee ($1.48+), or select a favorite leafwater from a variety of 40 tempting teas.
Open an Asian-American dialogue with the guidance of a wide-ranging menu and the goodwill of taste-bud ambassadors. Start off with an order of spicy Thai Dynamite shrimp served over Asian slaw (S $5.49, L $8.99) or potstickers—dumplings filled with pork, green cabbage, scallions, and ginger and served with a citrus soy dip (S $3.99, L $6.99). Rice dishes and noodle bowls, such as Spicy General Fu and Pad Thai, are priced by main star, with chicken, beef, or tofu for $8.29, shrimp for $9.29, or veggies for $7.29. After selecting a hunger weapon, dive into the eastern seas of flavor with a wok-sizzled order of fried rice, which includes bean sprouts, scallions, carrots, egg, chopped broccoli, and brown sauce, or a spice-tastic Singapore noodle bowl with rice noodles tossed in a spicy yellow curry with carrots, onions, scallions, celery, garlic, and basil. A gluten-free menu and two special seared entrees are also available: seared ahi tuna steak, encrusted in sesame and served over a bed of sautéed spinach ($14.99), and flat- iron steak, marinated in a red-wine soy sauce and served on a bed of red bell peppers, mushrooms, and green and yellow onions ($12.99).