Little Town NYC unabashedly hearts New York. Of its three restaurants, two are located in iconic Manhattan spots: one in Union Square, the other on Theater District’s Restaurant Row. Little Town’s fancy for the Empire State shines through on the menu, too, with homestyle dishes such as the Adirondack chicken pesto and an Angus beef burger topped with crispy Berkshire bacon. The Suburb Backyard BBQ platter is piled high with enough buffalo wings, Nathan's hot dogs, and other locally inspired fare to feed a family of four.
Little Town NYC also takes great pride in its beer list, which features more than 100 local brews, including IPAs and amber ales that hail from breweries in Long Island, Ithaca, and Saratoga Springs. At the Restaurant Row location, you can enjoy a pilsner from Coney Island while sitting in a booth constructed from the beach’s old wooden boardwalk.
Mario and Anna Abitino emigrated from Naples to the U.S. in 1972. Mario quickly found work in the pizza business, and the couple eventually opened a restaurant of their own: Abitino’s Pizza and Italian Kitchen, in Midtown Manhattan. That was more than 20 years ago. Today, the couple and their three sons, Dominick, Mario Jr., and Salvatore, run six New York pizzerias bearing the family name. Each offers an expansive menu of signature pizzas and other Italian entrees, such as gnocchi sorrentino and pasta stuffed with fresh littleneck clams. Their pizzas and calzones use dough made right on the premises, and their tomato sauce is also housemade—with tomatoes from Naples, naturally.
Star chef and restaurateur Peter Xaviar Kelly opened his first restaurant, Xaviar’s in Garrison, when he was only 23. Since then he has battled Bobby Flay, cooked at the James Beard House (and nominated for one of its namesake awards), introduced Anthony Bourdain to the Hudson Valley's bounty, and opened more restaurants. At Xaviars at Piermont, he presents a menu of inventive American cuisine, focusing on seafood, steaks, and duck.
The restaurant's appetizers set a high bar, with rotating selections that can include Hudson Valley foie gras, Coach Farm goat cheese risotto with black truffle, and yellowfin tuna tartare with miso-cured avocado. Entrees embody that same spirit, from the hoisin-glazed Hudson Valley duck breast to caraway-crusted pork tenderloin with ale-braised bacon and mustard jus. Throughout, wrote The New York Times in a 2003 review bearing an "excellent" rating, "the ingredients are seasonal and flawless, and the dishes are colorful and beautifully balanced." Zagat agrees, ranking its cuisine at 28 out of 30 possible points.
In the 40-seat dining room, chandelier lighting dances off Baccarat crystal figurines placed on each table. Versace china presents the cuisine and Riedel stemware accommodates selections from the massive 750-option wine list, which is so riveting it has become a staple in book clubs.
Handpicked fruit lend their sweetness to honey-hued Blue Point Blueberry Ale. A citric bite drifts from Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA, named for the quick boil that pulls bitter earthiness from the hops. Thornwood Ale House's collection of more than 60 beers includes microbrews and imports that run from sweet to hoppy, from pale Hoegaarden to roasted-black Mother's Milk. In the kitchen, which remains open until 2 a.m., chefs forge a menu of dishes designed to pair with the range of suds. Steam rises from baked mac ‘n' cheese, pouring up through panko breadcrumbs and nuggets of lobster or pulled pork. Oil crackles around beer-battered fish ‘n' chips with the comforting warm sound of a fire engulfing a scarecrow with sneaky eyes, and blenders pour milk shakes infused with sweet spirits.
Indoors, TVs and vintage sconces cast light on orange walls and a marble-topped bar, and outdoors, heels click against a slate patio beneath umbrella-covered tables. The bar fills with chatter punctuated by the sounded of toasting glasses through the week with events including trivia, karaoke, and live bands.
At the bar, 20 beer-tap handles stand ready to tip forward and fill frosty mugs, which staffers slide alongside plates crowded with classic pub entrees. Guests can rub their molars against pulled-pork sandwiches and Cajun burgers or nibble away at Pour House sliders or cheddar nugget appetizers. Diners looking for meatless fare can graze on caesar or roasted-vegetable salads.
Father-son restaurateurs Pasquale and Francesco Coli chose the name Massa' Italian Kitchen & Bar as a tribute to the southern Italian farmhouses, known as “masserias,” that line the countryside of their native Puglia, located on the heel of Italy. Their passion for the rustic, Old-World charm of Puglia permeates the kitchen, where chefs hand form pastas, chop local farm vegetables, and assemble housemade sausages. As a nod to Puglia's centuries-old maritime traditions, they also seek out fresh shipments of fish and seafood every day. Before diners embark on a gustatory expedition to Italy, servers suggest wine pairings from a list of more than 100 bottles, and bartenders mix signature cocktails with vodkas they infuse with vibrant fruits.
Today the restaurant continues to embrace its rustic roots, catering to diners and families who appreciate classic Italian cuisine and healthy portion sizes. The easy, dining-room evokes the feel of a rural cottage with its exposed-stone walls, floor-to-ceiling fireplace, and woodwork, which was constructed out of materials salvaged from century-old New England barns to created a relaxed dining experience. At each table, Old-World crafted entrees steam atop white plates, while families and friends breezily chatter amid the homey ambiance to the split-level dining room and wine bar.