Brazilian Steakhouses in Hopatcong Hills

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The layout of Rio Rodizio is telling: with a candlelit dining area in one section and a long bar lined with flat screens in another, it's as much a place to take a date for a romantic meal as it is a spot to grab a drink after work. In the dining room, gaucho chefs carve cuts of lamb, beef, and pork right at the table, forcing diners to clear plate space next to seared fish, homemade pastas, and sushi rolls drizzled in flavorful sauce. Like a home that's been decorated by robbing a furniture store in the dark, the cocktail menu is a fusion of tastes, its Asian and Brazilian proclivities represented by sangrias, tropical juices, and sake.

2185 US Highway 22 W
Union,
NJ
US

For Sam Mickail, food is autobiographical. Born in Cairo, the first spices he smelled were hearty Mediterranean blends. He then spent most of his childhood in France surrounded by the cooking of world-class chefs, eventually leaving for Switzerland to turn his love of food into a bona fide culinary craft. Now, in America, he channels all of these influences and global experiences into cooking, lending his talents to numerous restaurants and further exploring all the cooking styles that inspired him throughout his life. This surfaces most clearly in Sam Mickail’s CUT Steak House, where he’s free to put international twists on the time-honored tradition of cooking delicious steaks.

Sam coats his filet mignons and porterhouses in delicious béarnaise, au poivre, or perigourdine sauces, according to his customers’ wishes. He also serves fresh oysters at his raw bar, slathers lobster tails in butter, and batters escargot with a champagne crust, a creation he calls drunken snails for their complete inability to slither in a straight line.

466 Prospect Ave.
West Orange,
NJ
US

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar's hibachi chefs pull double duty, acting as entertainers in addition to grillmasters. They captivate large groups of diners with whirling knifework, dynamic spatula twirls, and the occasional spout of flame at tableside hibachi grills, flipping hot portions of lobster and chicken directly onto waiting plates. Behind the bamboo-finished bar, the sushi chefs move more slowly as they carefully seal colorful combinations of veggies, seafood, and vinegar-anointed rice within sheets of delicate seaweed. Like a poltergeist beauty pageant, not all of the talent is visible to the eye—the culinary team makes some of the restaurant's most exotic dishes, such as kobe beef sliders and wasabi-crusted filet mignon, behind the closed doors of the kitchen.

1230 US Highway 22
Mountainside,
NJ
US

Classics never go out of style, a truth that is both known and celebrated at Sweet Waters Steak House. Here, iconic American dishes showcase the menu?s combinations of comforting flavors. Chefs line the grill with as many as seven cuts of steak, including dry-aged sirloins and certified Angus strip steaks. Roasted organic chicken breast, pan-seared Norwegian salmon, and caramelized French onion soup serve as upscale takes on steak-house traditions.

With its dark wooden wainscoting, gilt-framed paintings, and green leather furniture, the restaurant?s d?cor mirrors the classical elegance of its menu. Crisp white linens adorn each table, catching the small bits of light cast by the dining room?s softly glowing lamps.

43 Elm St
Westfield,
NJ
US

Operated by veteran restaurateur Peter Sideris (who has worked at New York's Smith & Wollensky), Hamilton & Ward Steakhouse serves meticulously prepared cuisine with world-class Kobe beef, prime beef that been dry-aged for a minimum of 28 days, and high-quality seafoods. Hamilton & Ward's dinner menu is loaded with several scrumptious cuts, from its signature 48-ounce porterhouse for two ($79) to the 32-ounce Flintstone ($54), a bone-in rib eye that'll stimulate Stone Age–era taste buds and tip over most foot-powered cars. Disguised bears, meanwhile, can hunch into their trench coats and break into a few fresh Maine lobsters (market price) or savor the restaurant's grilled Atlantic salmon ($25). Keep first-date conversations lubricated with any of the 400 wines in Hamilton & Ward's exquisite Mediterranean wine cellar, or guarantee a second with a glamorous glass of Louis XIII Black Pearl cognac, the only liquor to have been elected president of a Micronesian island.

101 Ward St
Paterson,
NJ
US

Housed inside a refurbished 200-year-old farmhouse, Stone Manor 101's enormous 14,000 square-foot space is surprisingly cozy. But the two working fireplaces, a long, wooden bar, and shining hardwood floors are just the beginning, as evidenced by a recent The New York Times review. It might be the tall, leather chairs, or it might be the fresh ingredients, all of which are selected daily from the Hunts Point meat and produce markets in the Bronx. With a Mediterranean focus, the menu lists dishes such as bruschetta and artichokes, but centers around a large selection of steaks, from petite filets to a 45-ounce porterhouse for two people or one very hungry growing teen.

101 Saw Mill River Rd.
Hawthorne,
NY
US