Named for the Spanish word for nostalgia, Añoranzas Colombianas helps diners to understand Columbia’s culinary history with traditional recipes. As the restaurant's televisions play salsa and cumbia dance videos, affable waiters ferry plates of shrimp in lemon sauce and chicken fajitas. The Bandeja Paisa, or country platter, mingles chorizo and fried pork belly with marinated steak, sunny-side-up eggs, avocado, and rice and beans served atop a 4-H manual. Not to be outdone by the main courses, cups of strong Colombian coffee and plates of flan add their own complex flavors each meal.
Capital of one of the five largest states in India, Hyderabad is something of a melting pot. Its streets contain both ancient temples and modern sky scrapers, while its cuisine combines Turkish, Arabic, and Indian flavors. The chefs at Deccan Spice attempt the same feat at their new Worth Street location, which invites guests to step inside for a taste of Hyderabad's unique culture.
The cooks in the newly-opened location at 214 Worth Street in Iselin as well as the established Jersey City location specialize in some of the city of Hyderabad's most celebrated dishes. They whip up a wide variety of dishes, including sizzling liver fry and Bheja fry, Gongura mutton, goat paya, and Hyderabadi-style dum biryanis such as natu kodi biryani, which are enriched with the herbs and spices of Hyderabad's local Telugu and Marathwada cuisines. They invite every visitor to bring their own favorite beverage, and don't charge a corkage fee for opening a bottle or dislodging a popped cork from a friend's nose.
It doesn't cost much to visit Puerto Rico. All you need to do is walk into ME Casa and choose a travel plan?or more accurately, an entree from the restaurant's menu. For their tour de Latin cuisine, Chefs Laura Melendez and Eddie Cotto Jr. cook house specialties such as rotisserie chicken (pollo a la brasa) and traditional marinated roast pork (pernil asado). They don't stop there, of course. The menu's deeper tracks dive into the likes of traditional Latino beef stew (carne guisada) and seared tilapia in spicy mango salsa. Whatever the chosen meal, it's best to start with an appetizer: perhaps a sampler of chicken, beef, and shrimp empanadas.
The restaurant's tagline, su casa, characterizes the dining room. Chef Eddie often comes out to visit with his patrons and prove that the kitchen isn't just a magic door leading into Puerto Rico. As for decor, white tablecloths and brick accent walls sit alongside a flat-screen TV, striking a balance between class and comfort.
With its sloped roof and grand clock tower, Orale Mexican Bistro's facade doesn't fit the bill for a typical Mexican restaurant. But beyond its front doors, chefs cook open-faced chipotle shrimp quesadillas by the heat of a wood-fired brick oven, and they stuff tacos with slow-cooked carnitas. Servers shuttle these south of the border entrees to candlelit tables in the dining room or to an outdoor patio perched beneath the clock tower, which transforms back into a lowly wristwatch at the stroke of midnight. On select evenings, DJs spin house and latinbeat tunes while patrons enjoy specials on margaritas and mixed drinks.
The 15 varieties of empanadas crafted at O'LaLa Empanadas and International Cuisine are often seasoned with little more than lime?perhaps because they're zesty enough already. Each is stuffed with fillings such as beans, vegetables, chicken, and pork, and fried to a crispy golden-brown before being branded with the chef's family crest. Dessert variations, meanwhile, feature guava and rich chocolate. Empanadas aren't the only items on the menu, though: the eatery offers Latin-Chinese fusion cuisine and Latin dishes such as arroz chaufa and fried fish.
Diners at Blue Lotus can immerse their taste buds in flavors from all the main regions in India. The eatery's chefs have mastered popular dishes from the diverse country, everything from Mumbai-style chaats to tandoori recipes from the north to chicken chettinad?a Tamilnadu entree of chicken in a spicy black-pepper-and-roasted-coconut sauce. They also blend Indian flavors with those from other countries, creating hybrid Indo-Chinese eats such as gobi Manchurian and Anglo-Indian eats such as lamb mirchiwala with green chilis, ginger, and coriander.