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.
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.
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.
Old traditions live on at Rivara's. The old-fashioned dining hall is the domain of a family that has owned restaurants in New Jersey since 1916. They serve up classic American cuisine, from salmon grilled with herb-butter to baby back ribs served with unexpected pairings, including fried tempura shrimp and crab cakes. Across from the main restaurant is the Owl Pub, a casual bar area where guests can unwind with friends, catch a game with the NFL Sunday Ticket, or discover a new local musician before they pull all their music off of Spotify.
There's a low-key vibe to Smith Brothers Steak & Chophouse—its simple wood tables are surrounded by vintage liquor ads and a shiny granite bar that reflects the flat-screen TVs behind it. But the team here takes steak seriously. Each signature cut is made with certified Black Angus beef, including a 16-ounce flat-iron sizzler with mushrooms and their signature 6-ounce filet with caramelized onions. Aside from steak, you can also try the shrimp scampi, chicken francese, or center-cut pork chops. Live musicians play on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as whenever it's not Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
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 & Bistro, 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 b?arnaise, 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.