Roma Ristorante Italiano has been owned and operated by the Giambanco family since 1976. After crossing turbulent seas of marinara during their voyage from Palermo to Brooklyn, the Giambancos' culinary prowess and authentic Italian recipes finally landed on American soil in 1968. Chefs continue to cook the family’s homemade Southern Italian cuisine, which includes pastas, hand-tossed gourmet pizzas, and seafood. Their extensive dessert menu tempts sweet teeth with delicate profiteroles and sheep's milk ricotta cannoli. The dining room oozes comfort and charm with striped banquettes, a colorful mural of the Colosseum, miniature street lamps, and potted plants strung with white lights. Roma Ristorante Italiano's full bar, onsite banquet hall, and catering services ensure that parties can break bread and celebrate Italian culture without applying for a gondolier’s license.
Inside this elegant eatery, undulating mirror segments reflect glimpses of signature kebab and kahari plates precariously stacked along the waiter's arm. Below small ceiling lights arranged like a constellation, tables are festooned with traditional clay-oven tandoori and masala dishes—but this is a small part of Noorani's ample repertoire, which ranges from Indian and Pakistani fare to a completely separate menu of traditional Chinese dishes. The staff prepares fresh fish and chicken coated in zesty sichuan, ginger soy, and orange sauces over noodles or tender rice. Guests, meanwhile, can load plates with cuisine from the 15-item daily lunch buffet and question regulars about Noorani Kabab House's live entertainment. The merriment syllabus presents comedy nights, concerts, and some guy who used a single chopstick to eat a bowl of hot-and-sour soup.
Pasta served Cajun-style with crawfish and andouille sausage. A southwestern chorizo and black-bean sub. Steamed mussels wallowing in a Thai-style broth of lemongrass and green curry. Though these dishes hail from different global culinary traditions, they are united on Caliente’s menu by one shared feature: spice. The passion for all things piquant drives Caliente’s chefs to forgo focusing on one specific cuisine and instead look to the traditional recipes of various cultures to find the spiciest of eats. The kitchen buzzes with chefs architecting dishes from ingredients such as alligator fillet, lotus root, and fresh basil, infusing a zing into noshes via sauces forged from habanero peppers or the tears of a fire-breathing dragon.
The staff at Jamaica House boasts that "some of our proudest moments are when customers travel to Jamaica and return to tell us they couldn't wait to come back for some of their oxtails!" Since opening in 1994, authenticity has been paramount to owner Carena Ives and chef Lenworth Roper, who serve up Caribbean staples such as ackee andn' saltfish, curry goat, and zesty jerk chicken. To further evoke the tropics, the quaint four-table dining room is completely wrapped in Happy the Artist's wall murals, which display islanders playing steel drums on a rainbow, a dolphin jumping through a constellation of stars, and a straight-laced tax attorney buttering his toast.
Poe’s Pub’s exterior takes on the unassuming air of a country house with its white-washed brick and steep, green-gray roof. Inside, wooden booths and walls littered with photos duly conjure up a vibe of something welcoming and familiar, unlike Windex in a briefcase. The restaurant’s bar tempts thirsty throats with Irish libations, from Guinness to Tullamore Dew. Friday fish fries can make for a pleasant precursor to games of darts, and a calendar of live performances enlivens Poe’s with the sounds of local musicians. As a further enticement, Poe’s also has Sunday brunches on an outdoor patio, unless someone puts four walls and a roof over it.
At first glance, Keagan's Irish Pub and Finn McCool's don't seem so different. Both are thoroughly Irish establishments, serving traditional dishes of shepherd's pie, bangers 'n' mash, and fish ’n’ chips in dining rooms adorned with dark woods and stonework accents. Both also feature regular karaoke nights and live-music acts that regale patrons with songs so catchy they're under investigation by the CDC. But Finn McCool's stands out from its sister restaurant in one important aspect—its seafood bar, replete with broiled oysters and clams, steamed shrimp and snow crab, and sautéed mussels that arrive to tables solo or in hefty combination platters.