Fonda Isabel's vibrant modern Mexican dishes take mouths on a zesty tour of the of the country's mainstays tinged with contemporary touches. Each item on the extensive menu arrives at tables hot and made from scratch. Commence the culinary carnival by splashing a gullible chip into a dunking booth of the flavorful guacamole poblano ($7.95) and celebrate by licking a steak lollipop ($4.95). A loyal cheese enchilada stands by the side of the carne a la Tampiqueña, or grilled skirt steak ($16.95), and the pork carnitas schmooze with a fawning crowd of guacamole, grilled onions, rice, jalapeños, and beans ($13.95). Nautical noshers can noodle for the savory fish tacos ($13.95) or sail through chef specialties, such as the skewered meats of the brochetas ($19.95).
Service is tops at Ed's—not because of its astute manners and upscale decorum, but because of its attitude. Offbeat servers are sometimes sweet, sometimes saucy, and often abnormally entertaining. They'll be taking your order one second and dispensing a drive-by insult the next, only to randomly drop their guard and bust into a choreographed countertop dance routine. Over the past 25 years, Ed's affectionately abusive dining experience has amassed a loyal army of paper-hat-wearing fanatics.
Pita House Restaurant, lauded by Talk of the Town for superior customer service, stuffs pita pockets and adorns platters with warm falafel and piquant zabiha meats. The letters on the menu are arranged to spell out a host of sandwiches, including crisp falafel ($3.65) and turkey shawarma, rotisserie turkey bathing in sauce and put to sleep inside a warm pita pocket ($4.45). The veggie entree unifies hummus, baba gannouj, falafel, and grape leaves ($6.45), while the meaty kefta kebab pairs skewers of minced sirloin with crisp salad and a fluffy bed of rice pilaf ($7.25).
It all starts with an egg at Pulp Kitchen, where the staple forms the foundation for a gourmet brunch menu studded with organic ingredients. Artists within their chosen medium, the chefs fry seven types of benedicts and augment a host of classic bakes and scrambles with sweet-and-savory surprises such as the caramelized-pear, cinnamon, and cream-cheese omelet. The kitchen also dispenses decadent, housemade breads and crepes that are designed as a gateway for a habit-forming praline sauce—their own blueberry compote—or savory truffle butter. To satisfy more wholesome cravings, fresh fruit is pressed until it fills cups with antioxidant-rich juice, and nimble hands strip rich yolks from healthy scrambles and whole-wheat french toast.
Club sandwiches and half-pound grass-fed Angus burgers represent the direction of lunch dishes, most of which can be dipped in bowls of the neighboring diners' daily soup. The dining room channels an airy, Martha Stewart variety of farm chic, with playful sculptures of roosters strutting along taupe walls and tidy white moulding that matches the chairs.
At Omega Restaurant Pancake House & Bakery, sizable omelets, skillets full of hash browns, and fresh eggs are mainstays on the menu no matter the hour—and the dining room is open until midnight every day. Sweet options range from oven-baked apple pancakes to crepes, including one stuffed with Montmorency cherries and an imported Danish wine. There's also the onsite bakery, which produces delectable pies, danishes, and pastries.
The new owners of Omega Restaurant Pancake House & Bakery have instructed their chefs to be just as detailed with their afternoon dishes. Each burger patty is ground in-house, and homemade soup specials rotate daily. Alongside a sprawling list of sandwiches and wraps, dinner plates such as veal parmesan, and Athenian-style skirt steak bring an international touch to the table.