Scosso Ristorante & Bar combines Italian delicacies with an extensive wine list and martini menu. The expansive martini menu offers a variety of flavors such as strawberry lemonade, Smores, and French berry. They delicately artfully plate center cut filet mignon, karabuta pork chops, and fresh Atlantic haddock with scallops and shrimp, dressed in white-wine sauce. They celebrate the classic Italian styles of preparation—romano, parmigiana, and marsala, to name a few—with dishes sporting chicken, veal, and shrimp, but make them their own with minimalistic platings.
The opulent post-modern interior plays with perceptions, taking the clean lines that one expects from modern décor and adding mind-bending curves and squiggles. This effect is found in everything from the chair backs to the support pillars and bannisters.
The kitchen at Brodie’s Pub elevates typical bar bites with quality ingredients, such as Angus steak tips and turkey tenderloins. Bowls of housemade chili and chowder whet taste buds for elaborate sandwiches, such as veggie-stuffed chicken-teriyaki pockets and the Famous Philips burger, whose housemade italian sausage has never signed an autograph. An array of beers and other drinks are available to complement any entree, from barbecued-turkey-tip salad to fried chicken wings served buffalo-style or with duck sauce.
One might leave Red Lulu Cocina & Tequila Bar, which was named this year's best new restaurant north of Boston by Boston Magazine, with some sense of the broad scope of Mexican cuisine, geography, and culture. That epiphany might come from the selection of 180 tequilas, which slip down in shots, release bell peals of clicking ice in glasses, or blend with lime in thick margaritas rimmed with salt. The tantalizing menu also parades traditional Mexican ingredients, though they are tangled into surprising configurations.
Red chandeliers glow, bringing to life the colors of chipotle peppers on plates at plush black booth seating, all beneath red wallpaper. In the tequila lounge, ample couches create a circle around red, candlelit tables for resting a glass of sangria or a mojito muddled with strawberries or cucumber. A row of inset shadowboxes displays the colorful lucha libre masks typically used in overblown battles and attempts to go out in public without being recognized as Kevin Bacon.
Rockafellas delights diners by dishing up a menu of fresh steaks, seafood, and gourmet pizzas in a casual, historic setting. Stop by for lunch to try a fresh lobster roll ($17) or a Missing Staircase, a shredded-chicken panini named for the building's grand foyer staircase ($8), which was demolished after the simultaneous invention of fireman's poles and jetpacks. Evening eaters can placate their palates with entrees such as the 12-ounce, brown-sugar-smothered grilled harvest pork chop, which comes plated with cranberry chutney ($21), or the fresh crab-stuffed haddock, served buttered and lightly seasoned ($17).
Sixty2 on Wharf is owned by Tony Bettencourt, the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts–trained former chef of the acclaimed Tomasso Trattoria in Southborough. Since opening in 2008, Sixty2 has seduced Salem stomachs with contemporary re-inventions of Italian classics. Bettencourt's meals use local and fresh ingredients shipped to the restaurant via seahorse-drawn gondola. The antipasti platter ($22) allows the chef to drop some knowledge on your plate, as he fills the plate with whichever antipasti options he deems best for the climate and current astrological alignment. Pasta dishes include the potato-filled cappellacci ($24 for full size) and the ribbon-like tagliatelle with a traditional meat-based Bolognese sauce ($26 for full size), while an assortment of entrees ($22–$30) include duck, lamb, chicken, and sea scallops seasoned and spiced to flavorful magnificence. The warm toffee-pudding dessert is a sweet salvo guaranteed to lob a taste grenade at any lingering post-entree hunger.