Trenton Social's convivial environment sprawls from its indoor lounge to its cozy outdoor patio, where dining and drinking often melds with special events. Its menu fuels guests with eats ranging from seafood and pastas to hot sandwiches and parmesan fries. Between drinks on Sundays, guests can learn to shimmy as salsa dancers teach free lessons, and monthly bike trips explore historic Trenton as tour guides expound upon relevant historical morsels, such as stories of the brutal penny-farthing gangs of old.
At Bar Majestic, live music can often be heard bouncing off the backdrop of darkly lit wood, shimmery walls, and wine racks so well stocked the place resembles a chateau wine cellar in the heart of Spain's countryside. Small, sharable portions of fresh tapas dance across tables and decorate the menu. Nibble decadent meats and cheeses, or bite bruschette such as spinach pesto, prosciutto, or mushroom tapenade ($3 each, $7 for three, $12 for five). Piping hot paninis pummel stubborn stomachs with comestibles including turkey breast, brie, romaine, and aioli ($8) or eggplant, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and balsamic ($9).
Palo Cortado––reviewed in Grub Street New York and New York Press––sates palates with an authentic Spanish meal of four tapas and one order of pinchos. Elegantly plated on square white dishes, Palo Cortado's culinary masterpieces include the boquerones en vinagre, a vibrant congregation of marinated white anchovies, capers, garlic, and parsley ($10) that cha-chas across the tongue while high-fiving the taste buds. Poached shrimp blanketed with green sauce and accented with avo and crispy chorizo comprise the gambas en salsa verde ($9), and the pulpo a la gallega graces gums with a savory share of Spanish octopus clenching onto fingerling potatoes ($13). Meanwhile, the lemon-infused albondigas de cordero sports spiced lamb meatballs surrounded by a moat of mint-cucumber yogurt ($10), great for fueling whispered adorations or plans of building a castle out of meat. Finally, an order of pinchos ensures tapas tidbits safely journey through the tonsils with friends such as the fried chickpeas of the garbanzos fritos dish ($4).
"I feel a little like a detective," reveals Luke Johnson, overseer of the cheese cave at Stinky Bklyn, to the New York Times. He continues, "I…try to steer people toward something new. If they say they don't like goat, I really push the goat because people don't realize there are so many varieties." And push they do. Staff members pass indulgent segments of their carefully aged cheeses, offering approachable wisdom to novices and a wide-ranging selection for aficionados. The charming Smith Street institution has opened a new location between Baltic and Butler, with fridges and pantries stocked with international morsels such as chocolates, oils, vinegars, and beer, as well as an impressive ham bar.
Visitors can request a peak at the temperature- and humidity-controlled cheese cave, where Luke and staff nurture each wheel through distinct aging processes. Cheeses dwell within the cavern for anywhere from a few days to a few years, undergoing washing, soaking in beer or brine, and the opportunity to view culturally enriching cave paintings. Owners Patrick Watson, Michele Pravda, and Chris Remy also added a green garden and patio behind the shop, providing an ideal place for tastings or a peaceful spot for enjoying one of the shop's artisan sandwiches.
Lelabar earned a "critic's pick" from New York Magazine, bolstered by an extensive list of vintage wines such as a Bordeaux from 1970. Their sommeliers recommend selections from nearly 200 international wines, which are imported from the likes of Italy, France, and the moon. Patrons can also look to a central chalkboard, which details the daily wine and food specials. Food selections include meat plates, imported cheeses, and pressed sandwiches.
White linen tablecloths and wooden wine racks complement Savore's hearty Northern Italian fare profiled by New York Magazine. More than 220 wines wait to be paired with Tuscan recipes, whose ingredients—including cockle clams, roasted lamb chops, and buffalo mozzarella—date back to the days of Michelangelo. New York Magazine highlights the wine bar in the backroom, a.k.a. Boutique del Vino, where dinner guests can get to know Italian wines by tasting notes, smelling bouquets, and listening to the warble of wineglass-rim choruses.