When founders J. Kim Tucci, Joseph A. Fresta, and John P. Ferrara first opened The Pasta House Co. in 1974, they wanted to elevate pasta to an art form. “Some artists sculpt, some paint, and some sketch,” they write on the restaurant’s website. “But, at The Pasta House Co., we create authentic Italian culinary delights.” A few of the locations even have giant, exhibition kitchens so you can watch as pizzas, pastas, and entrees come to life.
Naturally, The Pasta House Co.’s menu revolves around the Italian staple from which it gets its name. There are more than 25 varieties of pasta to choose from, including linguine with chicken livers and the signature lasagna, plus weekday specials such as stuffed manicotti. Meanwhile, the mangia bene menu—which translates to “eat well” in Italian—showcases the more wholesome side of Italian eating, with dishes low in fat and calories that won’t peer pressure you to break curfew.
Sleek light fixtures dangle from Kohana Japanese Restaurant's ceiling and subtly illuminate a tidily minimal fleet of indigo and white chairs, booths abutting wavy-lined wall paneling, and plates featuring eats carefully crafted and presented by the chefs. Sharply dressed in the only two colors that can be worn together, black and white, servers march out with precisely sliced sections of signature dishes such as the Phoenix specialty roll, which combines spicy tuna, snow crab, and avocado with a multifaceted dressing. Non-sushi selections, such as crunchy shrimp tempura and baked salmon with eel sauce, also pair well with Kohana's selection of wine, beer, and sake.
The diversity of Relish's offerings?from its dine-in menu of salads and sandwiches to its bakery treats ?represents the eatery's evolution from a small deli to a full-blown restaurant. Those early diner favorites, such as tuna melts and meatball subs, still fill bellies alongside bread bowls full of hot pasta. On the bakery side, custom cakes, gourmet cupcakes, cookies, and cheesecakes line the counters or await pickup for a future event.
The pizza pros at Michael?s Pizza knead freshly made dough into circular palettes before slathering house-made tomato sauce, creamy mozzarella cheese, and a m?lange of high-quality toppings. Michael?s menu includes masterpieces of handmade subs, salads, strombolis, and calzones.
Edelweiss's rustic Bavarian décor complements a mouth-watering billow of scents and sights, from succulent sandwiches to a daily selection of traditional sweets. The menu transports gastronomes into delectable Deutsch dining, much like the pumpernickel-paved autobahn, with heaping schnitzel sandwiches ($7.99) flanked by german potato salad, and currywurst platters, which showcase a duo of bratwursts cloaked in curry sauce ($8.99). Parched wurst-wolfers can swig one of Edelweiss' German beers or explore the eatery's rotating cast of fresh-baked sweets, such as black forest tortes, apple strudel, and a variety of sugar-free options. Edelweiss's traditional breakfast includes cold cuts, two rolls, and preserves ($8.79), while the Polish alternative ($8.79) taps the taste-bud-trouncing power of kielbasa.
Freedom Deli's army of hearty sandwiches, available for carryout or delivery, can ably oust hunger from meetings and get-togethers. Bread such as sub rolls, croissants, pretzel bread, and ciabatta—like the walk-in safes of wealthy butchers—lock up rich, flavorful Boar's Head meats. The shop's epic Heavy Lift comes stacked with a farmyard trinity of roast beef, Virginia baked ham, and smoked turkey ($9.95), and the corned-beef sandwich slathers its marble rye canvas with sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and thousand-island dressing ($6.95). Former college students looking to showcase their mature tastes can brandish the pizza sandwich, a refined handheld that encases pepperoni, marinara, and mozzarella ($6.95). Delivery is available within 10 miles of Freedom Deli, and a minimum eight-sandwich order is required.