Light from candles scattered on tabletops dances to punctuate conversation and mimics the flickering warmth of Calilou’s dishes. A small group of friends gathers on supple leather couches in the front window, passing morsels such as blue crab enfolded in wontons, hummus whirled together from black beans and roasted red peppers, and jalapeños stuffed with sausage and cheddar jack cheese. Steaming pots of fondue gild small bites with melted cheese or dark chocolate and let struggling chemists discover a second stage of matter. If it's Friday night, a small acoustic duo might be playing in the corner, or a jazz band might be performing songs inspired by the ghost of the old grand piano that once inhabited the space. The music drifts amid plum-colored walls and mahogany floors, rising toward the chandelier above the bar.
Gustavo Sanchez knows a thing or two about running an authentic Mexican restaurant. Aside from being born and raised in Mexico City, he ran two restaurants in Mexico—a fast-food joint in Mexico City, and a larger, family-style eatery in Salamanca. After some urging from his sons, who had relocated to the United States, Gustavo and his wife also made the move. Now, at Salsas, he and his family create homestyle Mexican cooking for their customers. Their signature guacamole is made fresh daily, along with homemade tortillas and other dishes based on family recipes and secrets whispered only to close-mouthed avocados.
The crew at Mister Beaujeans Ice Cream Company is committed to crafting soft-serve ice-cream treats and American fare with wholesome ingredients and minimal environmental impact. They combine all-natural cream, vanilla beans, pure Belgian chocolate, and evaporated sugar cane juice to make rich ice cream, and utilize certified carbon-free cane sugar and renewable products as part of an eco-friendly philosophy. Staffers dress up cups and cones with seven types of syrup and rainbow sprinkles that guests can separate into neatly color-coded piles.
For lunch and dinner, cooks steam cheeseburgers and deep-fry hot dogs, serving them on house-made buns alongside razor fries in flavors such as salt and vinegar. Early morning patrons can get their hands on breakfast sandwiches, waffles with house-made caramel syrup, or handmade beignets with cinnamon sugar, while they last.
Chef Ratib draws inspiration from international culinary traditions to create fusion fare that pulls from Italy, Greece, France, Japan, and India. Metromix called the spot ?one of those not-quite-hidden gems?where delightful surprises await? for its innovative dishes such as the santa fe chicken egg rolls with spicy rémoulade and the chicken crepes with spicy curry sauce. Guests enjoy their eclectic fare in a dining room made lively by whimsical touches such as the purple trim that runs along its taupe walls. Vibrant paintings of red and green chili peppers, kaleidoscopic schools of fish, and ceramic kilns full of Crayola crayons also help to brighten up the space, which opens for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week.
Most of the meals served at Julian’s Mediterranean Restaurant, formerly known as Niki's Rainbow Restaurant, are rooted in Greek and Lebanese flavors, with a wealth of options for vegetarians and vegans as well as those on a strict gyros diet. Cooks grill shrimp kebabs, crown burgers with feta, and simmer eggplant, zucchini, garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, onions, and tomatoes to make a vegan mediterranean stew. The inspiration behind the menu is echoed in decor, with a mural of iconic Grecian architecture spanning an entire wall.
More American-style options include a range of deli sandwiches, prime rib, and breakfast plates of blueberry pancakes and western omelets. Visitors can also sip mixed drinks or stop by for events such as wine tastings and belly-dancing on Friday nights.