As the major riverine port of a nation that's home to more than a billion people, Calcutta hardly lacks for culture. The city's cuisine—a multicultural mishmash of Indian, British, Jewish, Chinese, and other culinary traditions—is but one example of its stunning diversity. A Calcutta Affair's menu captures this diversity in dishes such as the fish fry and the Calcutta Chow, the latter a mixture of noodles, veggies, and meat that's reminiscent of stir-fry.
Despite the competing influences, Indian traditions still hold the greatest weight in the Calcuttan kitchen. This explains why many of A Calcutta Affair's dishes are prepared with Bengali flavors such as five-spice (a mixture of cumin, fennel, fenugreek, kalonji, and mustard seed) and freshly ground mustard paste. The tandoori dishes are billed as the restaurant's specialties, and one taste of the chicken marinated in sour cream and spices will tell you why. An exotic selection of beverages includes mango lassi and litchi juice with rosewater, though guests can also bring their own beers, wines, and nonalcoholic bathtub gin.
When Jon Lidz left his career as an army officer some 25 years ago, he had dreams of opening a restaurant. Although he took a few detours—working everywhere from Wall Street to the button-making business—he still daydreamed about a place where friends and neighbors could enjoy fresh food in a casual, comfortable setting. So with the encouragement of friends and family, he opened Little Shanty, where he created a menu starting with his grandmother’s Southern-style, hand-cut french fries, plus burgers, Chicago-style hotdogs, and shakes.
Little Shanty’s casual interior brings to mind an auto repair shop—complete with aluminum siding, exposed brick walls, and booths sidled next to windowed garage doors. The kitchen resides on the other side of these doors, allowing diners to avidly watch as cooks assemble burgers or drag race pickles.
Unlike when you're visiting a museum of what professional wrestlers ate in the 1990s, it's easy to find a healthy meal at Roscoe's Wrap It Up. Here, cooks stuff ingredients such as Boar's Head turkey and grilled vegetables into soft tortillas and sizzle stir-fries to serve with brown rice. Their veggie wrap bursts with grilled zucchini and tomatoes, roasted peppers, and balsamic vinegar, and a london-broil wrap with mozzarella cheese and A1 sauce is delivered to you on the wrong side of the table. Sips of a frappuccino shake grant a chocolate protein boost, whereas sips of an apple-pie shake provide an inventive vanilla protein boost.
Muscle Maker Grill grew out of a small smoothie shop, where owner Rod Silva prepared health-conscious alternatives to fast food. The restaurant has since expanded with a menu tailored to accommodate diners with vegetarian, carb-free, and gluten-free diets. The crew prides themselves in creating healthy versions of popular foods, and continues to serve the shop’s original protein shakes with favorites such as chocolate peanut butter and strawberry banana. Additionally, Muscle Maker Grill displays the calorie count for each dish on the menu.
The chefs at Muscle Maker Grill put a healthy spin on flavorful dishes inspired by Italian, Asian, American, and southwestern cuisines. The chain was founded in 1995 by Rod Silva, a fitness enthusiast who grew weary of fast-food eateries that bogged customers down with unhealthy morsels and toys sculpted from butter. What began as a smoothie stand has expanded into a successful franchise that slings pastas, burgers, salads, and Tex-Mex–style wraps and proudly displays the calorie content and relationship status of each dish on the menu.
Behind the understated green awning of L&D’s Sapore Ravioli & Cheese's storefront, owner Domenick F. Discenza and his team churn out nearly 100 kinds of pasta fresh daily. Domenick's love affair with pasta began during his childhood in Baranello, Italy, and has lasted 40 years, more than two decades of which have been spent at L&D's. He creates authentic Italian pastas and innovative interpretations including champagne-dough ravioli with lobster and sweet-potato gnocchi. The restaurant also makes use of imported delicacies, featuring 15 sauces including walnut pesto and honeycomb tripe on its dinner menu. The lighter lunch menu offers hot and cold sandwiches and wraps. In addition, L&D's savory cold-cut platters and à la carte items can be ordered for birthdays, anniversaries, and parties in honor of that time you hiccupped for three hours straight.