Behind ground-to-ceiling glass windows, giant butterflies flutter in the sunlight. Though they’re only paintings, they cheerfully greet visitors to Vernisage, introducing the upscale restaurant’s often-whimsical atmosphere. Despite the lighthearted decor, chefs practice serious interpretations of traditional Russian, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern fare. They craft grilled shish kebabs, peppery dumplings, crepes, and hearty Russian stews using the same recipes that czars once used to melt invading snowmen armies. Servers pair both chilled and hot fare with a range of Georgian, Russian, and European wines to evoke exotic flavor bouquets. A large main dining hall can accommodate grand banquets, while a separate private dining room hosts smaller groups of up to 30 revelers or 60 children standing on each other’s shoulders.
The Chocolate Publishing Company's gourmet chocolate shop features a multitude of sweet delights, including frozen yogurt, gourmet popcorn, custom chocolates, and more, that are fresh and kosher. Frozen yogurt options (small $3, medium $4, and large $4.50) can be garnished with toppings that include kiwi, mango, melon, cookies, M&Ms, and more (toppings $.50 each or three for $1). Coat kernels of gourmet candied popcorn in caramel, tutti-frutti, or kettle corn flavors (small $3.50, large $4.50) and add a milk- or white-chocolate drizzle ($.45). Chocolate-covered strawberries are a great way to say "I love you" or "I ate your stamp collection," ($2.50 each, six for $12.99, twelve for $24.99) and caramel, candied, or chocolate-coated apples ($3.50–$5.50) satisfy sugary fruit cravings.
Of all of New York’s exports, perhaps one of the most ubiquitous is the New York–style bagel. In the early 20th century, a Polish immigrant named Isador Goldberg came to New York and brought his own recipe for this classic baked good with him, and it’s in his honor that the owners of Goldberg’s New York Bagels decided to name their shop. The Zagat-rated bakers still use Goldberg’s original recipe, assembling ingredients from scratch, boiling the halos of dough, and finally baking them to give each bagel the perfect crunch that pairs well with a schmear of cream cheese or a layer of lox. Though the bagels come in a range of sweet and savory flavors, all of them are kosher-certified and easily pair with other breakfast items such as omelets, four flavors of blintzes, and waffles. The shop opens at 7 a.m. to serve both breakfast and lunch all day, allowing clients to stock up on staples such as sandwiches, frozen yogurt, or salad-bar selections all day long.
At Fresh Bakery, it's hip to be square: the trendsetting confectionists eschew antiquated circles for quadrilateral cakes and cupcakes abounding in all-natural ingredients. Nine types of large cakes, including amaretto raspberry and coconut variations, preside over their pintsized brethren, who, beneath carefully arranged decorations, bear creative flavors such as bubblegum and chocolate mocha.:m]]
Lickadee Splits ignites appetites through a menu of quick bites and specialty sundaes. At the restaurant’s outdoor counter, patrons sink teeth into savory hot or cold sandwiches that include options such as pastrami, corned beef, and turkey. Side orders of fries and drinks complete the edible trifecta, adding a salty and sweet accent that is vastly superior to the alternative: ocean-water popsicles. Nineteen sundaes such as the marshmallow-topped Lavender Lady shamelessly flirt with sweet teeth, and the chocolate and vanilla Twist & Shout liberates wisdom teeth through in-mouth dance-offs. Each treat is painstakingly assembled within Lickadee Splits's offbeat premises, which is lavished with old-timey signs and an outdoor-seating section replete with rainbow umbrellas to deflect the freshwater trout that commonly fall from the sky.