Hearty helpings abound at Pirone's, where chefs construct a sizeable menu of steaks, seafood, pizzas, and other traditional Italian specialties. As the dinner curtain rises, feast your eyes and your lips upon an opening number of fried calamari ($11) or mussels marinara ($10) before moving on to sing the praises of a tender, boneless chicken cacciatore ($17) backed by peppers and onions, and simmering in a marinara mushroom sauce. Waiters cart plates of meat- or cheese-tortellini alfredo ($16), chosen from among more than 22 pasta picks that range from traditional spaghetti with meatballs ($22) to an eggplant-topped baked ziti ($16). Meal-goers can appease meaty appetites with a mushroom-infused veal marsala ($19) or a thick-cut steak à la Pirone ($21) topped with mushrooms, provolone, shrimp, sherry sauce, and a miniature model of the restaurant, and those who prefer sliceable sustenance can snack on a sliver of spinach-and-ricotta pizza ($8–$17) or divide a mini calzone ($7) into five mini-er calzones.
For 32 years, comics such as Jay Leno, Ray Romano, and Kevin James have kick-started their careers on the stages of Comedy Cabaret, tucked inside a pair of cozy restaurants. A trio of vaudevillian jokesters descend on Casa Carollo on May 5. The Legendary Wid juggles a barrage of stuffed animals, lawn decorations, and lamps to illustrate his offbeat sense of humor. Sharing the stage, comic actor John Kensil spreads Vegas-style suavity, and Danny B sets his japery to music.
Inside La Luna Dance Studio, students whirl like colorful tops, salsa dancing, tango dancing, or swing dancing atop a 5,000-square-foot dance floor as a crystal-clear sound system pumps tunes. Encouraging instructors stand nearby, breaking down the music and the steps of each style, as friends, partners, and the newly acquainted bond over each tap of their toes. While the studio specializes in these adult Latin-dance courses, junior-level programs welcome kids aged 3 and older, and all classes are scaled to beginner, intermediate, or advanced levels. In addition to their comprehensive month-long programs, the sashayers host special events and dance parties, such as BYOB Salsa Friday every second and fourth weekend, and an annual symposium on the safety risks of holding roses in your teeth.
Every minute of every day, Parx Casino blinks, buzzes, and sends big winners home happier than when they arrived. As a bustling 24-hour gaming complex, Parx features 3,350 cutting-edge slots and a poker room with 60 tables. It’s also home to 100-plus live table games, where guests can play blackjack, craps, and roulette, cheered on by friends.
In between games, visitors can fuel up at the complex’s dining establishments, which include Sangkee Noodle House, an authentic Asian-style noodle bar, and Parxgrill, an elegant steakhouse with a cozy cocktail bar. Drinks also flow freely at Jax sports bar and 360, which provides upscale nightlife options including table reservations and bottle service.
At Dean Casmirri's Colonial Inn, the downstairs patio and overhanging four seasons deck both overlook a creek with a little waterfall. Guests can take in the scenic views while dining on the restaurant's American bar and grill food, which includes 15 different burgers, pastas such as housemade lasagna, and comfort foods such as roast turkey with stuffing.
Equally abundant is entertainment. Karaoke, trivia, and bingo nights fill the already crowded event calendar (which features live music three nights a week), and bar games such as darts, horseshoes, and billiards allow patrons to take out their competitiveness on something other than the food.
At Black Horse Tavern, you can wash down bites of steak seared to order with 1 of 17 draft beers or, if you're feeling daring, with a Hot & Dirty. This mix of dry vermouth, Tabasco sauce, and vodka or gin comes garnished with jalapeño-stuffed olives and is one of several specialty martinis served at the bar.
Saucy cocktail names aside, sophistication is the order of the day in an establishment that is the newest inhabitant of a tavern built in 1754. At the pub's counter and in the dining room, warm red walls meet exposed brick, a rustic frame for white-draped tables. The entrees topping them range from upgraded pub fare to seafood delicacies. The signature burger comes piled with sherry-braised onions, wild mushrooms, and Humboldt Fog cheese milked from the early-morning mists of California. On the other end of the spectrum, smoked duck confit perches on potato gnocchi, and the Fisherman’s Trio overshoots its humble name with a combination of salmon, cod, and scallops in a white-wine lemon-butter sauce. The kitchen similarly soups up its appetizers, featuring truffle fries and petite crab-cakes dipped in one of three sauces.
Though the restaurant’s been open only since 2012, it’s already been making waves on the local dining scene. The Times of Trenton had special praise for the “attentive and knowledgeable” service and noted that the “good food, reasonably priced drinks and a bit of history are a winning combination.”