Along with importing Portugal's unique recipes to the shores of Newark, Sol-Mar Restaurant envelops patrons in an atmosphere that recalls a sidewalk café in Lisbon. Adorned with leafy foliage, murals, and terra-cotta awnings, the dining room features large, arched windows through which commedia dell'Arte archetypes can make their dramatic exits. To top the earth-toned tablecloths, a menu of authentic Iberian fare features dishes such as creamy clams casino, stuffed salmon with crabmeat, and grilled veal chops.
For centuries, the diverse cultures of Asia have been borrowing culinary traditions from their neighbors, transcending borders to swap cooking techniques and seasonings. At China Spice, chefs that hail from locales such as China, Nepal, and Tibet illustrate these time-honored pastimes on plates, harmoniously uniting the spices and styles of Indian, Sichuan, Thai, and Nepalese cuisines. Flecks of coriander and turmeric—hallmarks of Indian and Thai kitchens—might pepper dishes doused in classic Chinese soy sauce. Provincial Hakka specialties, such as chili chicken, neighbor dishes from cosmopolitan Shanghai. Ample rice and noodle dishes, vegetarian fare, and seafood populate tables next to long banquettes, which unfurl amid low lighting and deep earth tones.
Though people often think of Szechuan-style cuisine as setting the mouth on fire, the dishes at Belmont Dragon are made to order at the customer's desired level of spiciness. Lo mein, chow mein, and fried rice plates—the staff prepares them all with 100% vegetable oil. Not only does the food please the palate, but it pleases the eye as well, so much so that diners often take photos to take to their tattoo artist for their next tatt.
You don't have to look far into the menu at Thumbs Up Chinese Restaurant to notice their authenticity. Each menu item is first written in Chinese symbols, with the English description and the level of spiciness following. Once your eyes make their way to the description, some of the ingredients may prove unique or untried, such as the edible tree fungus salad. Chefs cook up these unique dishes alongside classics such as Kung Pao chicken and fried buns topped with sweet cream. A true Chinese experience requires trying the Chongqing hot pot, in which staff serve Chinese food staples around a steaming pot in which guests cook cuts of meat and steam vegetables or wrinkled shirts. The restaurant's desserts take both unique and well-known forms, such as sweet sticky beads soup or scoops of ice cream.
It’s been open since the early 1980s, but there’s nothing dated about Chengdu 46. The gourmet Chinese restaurant has managed to keep a steady crowd of happy customers for the past 30 years thanks to two things: its romantic ambiance, and crack team of native Sichuan chefs. Families and dinner dates alike gather beneath red paper lanterns to savory crispy peking duck and empress chicken by the flickering candlelight. One chef specialty known as Spicy South Sea Pearls consists of whole sea scallops that have been fried, sautéed, and arranged to resemble a more grown-up version of a candy necklace. All food can be prepared for dine-in or takeout, and parties of four or more can reserve a private room and dine from a multicourse banquet menu.
Steak 38 founder Joe DiAmore and fellow restaurateur Ben Blumberg began working together as teenagers, waiting tables at Chubby’s Restaurant in Collingswood. The two later opened their own establishments, with Joe manning the grill at Steak 38 and Ben dishing out undersea treats at Barnacle Ben’s. After more than 40 years, the epicurean duo has once again joined forces to combine their surf 'n' turf experience into a full menu of entrees seasoned with the world's most popular spice—fire. Many of Steak 38's signature dishes include tableside preparation, as waiters carve meats, debone fish, and ignite flaming desserts such as bananas foster before ringing the dinner bell. The restaurant’s intimate bar stocks its bins with toast-ready spirits, filling glasses with effervescent champagne, bracing scotch, and a selection of timeless after-dinner cordials.