At tables around Grill House, kebabs hang down from hooks above plates, laden with succulent chunks of meat. Around the earth-toned dining room, tables covered with tan linens support plates of shawarma, quail, or ravioli. Elsewhere, diners can exhale hookah smoke redolent of fresh fruit, blowing languid smoke rings and then coaxing smoke tigers to jump through them.
At each of Michelino's Restaurant’s four locations, kitchen staffers build upon three different depths of pizza crust—thin, deep dish, and Sicilian-style—with ingredients such as sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, steak, and pineapple. The tasty results are served alongside platefuls of baked pastas and hot sub sandwiches layered with veal cutlets, eggplant, or chicken and mozzarella, all adding their own rich scents to the dining rooms’ Italian perfume.
Pasquale’s Ristorante Italiano crafts house-made pastas, entrees, and decadent desserts for an elegant, old-world menu of Italian favorites. A clutch of pan-seared scallops and shrimp spill over an umami-laden porcini risotto ($20.95) like a gift from a mermaid secret admirer left on the shore, and boneless short ribs with a port-wine glaze recline on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes ($20.95). Light-as-air gnocchi hopscotch through bolognese sauce studded with mascarpone cheese squares ($13.95). A slice of Nonna’s cheesecake, finished with raspberry puree, puts a ricotta exclamation point at the end of savory meals. Homey floral arrangements and warm, golden walls meet sleek booths and a streamlined full bar in Pasquale's dining room, suiting moods ranging from casual to extravagant. Reservations are recommended.
Rick DeLorenzo Jr.'s family inheritance is more than just a recipe for thin-crust pizza—it's a tradition of hard work and dedication. After emigrating from a small Italian town called San Fele, his grandparents settled in a row home on Hudson Street in Trenton. They raised 12 children there, all of whom became well-versed in the application of elbow grease. Circa 1938, DeLorenzo's uncle Joe opened the first family pizzeria at the corner of Hudson and Mott Streets. Four of the older brothers formulated the signature Trenton tomato-pie recipe—a supercrispy thin crust topped with garden-fresh california tomatoes and wisconsin cheese—and passed it on to four younger brothers, including DeLorenzo's father. Today, the pizzaiolo duties are carried on by DeLorenzo and his children, Michael, Melissa, and Maria.
The menu at DeLorenzo's Pizza has earned high praise in several newspaper articles and a spot on Dash’s list of America's best slices. After enjoying a tomato pie, Rich Defabritus of the Slice food blog said, "The balance struck between the sauce and cheese is about as close to perfection as you could get." Wood-paneled walls and old-timey memorabilia give the restaurant a nostalgic, throwback vibe, similar to the pizza parlor where Frank Sinatra first read a menu with his famously blue-tinted contact lenses.