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.
A plush, scarlet-accented interior welcomes diners to Nanking, whose namesake city—plotted equally between Canton and Peking—boasts a strong history of mingling Chinese, Thai, and Indian flavors. The fusion fare descends on appetites as natural light from a wall of broad windows washes over gleaming wooden floors, punctuated by a long bar stocked with wines, cocktails, mocktails, and ice sculptures chiseled by a famous cubist. Velvety, modern red chairs support diners as they feast on everything from spicy seafood to rich goat-meat curries and numerous vegetarian options that offer protein in the form of chickpeas, paneer, and tofu.
Riverside Manor’s cooks craft a menu of upscale Italian dishes, each served to diners in a renovated nineteenth-century silk mill. Just as a trip to the bookie precedes little-league baseball games, so too must first courses such as chicken wings ($7) or clams oreganata ($8 lunch, $10 dinner) clear the way for a festive entrée. Classic dishes such as rigatoni alla vodka ($10 lunch, $12 dinner) and fettuccini carbonara ($12 lunch, $14 dinner) share space with more exotic fare, including a 10-oz. raw filet mignon served on a 750-degree volcanic stone ($24). A lineup of brick-oven pizzas teaches guests that, unlike pi, pies end, and libations such as red ($5–$13) and white ($5–$12) wines, domestic ($4) and imported ($5) beers, and martinis ($7–$11) accompany the succulent eats.
The brightly colored lights that decorate The Lobby illuminate amenities of a gastropub, cocktail lounge, and sports bar all in one place. This glow mingles with the light from scores of LED HD TVs, which showcase games in nearly every sport throughout the week. The space stays open until 3 a.m. every Thursday through Saturday, providing an ideal hangout for late-night revelers or nocturnal pool sharks. To keep its visitors fueled, The Lobby's kitchen creates a plethora of hearty sandwiches, including a southern-fried chicken sandwich topped with guacamole and a house burger piled with bacon. Eclectic entrees include the cumin and teriyaki-marinated chicken, and miniature paella loaded with steaming seafood and chorizo, round out the menu.
The sunset-orange hue of turmeric. The complex nutty scent of cumin. The slow-burning warmth of ground chili on one’s tongue. Spices touch all of the senses, and the precious seasonings play an important role in the kitchen at Shezan. Inside, clay ovens cradle chicken kebabs with ginger, paneer cubes marinated with herbs, and meat infused with the flavors of papaya. Waiters carry lamb, shrimp, and vegetarian dishes to the dining room, where forks clatter against plates with the cheery jangling of the robot arrival lounge at an airport. On weekends, a brunch buffet arrays 60 distinct desserts, biryani dishes, and tandoori options in the eatery, which the Home News Tribune called a “home away from home” for Pakistani diners.
Michael Scotto draws on his native Italian heritage and knowledge of traditional recipes at Jester’s Cafe’s, which serves classic Italian dishes crafted to pair with a deep, international-wine menu. Italian and Australian varietals of red and white complement high-grade poultry and filet mignon delivered fresh daily, creating worldly meals without the pulpy aftertaste left after chewing through a road atlas. The eatery fosters a cheerful ambiance with a wide array of specialty cocktails mixed with top-shelf vodkas, rum, and even champagne. Jester’s Cafe also provides a semisecluded back room for private parties as well as off-premises catering services for wedding parties and postdivorce luaus.