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.
Inside the kitchen at Riverside Manor is a staff that knows how to bring the best out of their Atlantic-harvested ingredients and Italian cooking methods. Fresh, homemade pastas envelop pumpkin ravioli and serve as pillows for shrimp and scallops. Filet mignon tops bruschetta or stars in an entr?e of its own. And eight brick-oven pizzas come strewn with four cheeses, spinach and feta, or crispy buffalo chicken. And to accommodate as many patrons as possible, the cooks prepare a whole-wheat penne primavera along with an entire menu of gluten-free dishes.
But perhaps it?s the building itself that best represents an elegant fusing of old and new. On the site of what was once a 19th-century silk mill, the doors now open into a scene that could fool you into thinking you just passed through a wormhole to Tuscany. Along with hand-carved wooden furnishings and ornamental ironwork, brick archways and painted trompe l?oeils bring a playfulness to the space, which doubles as a frequent host for weddings and other special events.
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.