With dishes of thick, sage-seasoned veal chops and house-made pasta on its tables, it's no wonder that the dining room at Da Noi gets crowded. The Midtown spot is usually "packed with devotees of solid Northern Italian fare," according to New York Magazine, which also praised the "elegant" wood-paneled dining room.
Da Noi's chefs celebrate the subtleties of Northern Italian cuisine by tirelessly chopping fresh herbs, slicing scarlet-hued beef carpaccio, and saut?ing filets of fresh sole in white wine. Da Noi's handmade pasta dishes have turned many first-time diners into regulars, but other enthusiasts return again and again for pasta-free dishes such as grilled chicken livers dressed in a tangy balsamic dressing and served over fresh field greens.
The dessert menu rubs shoulders with the cocktail program at Da Noi, and the results are lavishly indulgent. Bartenders mix and muddle ingredients such as white chocolate and fresh blueberries with potent liqueurs, and decorate shaken martinis with whimsical garnishes. Glasses of silky house-made limoncello present a careful balance of sweet and tart flavors.
In a dining room the 2010 Michelin guide described as "a fresh, modern interior soaked in beautiful, natural light," according to their website, servers at Indian Clove deliver a diverse roster of Indo-Chinese dishes. As patrons sip salted, spiced lassi, daily lunch buffets heap plates with both vegetarian and nonvegetarian entrees. Grilled-chicken tikka and lobster cook inside the traditional clay oven known as a tandoor as chefs with a "serious talent for Indian fare," according to Michelin, prepare classics such as samosas and lamb vindaloo. Drinks and live DJs complement these classic flavors in the bar and lounge, where hanging orange lamps sprout from carefully watered light bulbs to illuminate cocktails.
Venezia Restaurant & Bar transports palates to Northern Italy, stamping taste bud passports with a menu of elegantly simple dishes and a well-stocked bar. Warm up tongues for the big game with the pan-seared sea scallops, accented by a raw artichoke carpaccio ($14). Fungus fanatics can nosh the risotto, which zestfully cohabitates with wild mushrooms and fava beans ($22). Ward off clingy vampires with the linguine aglio, sautéed with garlic and red pepper ($12). Soaked in a chianti sauce, the protein-packed filet mignon builds more muscle than a sports-car factory ($29).
If you're not sure what you have a taste for when you walk in the door of Portobello Cafe, it'll probably take you awhile to decide. The dinner menu challenges timid eaters with more than 75 menu items, predominantly Italian-style dishes such as veal saltimbocca and rosemary-crusted rack of lamb. There are some playfully international dishes as well, such as Italian egg rolls stuffed with broccoli rabe and parmesan risotto. Folks can always leave the decisions up to the professionals, however, with prix fixe dinners. During the day there's an equally extensive lunch menu to ensure that none of the meals think the chef is playing favorites.
Kuzina is a transliteration of the Greek word for kitchen, and the restaurant is full of sights and smells reminiscent of that hallowed family gathering place. A cozy atmosphere is livened up with traditional Greek dishes made by chefs using authentic recipes. One taste of souvlaki, avgolemono soup, or spanakopita, and you'll be transported to a Greek grandmother's kitchen, full of fragrant, simmering pans but thankfully devoid of cheek pinches.
Named for a type of plane tree with a broad, sprawling crown, Chinar on the Island shelters diners in a space designed to look like a breezy Mediterranean courtyard. Sandstone archways and clusters of palms surround diners as they tuck into appetizers, such as fresh mussels and saffron shrimp, or point out which of the clouds painted on the ceiling are shaped most like fried calamari.
For the main meal, shareable kebab plates skewer grilled meats and veggies, and pilaf dishes steam tender rice with spices and vegetables in a tangine, or earthenware pot. Hearty traditional dishes, such as roast quail or lamb slow-cooked on the bone, can fill bellies or weigh down brass display vessels commandeered for impromptu rounds of shot put.