Chefs at Indian Clove put a modern twist on the bold, flavorful spices of traditional Indian and Indo-Chinese cuisine. Working with organic long-grain rice and bread recipes that date back as far as 200 years, they forge aromatic South Asian dishes using fresh ginger, saffron, garlic, ajwain, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. The chefs' dedication to tradition is also evident in their use of the clay tandoor oven, which roasts skewers of marinated chicken, paneer cheese, and even lobster to tender perfection.
Evenings at Indian Clove don't have to end with dinner. In a separate lounge space, guests can savor the kitchen's creations while live DJs provide an eclectic soundtrack for their meal. To help keep spirits high, the lounge also serves specialty cocktails in addition to wines plucked from the restaurant's climate-controlled cellar.
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.
Darina Restaurant's chefs specialize in Russian cuisine, as well as the artistry of plating it. They don't just serve lamb loin with vegetables and mashed potatoes?they arrange the vegetables into an elegant tower and carefully sculpt the mashed potatoes into the shape of a rose in bloom but without all the prickly potato thorns. Even pasta dishes such as the capellini with shrimp in white sauce feature elegantly placed ingredients that show off the dish's contrasting colors.
At South Fin Grill, the ocean breeze mingles with a menu of upscale seafood and steakhouse dishes praised by New York magazine. Amid what critic Ethan Wolff describes as a "priceless" ocean view, servers roll out lobster, crab, swordfish, and salmon incarnated as pasta, soup, and sushi dishes. The "turf" portion of the menu showcases grilled new york sirloin, filet mignon, and barbecued pork, but the focus once again turns seaside at a raw bar that features clams and oysters kept fresh by pearl-shaped breath mints.
Beams of blue and yellow lighting hover above the interior dining tables, each blanketed with a white tablecloth and centered with a flickering candle. Outside, the ocean deck's sea-blue umbrellas shelter views of the boardwalk, ocean, and seagull beach volleyball tourneys. The restaurant bolsters its elegantly plated cuisine with occasional entertainment acts, which have included DJs.