By the Rock Pizza & Gyro has dished out American, Italian, and Greek dishes from its Saint Albans kitchen for more than a quarter century. Deluxe six-ounce cheeseburgers join sandwiches such as meatball parmesan heroes and gyros with tzatziki sauce. The cooks also fire specialty pizzas such as the Grandma, which tops crushed tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with leaves of basil. By the Rock caters special events throughout the area, such as weddings or Thursdays.
Chef Steve Thomas at The Kountry Style learned how to prepare the traditional dishes of his native Jamaica from the best teacher he knew: his mother. Tapping into the methods and recipes that had been perfected and passed down in his family for generations, he honed his skills in his mother’s restaurant, where he learned how to create the perfect blend of spices to marinate jerk chicken and the best way to create the complex curries in which to stew tender goat meat. In Kountry Style’s kitchen, Chef Steve cooks these traditional dishes for guests hoping to get a true taste of the Caribbean or those who are missing the fresh seafood of their own home. In addition to the food, the decor helps transport minds to the shores of Jamaica, with walls portraying colorful and historic island scenes that often inspire daydreaming and spontaneous plane ticket purchases.
For the chefs at Nu Urban Cafe, quality is their number-one concern. To that end, they try to refrain from cooking with frozen or canned veggies, preferring to import seasonal and fresh produce whenever possible. Their sauces, marinades, and dressings are made from scratch, using high-quality ingredients. When fashioning one of the caf?'s handmade desserts, chefs mix in real butter, quality vanilla and chocolate, and real eggs, known to be more flavorful and less metallic than ones laid by robotic chickens. This devotion to detail lends a crisp, fresh flavor to servings of glazed baby back ribs, thyme-seasoned red snapper, and apple-smothered pork chops.
Big John's Pizza, a casual eatery located on Jamaica Avenue, serves up a menu of Italian, Greek, and American classics. Specialty pizzas, chopped philly cheesesteaks, and gyros on pita bread are just a few options. Diners can devour savory courses or Breyers ice cream while seated at red booths, or they can opt for delivery.
At Villa Rustica, charming murals that speak of Italy’s countryside encircle a dining room filled with classic Italian décor and cuisine. Take tongues on a luxury cruise with the clams oreganata, which consists of six baked Little Neck clams lounging languidly on a plate ($9.95), or drum up appetites with fried zucchini sticks dunked in Italian tomato sauce ($7.95). Deep-sea dinner divers can fish for shell-dwellers with the linguine pescatore, pasta topped with shrimp, mussels, calamari, and clams and sautéed in a choice of marinara, fra diavolo, or garlic and virgin olive oil ($17.75), while birdivores can spear a hearty serving of chicken rollatini, a dish that’s stuffed with prosciutto and romano and mozzarella cheeses, and sautéed in a marsala wine sauce with mushrooms ($17.50). Brick-oven pizzas, baked Old World style, arrive as 10-inch disks bearing the distinctive marks of margherita ($8.50), vegetarian ($10.50), and fra diavolo ($10.50). Wash away your mouth’s leftovers with an espresso ($3), a glass of zinfandel, or a beer imprisoned in a bottle ($4.25).