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.
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.
Italian pastas, meats, and veggies dressed in tasty sauces pepper Trattoria Lucia’s dinner and lunch menus, resting alongside a varied assortment of wines and specialty cocktails. The caprese—a duet of tomatoes and mozzarella ($8.95)—sings an opening number for the spaghetti alla Frank Sinatra, its noodles backed by shrimp, chopped clams, attractive bodyguards, and olives ($15.95). Meanwhile, arugula salad and tomatoes top a crisp breaded cutlet in the veal capricciosa ($17.95), and the tricolor salad ($8.95–$10.95) sends teeth traipsing through a garden of sliced pears, pignoli, and shaved ricotta. Once satiated, diners can cheers to good health and lucrative penny stocks after clinking together a couple glasses of the sparkling brut (a $6 value per glass).
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).
Japanese recipes and culinary techniques heavily influence the menu at Sho Japanese & Asian Fusion Restaurant, but the chefs refuse to play favorites by incorporating Thai and Chinese elements into their dishes as well. Szechuan peppercorns, lemongrass, or red curry lend a variety of pan-Asian flavors to the seared orders of steak and shrimp. The sushi selection also goes beyond traditional california rolls to feature specialty maki with innovative cores of jalapeño, steamed lobster, or hand-polished macadamia nuts.