Rather than choose comfort foods from one country, Las Lunitas Diner & Bakery almost seems determined to embrace recipes from as many as possible. This leads to a diverse menu that includes options for every meal of the day except the snack between the beginning and the end of dinner. The eclectic selection includes American staples?such as apple pie and 7-ounce cheeseburgers?as well as housemade croissants, linguine in white-clam sauce, and shrimp ceviche with fried plantains. Omelets and espresso drinks provide a much-needed boost for breakfast, as do the diner's natural juices made using everything from pineapple to kale. Meals can be finished with a slice of coffee cake, marble cheesecake, or milk shake.
At Saverio's Stone Fire Bistro, Chef Nicola Bertolotti decks out Northern Italian cuisine and pizzas with ingredients such as filet mignon, prosciutto, goat cheese, and truffles. He and his staff hand stretch rounds of dough atop a marble counter before covering them with sauce and toppings and thrusting them into the depths of a mammoth, tiled hearth oven, where high, even heat bakes them to a delectable crunch. Pizza combinations include options such as a quartet of cheeses?mozzarella, gorgonzola, fontina, and ricotta?or mozzarella, truffle cream, ham, and truffle oil. The oven also produces pastas coated in black-truffle or vodka sauces, arriving alongside paninis and salads that cut all the richness with lemony dressings.
A burbling waterfall covered in plants and pebbles stands sentry in front of Saverio?s fieldstone fa?ade. Inside, slatted wooden furniture, checkerboard linens, big umbrellas, and candles clustered with small wicker baskets evoke a picnic atmosphere even when the waterfall?s iced over. If diners look up, they?ll see something even more surprising: high above their heads stretches a cross section of an Italian alleyway, complete with a trompe l?oeil streetscape mural, flower boxes, roof tiles, and clotheslines strung between two ?buildings? like pasta noodles in the mouths of two young Venetians in love.
Brooklyn Creative Studio bestows do-it-yourselfers with the skills needed to make their own bath and body products. Its classes, held at different times throughout the week, include all supplies needed to make a signature face cream, lip balm, or soap. The studio purveys shea butter that?s unrefined and imported?like a Canadian lumberjack living in SoHo?and it also offers an array of specialized oils, such as body, perfume, and massage oils.
Bel Paese chef Guy Valastro is both a jack-of-all-trades and a specialist at the same time. Though he only cooks Italian dishes, he uses recipes from every region—a diversity reflected in his menu’s offerings. Traditional sicilian pizzas share oven space with thin-crust neapolitan pizzas, both of which take on toppings such as basil, imported prosciutto, and capers. In the dining room, his wait staff drops off platefuls of eggplant or chicken parmigiana, mussels fra diavolo, and pastas dressed in 10 types of sauce. The restaurant also hosts hands-on cooking classes, during which instructors train students in the styles of northern- and southern-Italian cuisine as they cook four dishes and run through an obstacle course made entirely of Italian sausage.