Dominican native Sara Taveras, her husband, restaurateur Luis Taveras, and Caña y Café's new executive chef, Roberto Ferrer, inject contemporary technique as well as European, Asian, and Caribbean flair into Latin-fusion recipes to create vivid metropolitan cuisine. Flavorsmiths prime palates with a selection of seafood appetizers or classic Latin aperitivos such as empanadas or stuffed plantains. Snatching up the cross-cultural baton, entrees such as the rack of lamb whisper hints of continental and Caribbean flourishes, including the side of ratatouille and paprika blackened tomatoes. Other main courses arrive drizzled or otherwise accompanied by decadent garnishes such as truffle oil or sweet-plantain croutons. A selection of salads satisfies healthy cravings, with inspired combinations such as jicama, avocado, and cotija cheese, or peanut dressings with crispy chicken. Illuminating its lime-green wall and exposed brick with warm, intimate lighting, Caña y Café's dining room invites toasts with glassfuls of sangria or house wine from a list that includes such traditional Spanish grape varietals as tempranillo, verdejo, and California raisin.
Behind a handsome stone façade, the chefs at Essence Bar & Restaurant are flavoring seafood with the taste of the tropics. Coconut pours into pasta sauce and plantains dapple sides of fried rice. The spirit of Caribbean cuisine comes alive through dishes of oxtail, which rest beside an amalgam of juicy burgers, southern staples, and old-fashioned soul food at this laid-back eatery, where a convivial atmosphere reins supreme. As diners peruse the varied menu, live performers, including musicians, standup comics, and celebrity sneeze impressionists, vocalize their talents.
Founded by popular musical duo Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, Ashford & Simpson's Sugar Bar infuses elegant meals with soulful tunes five nights per week. Inside the converted brownstone building, a small stage stands as the focal point of the intimate dining room, where rustic décor, exposed timber ceiling beams, and statues assembled from Lincoln Logs evoke images of an old country village. The glow of candlelight illuminates menus stocked with fried entrees and decadent desserts, and talented musicians inflate evening airs with R & B grooves, exotic Caribbean melodies, and traditional African rhythms. Trips to the Sugar Bar may also include celebrity sightings, as stars such as Bruce Willis, Stevie Wonder, and Eddie Murphy have previously graced the restaurant's booths and painstakingly autographed the silverware.
The staff at Chateau Buffalo strives to support local farmers, and they do so by using locally produced grapes in their red and white wines. They also produce craft ciders that come sparkling, cold, or warm. Those unsure of what they'd like to drink will find the Chateau's tastings, like a hair tie made of Twizzlers, are both tasty and helpful.
Black Button Distilling wasn't just born from the brilliant idea to craft homemade booze. It was born from the dirt. Dictated by the available grains, ingredients, and if the glass-bottle crop flourished, the spirits made onsite are distilled largely from locally sourced ingredients, including the corn that makes the unaged moonshine and the soft, white wheat grown on a family-owned farm. During tours, guests see how these raw ingredients are concocted into drinks, and sip samples, which may include the vodka, citrus forward gin, maple syrup that is aged in used bourbon barrels, and 100-proof moonshine. But don't be frightened of that high number?"even though it?s a high proof it?s really smooth," The Edge reviewed.
No matter what the calendar reads, it?s always October in spirit at Manor Oktoberfest, a German-style eatery that channels Munich?s lively fest of the same name. Owner Mark Gallagher serves Bavarian fare that ranges from traditional appetizers?including smoked black forest bacon and pierogies?to hearty entrees such as a variety of wursts and Hungarian schnitzel. It wouldn?t be Oktoberfest without a lot of beer, and the restaurant carries more than 30 varieties. Draught beers, including Hofbrau Original and Franziskaner Weissbier, come in half-liter or one-liter mugs, or in a two-liter boot if you?ve also lost one shoe.