The smells don't match the scenery at Market Café. With a modest exterior and a formica-tinged, art-deco theme on the inside, the venue seems like a traditional diner. Yet the aromas sneaking from the kitchen bely a more complex story—one of daily-made flatbread dough, pork burgers stuffed with cilantro, and sautéed tiger shrimp. These are but a few of the protagonists on a continental menu of made-from-scratch plates. The café's stress on in-house prep and signature touches—such as the loin-of-pork sandwich's housemade butter pickles—defies its unassuming design, offering what New York magazine calls "culinary salvation" from the area's standard eateries.
In addition to prioritizing housemade fare, Market Café caters to dietary restrictions. Its gluten-free menus draw from many mainstay listings for brunch, lunch, and dinner, and diners can also sub gluten-free noodles and buns into regular pasta or burger dishes. Much of the café's press homes in on its generous desserts—specifically the chocolate cake, a three-layered slice big enough to split between several people or act as a doorstop until someone gets hungry. The decadent confection pairs well with offerings from the fully stocked bar. Fresh blueberry purée and lime juice mix with gin in the blueberry gimlet, and the Dirty Goose—Grey Goose vodka, vermouth, and prosciutto-stuffed olives—preserves an avian motif that began with dinner's grilled quail served in a red-wine reduction.
Imbued with “flavor that only fall ocean brings,” according to The New York Times, Red Hook Lobster Pound’s rolls taste authentic because the meat is deployed fresh from Maine within hours of being plucked from the ocean. Chefs glaze lobster with just enough homemade mayo before scooping it into a toasted bun. Schedule.
In 2011, the Michelin Guide recommended Vareli for its upscale and creative Mediterranean fare, crafted by chef and Gramercy Tavern veteran Amitzur Mor. Chef Mor uses sustainable and organic ingredients whenever possible to inform Vareli’s ever-shifting local menu, which has featured such rich meats as Hudson-Valley duck and Pennsylvania lamb. Resident sommelier Richard Bill draws from his experience at Beacon and Ouest to complement each succulent entree with a wine list of 20 wines by the glass and 100 wines by the bottle. From Thursday to Saturday, Vareli’s kitchens remain open until 2 a.m., so patrons can sip vino and draft beer or rouse sleepwalking roommates with wafts from cheese and charcuterie boards late into the night.
On the ground floor of Vareli, a polished copper bar runs for 20 feet below a rustic arched ceiling, as wide stools belly up to the bar and to barrel-shaped plates. In the upstairs dining room, wide windows look out on treetops and burnished walls support velvety banquettes and lantern sconces. During the summer, couples close in on an intimate outdoor patio for fresh air from nearby Central Park, while colder days invite diners to gather around a cracking fireplace that the New York Times lauds for creating a cozy atmosphere.
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere.
Today, the company reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night at the Buffalo location, locally owned and operated by Jim and Virginia Materese, groups of foodies gather around tables to dunk warm hunks of bread in gooey cheese, delectable steaks and seafood in sizzling oil, and sweet fruits and desserts into chocolate swirled with peanut butter. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, splitting four-course meals that include cheese fondue, salad, entree, and dessert.
The Original Crab Shack hauls in fresh fish, crab, lobster, shrimp, and clams every day from the ports of Boston Harbor, often getting the seafood in less than 12 hours after it comes off the boats. In the kitchen, cooks transform the catches into seafood through the power of steam or a fryer, filling pots with clams and lobster or baskets with tender fried shrimp and clam strips. Behind their full bar, which is decorated with fairy lights and nautical décor such as anchors, cheery bartenders pour beers or wine and mix specialty cocktails. Light blue walls, punctuated with Cape Cod–style windows, surround the interior of Crab Shack, which is filled with small tables as well as two 10-seater farm tables in the center of the room.
Route 100 Wine Bar & Grill's seasoned flame wielders compose a menu brimming with salads, burgers, and hearty entrees, and friendly servers furnish chalices with aged sippables from an expansive wine list. Kick things off with a starter, such as a batch of sauce-soused chicken wings ($7.50), or lightly fried spring rolls ($8.50) before bolstering mastication muscles with a kobe-beef burger ($15), which can be dressed to the nines in up to five cheeses, sautéed onions, mushrooms, or bacon ($1.50 each). The chicken mediterranean ($18.50) shines the spotlight on simmered morsels of poultry swapping kitchen gossip with artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and gaeta olives beneath a canopy of a white-wine sauce. Chefs utilize their years of cooking experience to craft the Route 100 jambalaya ($20), a seafood menagerie of shrimp, clams, and calamari floating with julienne vegetables in a light tomato broth. Grilled and sautéed entrees also populate the eatery's lunch menu, including the spicy Cajun-chicken linguini ($13), tender skirt steak ($18), and chicken parmigiana ($13).