Recommended by Michelin 2012 and voted the #2 burger creators in New York by Zagat 2011, the patty pros at Bareburger elevate dining by employing earth- and community-friendly practices. Six-ounce organic morsels of bun cargo, such as beef, ostrich, elk, and lamb, are free-range, grass-fed, and bereft of hormones and antibiotics. Bourbon-sautéed mushrooms and blackened maple bacon fresh off the tree top the Big Blue Bacon decked out in apple-smoked onions, apple chutney, and melting crumbles of Danish blue cheese ($11.95). The team recommends an elk patty for the Jalapeño Express, a burger of raw red onion and pepper jack revved up with chipotle ketchup, horseradish mayo, and jalapeño relish ($10.25). Apple-smoked onions, blue cheese, and baby spinach top the portabella sandwich ($9.95), and cilantro-lime dressing paints a Mexican salad of tortilla chips, pepper jack cheese, and avocados.
Inside the kitchen of TriniSoul, students get the opportunity to face down the scotch bonnet—a lantern-shaped pepper that smolders with 50 times more heat than a jalapeño. The heavy-duty pepper is just one of the extraordinary ingredients introduced to students by Chef D, a Caribbean native who holds court during cooking classes that center around the recipes she grew up enjoying. Her foray into culinary instruction started as a few simple classes on the cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago, but her teaching style developed a rabid following, and Chef D's curriculum has grown to cover many types of Caribbean cuisine as well as American-style soul fare. More than 6,000 students have enrolled in Chef D's classes, which can accommodate groups of up to 24 in TriniSoul's kitchen as well as private instruction in one's own kitchen or properly equipped subway car.
Born in Eastern Europe near the Italian border, executive chef Mario Curko has an innate rapport with Mediterranean flavors, one that he's honed throughout his four decades in the restaurant business. His menu for the occasional celeb hangout Destino stays true to homestyle southern Italian cuisine, although the restaurant's environs are far from rustic—a Renaissance-style ceiling mural looks down over minority owner Justin Timberlake's piano and quilted banquettes, wooing diners with its vibrant colors achieved by layers of garlic-scented oil paint.
Atop white tablecloths, appetizers such as sautéed mussels and housemade meatballs rest in simple, elegant preparations. Mussels, clams, shrimp, and fresh fish of the day all catch themselves in the frutti de mare's net, offering a hearty complement to turfy plates of new york strip steak.
Destino's wine list rambles from California whites through dozens of regional Italian reds. The dessert menu shines a spotlight on four flavors of housemade gelato, molten chocolate cake, and traditional tiramisu.
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.
Members of the Grinnell family have been preparing enticing American entrees and savory seafood dishes at their eponymous eatery for fifty years. Diners can prime palates with starters such as tender artichoke hearts sautéed in a light egg batter ($8.95) or light entrées such as the broiled chicken-breast salad festooned with black olives and a hard-boiled egg ($13.95). Those with heartier appetites can dive into freshly plucked fruits of the sea including broiled scallops ($19.95) and Australian lobster tails sporting light jackets of paprika butter (market price). On weekends, Grinnell’s serves up 12 juicy ounces of certified-Angus prime rib ($22.95), and Tuesdays showcase tender calf’s liver garnished with onions or bacon strips ($17.25). Linen tablecloths, flickering candlelight, and top-hatted ficus trees add a subtle elegance to the restaurant's array of artfully plated dishes.
Mumbai Spices introduces diners to the diverse and spice-filled cuisine of India's largest city, serving up colorful feasts of basmati rice, creamy smoothies, and zesty curries. Guests sample the finest foods of the subcontinent with plates of savory tandoori-roasted meats, roti flatbreads, or bowls of pav bhaji—a buttery vegetable stew served with fluffy rolls that's a popular street food in Mumbai.