Harvest Table specializes in fresh farmhouse fare that, according to the New York Times, “calls to mind a just-picked bounty.” Customers gather around the counter—a long table designed, built, and sanded by the father of owner Carissa Borraggine—adding to the restaurant’s homey feel. Behind the counter, Carissa's team crafts sandwiches, salads, and smoothies based on customers' create-your-own inventions or house recipes.
Sandwiches include a club with crisp bacon and house-roasted turkey stacked between three slices of eight-grain bread. Salad-wise, shrimp, grilled pineapple, and sesame-ginger dressing flavor the High Thai'd, whereas Cajun chicken and tangy mango dressing add kick to the Aztec. Fruit smoothies like the Peach Sunrise—a blend of peaches, strawberries, honey, and soymilk—act as healthy dessert options. Patrons can round out meals with Harvest Table's generous selection of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
The layout of Rio Rodizio is telling: with a candlelit dining area in one section and a long bar lined with flat screens in another, it's as much a place to take a date for a romantic meal as it is a spot to grab a drink after work. In the dining room, gaucho chefs carve cuts of lamb, beef, and pork right at the table, forcing diners to clear plate space next to seared fish, homemade pastas, and sushi rolls drizzled in flavorful sauce. Like a home that's been decorated by robbing a furniture store in the dark, the cocktail menu is a fusion of tastes, its Asian and Brazilian proclivities represented by sangrias, tropical juices, and sake.
Sweet Retreat Boutique's palate-popular bakers curb relentless sweet-tooth cravings with made-from-scratch cupcakes and whole cakes that have flaunted such flavors as red velvet, carrot, and pineapple cream cheese. The shop's imaginative cake designers work closely with clients to assemble custom cakes that commemorate special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, and the end of century-long thumb wars. Premade cakes in a variety of sizes come in round and square shapes, and proudly don top-shelf ingredients and layers of tasty frosting.
Along with importing Portugal's unique recipes to the shores of Newark, Sol-Mar Restaurant envelops patrons in an atmosphere that recalls a sidewalk café in Lisbon. Adorned with leafy foliage, murals, and terra-cotta awnings, the dining room features large, arched windows through which commedia dell'Arte archetypes can make their dramatic exits. To top the earth-toned tablecloths, a menu of authentic Iberian fare features dishes such as creamy clams casino, stuffed salmon with crabmeat, and grilled veal chops.
The intermingling aromas of paprika, saffron, cilantro, olive oil, and garlic in Casa Seabra's dining room provide olfactory proof of the eatery's commitment to savory Portuguese cooking. Those fragrant spices add depth of flavor to a wide array of seafood, which stars in everything from shellfish-laden paellas to tender octopus. But the chefs remove their scuba gear long enough to cook entrees from the land as well as the sea, rounding out the menu with grilled Angus steaks, oven-roasted racks of lamb, and homemade pork sausage. Bites pair with sips from Casa Seabra's carefully curated selection of Portuguese wines, including bottles that were specially produced just for the restaurant.
Vonda's Kitchen is the third restaurant venture for Chef Vonda McPherson who has taken on Southern BBQ and healthy cafeteria food. This time she tackles Southern comfort food from jambalaya and catfish to beef short ribs and shrimp and grits. At her kitchen, breakfast dishes, such as french toast and chicken and waffles, are served all day long instead of bursting into flames at the stroke of noon. She also serves up collard greens, black eye peas, and oxtails over rice and beans with glasses of sweet tea and flavored lemonade to wash it all down.