Gennaro’s Ristorante has managed to stay open for nearly 30 years not only because of its menu of Italian pastas and grilled meats, but also because of its dedication to Italian-style hospitality. When guests first enter the eatery, they head to the sitting room—a cozy area with marble flooring where they can sit beside a roaring fire and sip Italian wines and creative cocktails from the bar.
They then head into the dining room for a night of devouring meticulously prepared entrees, such as pork medallions with a green-peppercorn-and-cognac sauce, or tagliolini pasta with squid, shrimp, and mussels. The inclusive restaurant caters to all types, offering a vegan menu and gluten-free options. While patrons eat, performers soothe the ears with classical piano or guitar music or gentle earlobe rubs.
Like its grownup sister location—Polentoni—Piccolo Polentoni offers refined versions of Old World Italian cuisine. The chefs keep the flavors familiar by importing prosciutto from Italy, hand-rolling meatballs, and making every strand of fettuccine in-house. Likewise, pizzas feature classic toppings such as basil, grilled vegetables, and pepperoni tinged with red chili pepper. Some dishes, such as polenta in meaty bolognese sauce, are a tad more complex, combining northern and southern Italian influences onto one plate. The wine list shows a similar appreciation for Italy's culinary imports and features bottles from Piemonte and Puglia.
An ascending ribbon of exposed brickwork runs along one dining room wall to the next, providing a rustic touch in the softly lit space. Metallic sconces adorn the walls beside each booth, which surround tables lit by flickering candles.
In 1984, Greg and Rose Tcholakian decided that, in order to truly share their traditional Middle Eastern eats with the world, a bigger kitchen was in order. That led them to open Carousel Restaurant in an intimate storefront. In 1998, they passed the business to their son, Mike, who expanded upon his parents' growing legacy by moving to a larger location, where he could incorporate more of his family’s culture into every detail. He enhanced the eatery's decor with traditional artwork and decorative scimitars, and put together a live band to back up a large belly-dancing troupe on Fridays and Saturdays. Over the years, Mike has also added to the menu, which now includes more than 50 appetizers in addition to his parents' signature kebabs and pilafs. Today he still helms the business, steering it toward its 30th anniversary and millionth belly shaken as his guests continue to come nightly for a taste of his family’s food and culture.
Sedthee welcomes diners with a warm atmosphere and gracious hospitality. The menu is packed with traditional Thai cuisine, including stir-fried dishes, hearty curries, and delicately flavored desserts. Start a gustatory voyage with the prosperous baby––baby back ribs in Thai herbs and flash fried for a texture bonus ($8.95)––before delving deeper into the dark heart of flavor with the Jungle Feast, which bathes crispy duck (or vegan soy duck) in a tub of sweet pineapple, grapes, and a spicy coconut-milk forest curry made with freshly-ground spices ($13.95). Sedthee's specialty spicy lamb chops come grass-fed from New Zealand to get a marinated coat of Thai spices ($15.95), and Devil's fried rice, which comes with a choice of chicken, beef, pork, or tofu ($7.95), and the creamy medium spice of the Panang curry, made with fresh, hand-juiced coconut milk (starting at $7.95), can please traditionalist palates. A dessert order of taro custard cake à la mode ($5.95) places the sweet end cap on top of the dinner pipe.
Rustic brick walls and a wine bar accent Lola's red, low-lit dining room, where candles illuminate the vivid oranges, purples, and greens of Peruvian cuisine arranged on crisp white ceramic plates. Libations culled from the bar's sprawling wine racks complement ceviche, sautéed Quechua vocabulary, and fried yucca.:m]]
Cafe Bravo edifies flavor-craving tongues with an expansive menu of sophisticated tastes served up in a casual dining atmosphere. Adventurous eaters can tour the deserts of the Middle East without succumbing to dehydration or endlessly chasing mirage camel caravans with a selection of succulent shish kebab plates, including chicken, beef, lamb, and pork, paired up with charbroiled vegetables and pita bread ($6.50–$8.50). Hug meaty delights in an embrace of fresh Armenian bread with a kebab sandwich, a choice piece of skewer candy smothered in cilantro, tomatoes, and a drizzle garlic sauce ($4.75–$6). Herbivores and brontosauruses lost in time can mash a smattering of vegetarian delicacies between their molars, including a veggie kebab ($6) or a falafel wrap ($5).