With a space designed for casual mingling alongside a menu more suited for white tablecloths and expensive cutlery, Tinto Tapas Bar chef and owner Carlos Hernandez has created an eatery that is both upscale and unrefined. Guests lounge at tables amid vibrant hues of red and yellow as servers ferry out small, shareable plates of mushroom risotto with truffle oil and manchego, piquillo peppers stuffed with duck confit, and boneless Black Angus short ribs in a beer and rioja-wine reduction. Private parties mingle and celebrate in private rooms capable of accommodating up to 150 guests, and regular special events highlight rich Spanish wines, savory paella, and other authentic flavors.
The Kiriakidis family arrived in the United States carrying more than their luggage. They also packed some true Old World values: a love of good food and family. Much of their lives was spent working in kitchens, and it became something of a dream to one day open their own eatery. It took time and effort, but under the urging of patriarch Theodoros, the octet of siblings came together to found Pontos Taverna.
The family now spends their days making the same food they grew up with, chatting boisterously with one another as they stuff marinated beef with saganaki cheese or grill octopus to tender perfection. Theodoros—or Teddy, as many call him—serves as the head chef, whipping up his signature dessert of cinnamon-infused rice pudding that serves as a cinematic end to any meal, like a plate engraved with the kitchen staff’s names in movie-style credits. How good is the family’s culinary work? The New York Times gave it high praise in a review from December 2012, stating “The… word—triumph—could be used, over all, for Pontos, a great place to go for a family-style Greek ‘fix,’ and a budget fix as well.”
Chef Kausik Roy took time to study American diners—namely the way they react to Indian cuisine—before establishing his menu at Aladin Indian Bistro. So, while he still embraces the flavors, aroma, and even spiciness of traditional Indian cuisine, Roy bends his recipes to the health-conscious palates of his bistro clientele. After collecting locally sourced produce and meat, the culinary expert creates colorful dishes such as seafood entrees and kebabs. He even makes his fluffy naan in-house to ensure it's soft enough to stop a pogo stick at the bottom of its first bounce. Beyond sourcing decisions, Chef Roy looks out for his patrons by preparing a handful of gluten-free dishes, wraps, and salads served during lunch and dinner.
At Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant, everything from the cheese-infused guacamole whipped up tableside to the tender charbroiled carne asada is made from scratch every day. Each dish draws on three generations of family recipes perfected by cofounders Jose and Sergio in 25 years of combined culinary experience. The extensive menu pairs dozens of Mexican staples with more than 20 flavors of margarita, including jalapeño lime, mango, and cucumber, and recent renovations have updated Los Cabos’s interior to include an in-house tortilla station and an expanded bar area capable of hosting the entire Vienna Boys Choir
In Paella Tapas Wine Bar & Restaurant's wine cellar, servers uncork bottle after bottle and cover plates in an array of Spanish-style tapas. Aside from the cellar—which can accommodate parties of up to 30 people—the restaurant also includes a wine bar and regular dining room. Patrons in all areas can share tapas such as of sautéed Prince Edward Island mussels or grilled tenderloin-tip kebabs, which come served with bell peppers and peppercorn sauce.
BJ Ryan's dishes out hearty entrees and effervescent brews in an industrial-chic atmosphere. Diners slide into banquettes or dark wooden chairs and tuck into steak sandwiches inspired by New York and Philadelphia or cuts and chops lavished with sauces from chimichurri to béarnaise. Pizzas on white or whole-wheat crusts embrace decadent toppings such as truffle oil or gruyere cheese, and plates of geometric ravioli complement the dining room's rustic exposed-brick walls hung with large plasma televisions. Carved wood encircles the bar, whose inlaid mirrors reflect golden pints of house brews and the haunting stares of bottled spirits. BJ Ryan's also crafts platters of small bites, wings, and pizzas for special events.
When Ernst Turnier and his son, the appropriately named Ernst Turnier, Jr., set out to open a restaurant, they had several transformations in mind. The first and most obvious was converting the space of a former convenience store into a cozy cafe, a process which, according The Hour, required over a year of hard work and a thorough UN inspection for weapons-grade Slurpee. With that mission accomplished, they turned to transformation number two: the spicing up of American deli food with traditional Haitian and Caribbean flavors.
Avocado with salt and pepper dress up the buttered sub bread of the Caribbean avocado veggie sandwich, while flank steak, bacon, and mozzarella fill Khay's Cheesesteak. The tropical influence continues at dinner, when plates of piping hot red snapper, grilled shrimp, and pasta sail out of the kitchen seasoned with a hint of Haitian spice. But the father-son duo don't only serve their cuisine inside the quaint dining room. As recently profiled by The Hour, the younger Turnier takes Friday trips to the food pantry at St. Philip's Church, where he arrives toting fresh-baked goods and other treats from the café.