Peony Chinese Restaurant prides itself not only on its authentic Chinese feasts of shredded pork, spicy eggplant, and chicken in savory sauce, but its commitment to health. Chefs whip up meals with fresh veggies and light oils, cooking at high heat to lock in flavor while preserving nutrients, vitamins, and superpowers, and they even cook MSG-free meals on request. Guests savor house specialties of shredded roast duck with scallions or fillet of sole with fried tofu, or they sink their teeth into lunches of twice-cooked pork and spicy kung pao chicken. Soothing, salmon-colored walls surround a 50-seat dining area bedecked with dark-hardwood booths and framed portraits of the gorgeous peony flower that gives the restaurant its name.
As guests pass under Lewis' Restaurant and Grille's festive blue marquee, they enter an inviting world of Americana, with a bar that has been in place for generations and a kitchen offering up the appetizing aroma of freshly baked pizzas and Angus beef burgers. Guests share plates of buttermilk pancakes and eggs benedict during Sunday brunches and savor the tastes of inventive burgers and sandwiches, such as caprese-salad burgers or chicken-pesto sandwiches drizzled with balsamic reduction, all week long. Upscale haddock and salmon entrees satisfy refined palates, and a spread of bar food pleases crowds with chicken-finger baskets, tots, and tuna melts.
Though it has welcomed in families and bar regulars for decades, Lewis' has recently updated its interior with new bamboo flooring in the dining room and crisp dollar bills in the bar's cash register. Patrons regularly join in special events hosted by the bar, such as Tuesday-night trivia, where first-placers win a cash prize.
Chef Paul Mancuso, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University's culinary college, curates the restaurant's menu of authentic northern and southern Italian cuisine. An appetizer of arancini, which stitches together English peas, buffalo mozzarella, and ground beef in a fried risotto cake covered in marinara sauce, cordially welcomes palates and their owners to the quaint eatery ($9).
Founded by a pair of Greek natives, The Feisty Greek dishes up classic Mediterranean cuisine amid a casual, colorful ambiance. Combo meals star the eatery's fleet of burgers and wraps, such as the authentic pork gyro, a tzatziki-flooded amalgam of tomato, onion, and hand-cut french fries. The Feisty burger cloaks a hand-sculpted patty in a spicy feta spread, and the middle-eastern wrap encloses its eponymous region's traditional falafel, tabbouleh, and hummus. Palates chill with cold sides such as melitzanosalata, a puréed-eggplant-and-olive-oil concoction, and hot fasolakia, a bouquet of sautéed string beans, can accessorize portable volcanoes. At meal’s end, the Greek-style rice pudding, rizogalo, assuages lingering sweet cravings. In the corner of The Feisty Greek's dining room, a flat-screen TV often glows with movies, while red, yellow, and blue walls bolster diners' knowledge of primary colors more easily than spending the night inside a prism.
Rather than limit themselves to one particular style, the chefs at BonCaldo Restaurant embrace culinary techniques from all 20 regions of Italy. Braised short ribs with creamy polenta, homemade fettuccine in a beef and veal ragu, and brick-oven-baked pizzas represent traditions that span from the calf to the toe of the boot-like peninsula. Even with all of this variation, certain standards remain sacrosanct. The chefs adhere to Old World traditions by wood-firing their dishes and making everything by hand, from mozzarella to meatballs—earning the approval of Phantom Gourmet. A wine list with more than 250 different bottles accompanies the cuisine, many hailing from Italy's vineyards and natural grape-juice springs.
The grand, mansion-like exterior of BonCaldo Restaurant perfectly complements its elegant ambiance. A distinctly Italian mural adorns one wall, adding a vibrant splash of color to the rustic woodwork and tables draped with crisp white linens. Surrounded by tables on all four sides, an open stone fireplace forms a focal point for the dining area even as it spreads warmth to all corners of the room.