At Biagio’s Ristorante, chef Jimmy Perides bakes individual pans of housemade lasagna and tosses imported and gluten-free pastas that earned the restaurant its Zagat rating. He puts his own mark on the menu with the steak ala chef, a new york sirloin steak crowned with cherry peppers, roasted garlic, and shitake mushrooms. Servers deliver wines from a selection of 50 handpicked bottles, which are often uncorked at seasonal tastings or splashed around at annual “wine fights.” The restaurant’s robust wine collection won it a 2010 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. A gurgling rock fountain stands at the entrance of the restaurant, welcoming patrons into the main dining area and adjacent wine room, and a flickering fireplace casts a warm glow over terracotta walls.
Inside the Garden State Plaza mall lies a gateway to the past, where flickering flames illuminate the charred interior of an oak-burning pizza oven, and the aroma of bubbling sauce made with freshly crushed tomatoes mixes with wisps of Frank Sinatra's silky voice. The charm that surrounds the rituals of Italian cooking drifts into Papa Razzi's dining room from an open-air kitchen, where cooks bustle around steaming pots of pasta. The culinarians use only fresh and imported ingredients when cooking, just as Old-World chefs did before they took jobs fixing the cleaver-wielding robots that would replace them.
Behind a wood-accented, 15-foot bar, mixologists sling a list of libations that includes mimosas, sangria, and wines selected to complement meals. In the dining room, fresh flowers sit atop white tablecloths, and celebrity photographs line the walls, reminding guests of treasured nuggets of pop culture.
At Dinallo's Restaurant, fresh meats and seafood sizzle atop pastas, and chefs bathe classic Italian dishes in white-wine sauce to craft a Zagat-rated menu. Pescetarians sink forks into fresh grilled salmon ($21) or savor the wine-slathered morsels of shrimp in the gamberoni al vino bianco ($25). The pollo parmigiana's pan-fried breaded chicken cutlet acts as a liaison between melty mozzarella, tomato sauce, and a bed of pasta ($18), and the veal scaloppine mingles with capers in lemon, butter, and white wine ($24). After the meal, patrons sip wine from the eatery's bar and indulge in homemade cannoli or a slice of carrot cake, dashed with nutmeg and walnuts, frosted with cream-cheese icing, and surrounded by a force that repels nearby cartoon rabbits.
Pizza Fusion delivers pies in hybrid vehicles, uses eco-friendly cleaning products, gives discounts for recycled pizza boxes, donates to environmental causes, and uses utensils made from potatoes. Its planned moon base will lack outdoor seating but will be 100% carbon neutral.
Between still life paintings hung on terracotta walls or in the shade of an awning, diners at Pasta e Pollo spear, twirl, and slice classic Italian entrees and pastas. True to its name, the eatery specializes in pasta and chicken. Specialty pasta dishes pair fettuccine with wild mushrooms and bacon, drench angel hair in veggie-laden pink sauce, and spangle linguine with red onions, capers, olives, and anchovies. Chicken breast is gussied up with combinations such as prosciutto, eggplant, and mozzarella. And because Pasta e Pollo is a BYOB restaurant, diners can bring their favorite wine from home or their favorite grape stomping coop.