Inside the kitchen at Riverside Manor is a staff that knows how to bring the best out of their Atlantic-harvested ingredients and Italian cooking methods. Fresh, homemade pastas envelop pumpkin ravioli and serve as pillows for shrimp and scallops. Filet mignon tops bruschetta or stars in an entr?e of its own. And eight brick-oven pizzas come strewn with four cheeses, spinach and feta, or crispy buffalo chicken. And to accommodate as many patrons as possible, the cooks prepare a whole-wheat penne primavera along with an entire menu of gluten-free dishes.
But perhaps it?s the building itself that best represents an elegant fusing of old and new. On the site of what was once a 19th-century silk mill, the doors now open into a scene that could fool you into thinking you just passed through a wormhole to Tuscany. Along with hand-carved wooden furnishings and ornamental ironwork, brick archways and painted trompe l?oeils bring a playfulness to the space, which doubles as a frequent host for weddings and other special events.
Operated by veteran restaurateur Peter Sideris (who has worked at New York's Smith & Wollensky), Hamilton & Ward Steakhouse serves meticulously prepared cuisine with world-class Kobe beef, prime beef that been dry-aged for a minimum of 28 days, and high-quality seafoods. Hamilton & Ward's dinner menu is loaded with several scrumptious cuts, from its signature 48-ounce porterhouse for two ($79) to the 32-ounce Flintstone ($54), a bone-in rib eye that'll stimulate Stone Age–era taste buds and tip over most foot-powered cars. Disguised bears, meanwhile, can hunch into their trench coats and break into a few fresh Maine lobsters (market price) or savor the restaurant's grilled Atlantic salmon ($25). Keep first-date conversations lubricated with any of the 400 wines in Hamilton & Ward's exquisite Mediterranean wine cellar, or guarantee a second with a glamorous glass of Louis XIII Black Pearl cognac, the only liquor to have been elected president of a Micronesian island.
El Salvador?born chef Ricardo Cardona got his start busing tables in New York's East Village at just 15. This experience, combined with his Latin roots, inspired Cardona to create an inventive cuisine that melds time-honored Latin recipes with contemporary American, Italian, and Japanese influences. The result is a menu that features such items as lobster-topped Spanish pizza, fried beef and chicharr?n sushi, and chicken breast stuffed with Dominican sausage.
In the bar area, patrons perched on overstuffed sofas surrounded by orchids sip signature cocktails such as the Anacaona, a sweet mingling of cherry vodka, simple syrup, and passionfruit juice. The space pulsates with live music on Friday nights, and on Sundays, diners can indulge in two hours of Caribbean brunch buffet food and bottomless mimosa and punch drinks.
Ranchero Cantina's name suggests a Mexican restaurant, but it's not exactly that. It's more of a Tex-Mex joint, one that serves both Texas-ranch-style eats and cantina-style Mexican grub. Those looking for a bit of Texas can dig into thick-cut cowboy rib eyes, kissed by a flame and served with a side of horseradish sauce, or devour Texas barbecue smoked in house and flavored with housemade rubs and barbecue sauce.
For authentic Mexican food, the culinary team mashes up fresh guacamole studded with diced jalape?os, stuffs tacos with pineapple-braised pork shoulder, and saut?s jumbo gulf shrimp with chorizo. The bar pours shots of tequila, margaritas, and red and white sangria.
Tropical Juice Bar's menu places the emphasis on healthy, nonprocessed foods, but never at the expense of flavor. Dishes such the Cuban sandwich and the mofongo with garlicky plantains and fried pork skin showcase the essence of the tropics. Ditto on the empanadas, their crispy shells concealing pockets of chicken, beef, or cheese that bulge like the eyes of a surprised cartoon character. And then there are the drinks?juices and smoothies made from 100% freshly squeezed fruits, including passion fruit, tamarind, and orange.
The smoke pit stays busy at Haledon BBQ and Tap House, where guests come to enjoy barbecue combos such as the pork spare rib and beef short rib platter. But the restaurant has a second specialty you might not guess: seafood. Smoked whole red fish emerges from the smoke pit next to the chicken and ribs, and chefs also prepare dinners of tilapia and Portuguese clams. Guests can enjoy their meals at tables or at a rustic bar where TVs play sports and bartenders pour draft beer and house-made sangria.