The culinary artists at The Rail House 1449 draw customers into their restaurant, housed in a renovated 18th-century home, with a menu of fresh fish and seafood, homemade pastas, steaks, and poultry. Elegant eaters can nibble on the sweet-corn arepa, a yellow corn cake topped with gruyere, queso blanco, goat cheese, roasted-pepper-tomato relish, and baby greens newly weaned off broccoli pacifiers ($9).
Sconces cast a soft glow on dinner tables draped in white linen. Green glass tiles glint in the light of fluted hanging lamps. Tea candles flicker next to plush, low lounge seating. The lighting inside Cubanu creates a romantic atmosphere before dates even dig into its menu of American-influenced Cuban dishes, such as empanadas stuffed with goat cheese and spinach. Patrons can also clink glasses of signature house-made sangria, or cap off long nights of filing joint tax returns by munching on late-night tapas dishes served on Friday and Saturday.
Under the warm glow of crystal chandeliers in Ill Amici Ristorante’s elegant dining room, the Lavorato family adorns tabletops with expertly prepared fare from the northern and southern regions of Italy and ambrosial vino from an extensive wine list. Owner and executive chef Giovanni Lavorato began his culinary training in Italy at the age of 14, has cooked all over Europe and North America, and has racked up numerous awards, including Man of the Year in 1995 by Il Ponte Italo-Americano international cultural magazine. The recently renovated dining room charms patrons with classy Old-World decor and a deficiency of singing moose heads, and the Venetian-style lounge and spacious banquet hall provide accommodations for sophisticated revelry.
A staple in college towns, Cluck-U Chicken feeds poultry fans across the land with zesty chicken dishes, including the signature Wingers, more than one billion of which have been sold since the restaurant opened in 1985. Chefs also serve up tasty fare such as chicken sandwiches, burgers, wraps, and chicken-breast bites. Cluck-U fare is available for dine-in, takeout, or delivery, making it an ideal choice for game days or a blind date with a chicken farmer.
Chevys serves up Mexican fare in Texas-size portions, with salsa and tortillas made from scratch daily. Begin by ordering a bowl of guacamole to witness a server capture, skin, and gut a live avocado right at your table before hand-mashing it into fresh guacamole. From there, let your taste buds tango across tender tamales wrapped by hand each morning, or play mad scientist and suture together an electrified monster plate from enchiladas, tacos, grilled chili rellenos, tamales, and chimichangas ($10.29 for any two, $11.99 for any three, $12.99 for any four). Seafarers, meanwhile, will want to try the grilled fish tacos—a mélange of grilled fish, chipotle aioli, lettuce, and pico de gallo, warmly embraced by the floury flaps of El Machino tortillas and topped with a sprinkling of crumbled cotija cheese ($10.99). To keep the hot peppers and piquant salsas from singing the sinuses, douse your mouth-flames periodically with drinks such as the Kraken fruit punch, black spiced rum coupled with spicy mango and orange juice ($8.75), or the Blue Agave margarita, a mixture of El Mayor Reposado tequila and blue Curacao ($6.75 regular, $11.50 grande).
Napoli Pizza & Pasta, a recent addition to Linden’s restaurant roster, houses a team of cooks who craft traditional Italian eats, including pizzas, pastas, and specialty sandwiches. The quaint Italian bistro cultivates a relaxed ambience with linen-clad tables and dim lighting, making it an ideal place for an intimate family gathering or a romantic spaghetti-slurping contest.