The Comfort Diner, which moved to Staten Island after 14 years in Manhattan, dresses up the traditional diner experience with classic comfort eats and modern-day hearty fare. Keep your growling stomach from frightening friendly ghosts by stuffing it with wild mushroom potato pancakes ($6.95), or start your chew cruise with mozzarella wedges ($6.95), which combine the food world’s most delicious cheese with the geometry world’s most delicious shape. The taco salad ($10.95) gives Mexico’s best-known culinary contribution a fork-friendly format, and oven-crisped fish and chips ($14.95) provide all of the flavor of the British classic without the sizzle of the deep fryer or the voyeuristic glare of Big Ben. Bread-heads can wrap their food-gripping phalanges around an array of sandwiches, such as a grilled chicken club ($8.95) or a Maine crab burger ($13.95), while proteiny-boppers can swoon over double-thick pork chops with homemade applesauce ($14.95). For herbivores, Comfort Diner slings savory angel-hair pasta with white-wine sauce ($10.95) and big bowls of veggie chili ($9.95). Breakfast and brunch options also satisfy early risers or late-to-bedders.
The name of Cervantes of Spain honors the author of the 17th-century novel Don Quixote, considered to be one of Spain’s finest writers. The traditions of the Iberian Peninsula are held in high regard throughout the eatery, where flamenco dancers whirl billowing skirts in paintings above Spanish Renaissance–style furniture. At those tables, conversation swells around tapas such as spanish chorizo sautéed in sherry. The heat of traditional, fire-blackened pans continues to cook lobster, scallops, and sausage with saffron rice in Valencia-style paella. Live flamenco and jazz musicians fill the space with the complex rhythms of a tap dancer in a bubble-wrap factory, and open-pit pig roasts fill the outdoor patio with succulent aromas. Glasses clink together, letting the bouquets of Spanish wines blend and slices of fruit drift slowly down through six types of sangria.
With its sloped roof and grand clock tower, Orale Mexican Bistro's facade doesn't fit the bill for a typical Mexican restaurant. But beyond its front doors, chefs cook open-faced chipotle shrimp quesadillas by the heat of a wood-fired brick oven, and they stuff tacos with slow-cooked carnitas. Servers shuttle these south of the border entrees to candlelit tables in the dining room or to an outdoor patio perched beneath the clock tower, which transforms back into a lowly wristwatch at the stroke of midnight. On select evenings, DJs spin house and latinbeat tunes while patrons enjoy specials on margaritas and mixed drinks.
The chefs at Isabella's American Bistro like to put their ingredients through their paces. French onion soup comes in its traditional form topped with garlic croutons, but it also pops up in dumplings oozing with gruyere, asiago, and Monterey cheeses. Braised beef short ribs star in an entree and melt into wild mushrooms and asiago cheese in a quesadilla, and crispy bacon both tops a bleu-cheese burger and fills a stuffed meatloaf. Their playful approach creates a broadly appealing menu that’s still unified by common flavors.
Isabella’s storefront perch in the heart of Westfield beckons neighborhood regulars and visiting shoppers alike to wander in between the baskets of flowers that flank the doors. They take a seat amid décor of brass, dark wood French doors, and mustard-yellow paint that puts the emphasis on the “bistro” part of the café’s name as they dig into horseradish-crusted salmon and juicy but still fashionable skirt steaks.
When Kevin Brennan bought his first vinyl at the age of 7, he dreamed of a future that would somehow revolve around rock 'n' roll. Brennan's entrepreneurial spirit led him on a quest for the next "big thing" as an adult, and he dabbled in various ventures before having an epiphany while traveling in 1989. He was in San Diego, and he visited his first coffeehouse.
Kevin fell in love with the simple coffeehouse concept and had a feeling that gourmet coffee shops would soon become a craze across the nation. He instantly knew that he had found his calling, but it wasn't until he sipped coffee while watching an Asia concert that he knew what would set his establishment apart from the rest: rock 'n' roll.
Today, his trio of shops showcases the marriage of a laid-back coffee-shop vibe with rock music and memorabilia, creating a caffeinated love child in a Led Zeppelin onesie. Each location also features rock-inspired drinks, such as the Van Halen and the Dark Side of the Moo, joined by sandwiches and salads prepared fresh daily.