There is no freezer in the kitchen at Pearl Restaurant. Instead, chefs leave the eatery each morning to purchase ingredients from local farms and markets. That means that by the time the afternoon sun hits the shop, there is a new menu incorporating shark steaks, butternut squash, Maine crab, watermelon, and whatever else happens to be fresh. Using those seasonal ingredients and housemade pastas, chefs come up with unique dishes bound for the softly lit dining room. Past menu items have included a pear-and-goat-cheese salad, pan-roasted Boston cod, and slow-braised boneless short ribs with parmesan risotto. To eliminate the time and space between the cooking process and the diner, chefs also carefully craft most desserts right next to tables using fresh fruit and recently snared chocolate rabbits.
Though Le Bon Choix's core is that of a traditional French rotisserie and café, it also draws on the quintessential flavors of the American South and uses produce from New Jersey farms whenever possible. This blending of cultures is best tasted in its signature dish: local, sustainable rotisserie chicken, served golden brown in whole, half, or pulled portions. Each serving is accompanied by steaming sides of butternut squash and potatoes au gratin spooned directly from the outstretched hands of a friendly maitre d'. Rotisserie chicken is also the main ingredient in many of the sandwiches, such as the LBC, which comes topped with apple and gruyere and drizzled with ginger-peanut sauce. To add to the eatery's transatlantic feel, a coffee bar blends European-style espresso drinks and brews coffee.
With five locations—spanning Brooklyn, Queens, and Deer Park—the restaurant and juice bar fuels patrons with a health-conscious selection of dishes and drinks that are low in both fat and cholesterol. Cooks never fry or cook anything in oil, including the lean burgers, which arrive on wheat pitas or 100-calorie buns. The menu also features a number of fruity or creamy beverages that keep patrons’ health in mind, including the café mocha made with coffee, fat-free chocolate, and skim milk.
The chefs at Chok-Dee Thai craft an array of Thai and Asian dishes—from sautéed sweet and sour chicken to fiery green curry infused with hot pepper and basil. Pineapple and tamarind juice add a bright dose of citrus to the tamarind duck curry, and lemon grass freshens the grilled pork chops. The decor reflects the fresh, lively ingredients with verdant plants, marigold yellow walls, and images of a peaceful river hanging in the dining room instead of just the chefs' vision boards.
Tabboule welcomes visitors to enjoy a fragrant and colorful spread of Middle Eastern eats, with familiar dips such as hummus and baba ghannouj leading into entrees of chicken shawarma and spiced Armenian sausages. Dancers twist and turn as diners munch on kabobs and sautéed eggplant, recreating the atmosphere of the faraway Levant without dusting the restaurant floor with dirt from ancient Phoenicia.
For Darrin Miles, co-owner of Buffalo's Chicken Shack, barbecuing began as a hobby. Using seasonings, sauces, and rubs learned from his mother, he grilled, smoked, and deep-fried meats for his coworkers and friends during cookouts. But his occasional culinary endeavors soon became a passion. First, he built a brick and mortar smoker in his backyard. When his dreams grew beyond his fence and swimming pool of Sweet Baby Ray’s, Darrin opened Buffalo's Chicken Shack with his wife, Tiffany.
The restaurant now serves up a full menu of southern-inspired dishes, all of which earned the approval of Darrin's assembled focus group of friends and local foodies. Popular items include jumbo buffalo wings, slabs of ribs, and fried chicken, which pairs well with warm buttermilk waffles and home-style sides such as cornbread, sweet potato fries, and macaroni and cheese. Buffalo’s Chicken Shack challenges diners’ appetites for these comfort dishes during annual eating contests: in 2012, Jamie “The Bear” McDonald became the newest Buffalo King after consuming 53 spicy wings in seven minutes without belching cartoon flames.