Chef and owner Maurice Gallo brings more than 30 years of experience to Carnevale Ristorante, where dishes flourish with classic flavors culled from the gustatory traditions of both northern and southern Italy. Glass art and décor inspired by the colorful Carnival of Venice surround white tablecloths that cover the tables under which hide the best hide-and-go-seek players from Florence. Local New Jersey wines join customer-toted libations in the BYOB eatery, where live music sprinkles freshly harvested, mellifluous notes onto forks every weekend. Gourmet dishes, such as veal in cognac sauce and truffle-oil-drizzled mushrooms and brie, team up with gluten-free and whole-wheat pasta options to please even persnickety palates.
Persimmon-hued umbrellas line Hudson Water Club’s outdoor patio, where visitors dine along the picturesque Hudson River. In the kitchen, executive chef Michael Dobias tailors his lunch and dinner menus to the season’s fresh produce, adding Italian flair to dishes ranging from almond-crusted tilapia to wild mushroom gnocchi. An Italian-built wood-fired oven cooks pizzas in three minutes or less at temperatures over 800 degrees, creating lightly-charred pies topped with house-made tomato sauce, thin slices of prosciutto, and mozzarella.
Guests can also admire the river views from the indoor dining room, where floor-to-ceiling windows offer river views. During the weekend, you could catch a musical performance over from local DJs, bands, or champagne flutes filled to varying heights.
The Fieldhouse Pub beckons to visitors with the inviting smell of American-steakhouse fare mixing with that of Italian, French, and German cuisine. Head Chef Hans Jurgen Stender loads the tables with saucy veal schnitzels, spinach- and ricotta-cheese-stuffed capon, sauce-laden pastas, and juicy blackened steaks. Like 2001: A Beer Odyssey, his pub menu explores beer's longtime on-and-off relationship with burgers, overstuffed wraps, and shareable finger food.
Hanging plants hold court alongside a sun-friendly, greenhouse-style glass wall in the dining area. Upstairs, grainy timber accents define a bar that features a jukebox and stools clad in billiard-table-green leather. DIRECTV sports packages keep guests entertained with the glory of games, and occasional karaoke and all-ages stand-up routines keep them in stitches over the antics of professional comedians or amazed and terrified at human Auto-Tune impersonations.
Customers at Caldwell Seafood Market & Cafe can take home morsels of fresh raw seafood handpicked daily from the Fulton Fish Market or sit down to sample the cafe’s menu of chef-prepared gourmet fare. At the market, adopt a fresh pound of plump pink shrimp, a heavy slab of Norwegian salmon, or a gaggle of glistening sea scallops to take home and cook for an evening feast. Prices for raw seafood vary daily depending on each variety’s market value and the number of engagement rings it swallowed before being caught. Then sidle up to the cafe to sample prepared fare such as grilled rainbow trout sprinkled in Cajun seasoning ($17.95) or the combo platter, on which a 4-ounce fillet bundled in breading beds down with three large fried shrimp, three jumbo sea scallops, and a teddy bear named Eddie ($19.95).
It would be easy to pass an entire afternoon in Frank Anthony's lush garden courtyard, reclining on comfortable patio chairs and slowly polishing off a bottle of BYOB wine. Servers stroll through the forest of linen umbrellas, expertly balancing trays of Italian dishes while refilling glasses of San Pellegrino. Inside the elegant dining hall, intimate tabletops host guests, whose faces are illuminated by the glow of soft hanging lights. In the kitchen, chefs fold fresh meats, seafood, and seasonal vegetables into traditional Italian dishes, tossing crispy calamari in garlic, baking crusty Italian rolls, and crushing plum tomatoes using only their minds. Meanwhile, pizzas rise in the oven, speckled with toppings of wild mushrooms, savory sausage, and spicy peppers.