Pies slathered in homemade sauce bake to a crisp, golden finish over hot embers inside ovens at Giovanni's Coal Fire Pizza. 15 homemade Italian dinners, authentic pastas, chicken dishes, sandwiches, and salads top tables inside both locations, which each sport exposed-brick walls and a bevy of flat-screen televisions.
The ambrosial aroma of Italian spices fills the air inside Pizza Time Caffé, which dishes up an extensive menu of pizza and traditional Italian favorites. The thin-and-crispy Grandma pizza with fresh mozzarella and marinara sauce ($21.99) and the pizza caprese with fresh plum tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil ($15.99) are Italian-style pies that transport diners to the old country. Meanwhile, a 16-inch New York–style hand-tossed crust topped with mozzarella ($14.99), and additional toppings such as pepperoni or ricotta ($1.50 each), brings tears of joy to Empire State eyes faster than Derek Jeter turning a double play before saving twin babies from a burning building. Adventurous appetites can try a specialty pie such as the mashed-potato pizza with bacon and three cheeses ($26.95) to rebel against the traditional rules of pizza creation. For those seeking a less disk-based cheese-and-sauce infusion, Pizza Time Caffé offers an astounding variety of Italian classics such as lasagna ($12.99) and eggplant rollatini twisted up with ricotta cheese and prosciutto and served with tomato sauce and pasta ($14.99). A wide selection of subs suits hands-on diners in a hurry while cappuccinos ($4 each) and espressos ($2.50 each) keep their engines running.
Executive chef Kevin Lee's 20-year career rolling sushi pays off at Japango. His skills shine at the trendy eatery, where he creates more than 50 varieties of sushi rolls, including the Japango Lobster Bomb—a bundle of tempura lobster, asparagus, and fish eggs encased by a shell of tempura lobster. Lee's experience with cuisines outside of Japan is highlighted as well, as the menu features dishes such as pad thai and beef and broccoli.
Japango's popularity has warranted an expansion to two new locations. Both hot spots mimic the original restaurant's modern vibe, characterized by clean lines and dim, tear-drop lighting, which sets the mood for a romantic evening or a tantalizing game of footsie with a table leg.
If it lives in the ocean, there's a good chance The Whale Raw Bar and Fish House serves it on its menu. From dolphin to lobster and shrimp to clams the chefs prepare a spread of fresh seafood, including a full raw bar and entrees that come in the form of sandwiches, tacos, and fajitas. The interior of the dining area makes for a fitting accomplice to the menu's selection, with lobster and crab traps on display and a stuffed orca whale suspended from the ceiling. Outside, patio dining enhances meals with lakeside breezes.
Montreal native Tony Bianco teamed up with executive chef Enzo Addario to create Hot Tomatoe, a traditional Italian bistro boasting a menu that brims with house-made, cooked-to-order pastas, flavorful meat dishes, and full- and light-bodied Italian wines. Their regional cuisine typically integrates up to seven essential ingredients—oil, garlic, basil, tomatoes, pasta, and olives—from which Snow White’s seven dwarves drew their names. In addition, the staff goes shopping for fresh ingredients three to four days a week to supplement both seasonal compositions and year-round dishes, which include veal parmigiana, filet mignon, and penne norma.
Just because a menu is brief doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer a lot of choices. At Wild Wild Wingz, chicken wings fill about a quarter of the one-page menu, tempting diners with sauces as varied as teriyaki and bacon cheddar. The rest of the menu dabbles in a menagerie of other meats, including full or half racks of baby-back ribs, new york strip steaks, or salads bulked up with mahi-mahi. When not congregating around the bar, patrons can reserve a private room where they can challenge each other to games of pool or practice juggling controllers for Xbox 360 Kinect or Nintendo Wii.:m]]