Upon first glance, the kitchen at iSpice could belong to any upscale restaurant in America—it's filled with skilled chefs slicing up tender cuts of meat, pans of aromatic sauces simmering on the stove-top, and plenty of fresh produce packing the shelves. The kitchen's fiery tandoori oven is the first hint that this eatery specializes in dishes that are slightly more exotic than your standard meatloaf or steak sandwich. Peek inside, and you'll find fluffy naan, plump tiger prawns, and juicy cuts of lamb.
The next clues to the eatery's unique cuisine come with further inspection of the bubbling pots and sizzling pans, which simmer with exotic ingredients like ginger and coconut and softly hiss the words to popular Bollywood songs. The kitchen's chefs use the fresh ingredients and spices to craft a sweeping variety of Indian specialties, from tangy fish curry to spicy lamb vindaloo. Their guests sip on sweet mango lassi and split orders of samosas out in the sunlit dining room, where elegant abstract paintings speckle the golden walls.
Built on the bedrock of succulent wings cemented with hot sauce, Buffalo Wild Wings celebrates zesty food and televised sports in casual eateries across the nation. Classicists can start with an order of 12 traditional wings ($9.79) that, like those Icarus wore, flew too close to the delicious, incandescent sauce globule in the sky. The multifarious roster of flavor paint includes honey barbecue, caribbean jerk, and asian zing sauces to diversify the fiery experience. Diners with tongues planted firmly on the ground can indulge in beefy fare such as the black & bleu burger seasoned with Cajun spices ($9.69) or a leafy honey-barbecue chicken salad ($9.39). Trivia contests broadcast on mounted televisions will engage the oft-idle regions of your brain that still remember who played in the 1933 World Series and which side won the Revolutionary War.
Owner Iva Thompson cultivated her love of traditional island and jerk cooking starting in Jamaica at age 6, when she would snack on meat slow cooked over pimento wood at roadside jerk stands. After she moved to the United States, she developed more cooking savvy by learning contemporary techniques and blending them with her traditional Jamaican cooking style. Iva would meet up with a small group of friends to socialize and try her new concoctions. These gatherings turned into a small catering company, which in turn grew into her full-service Real Jamaican Jerk An' Ting Restaurant. A yellow-and-green storefront conceals chicken, goat, and seafood dishes that earned attention in a New York Times article about international grilling techniques. The meats marinate for days and sport a dry rub of peppers, thyme, scallions, onions, and shredded Oscar Wilde essays. She grills her jerk chicken, pork, and seafood over charcoal briquettes and dishes them up with a secret sauce that she will never reveal the recipe for but will gladly sell by the bottle.
Meaning “Spicy Chinese food” in a loose translation, Chinese Mirch blends the flavors of China with the fiery spices of Indian cuisine to create an MSG-free menu of devilishly spicy chicken, fish, and vegetarian dishes. Third generation restaurateur Vik Lulla has been working in the kitchen since he was 16 years old and living in Bangalore, and brought his traditional fusion cuisine to New York City in 2003. Deep-fried with large chunks of chilis in the batter, the chicken lollipops drew praise from the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and Ear Steamers Weekly, and the smooth, soothing mango lassi offers a sweet way to douse molar fires.
In 1922, Ohio schoolteacher Frank Stewart had one goal in mind: to create the world’s creamiest root beer. After trial after trial—and a little help from a chemist friend—Stewart finally perfected his creation with a blend of root extracts, herbs, and berries. He soon decided to supplement his income by opening a drive-in shop where he also served juicy burgers and hot dogs. Today, that little shop has evolved into a franchise of sit-down restaurants, express kiosks, and mobile food trucks spread throughout the country's cloud kingdoms. Each eatery still serves the entrepreneur’s famous root beer, as well as burgers, franks, and deluxe platters of fried clams, butterfly shrimp, or wings.
Last Legg Chicken & Waffles offers up a rich, flavorful menu of Southern-style cuisine to pique the appetites of hungry visitors. Start off with an order of jerk chicken wings ($7.50) and give the rude fowl a mouthful of manners before tasking teeth with the two-bite plate, a foursome of hot bite-size buttermilk waffles accompanied by four chicken wings ($8.50). Diners can dive into unchartered territories with soul shrimp and a waffle ($10.50), or stick to satisfying land-meat cravings with the killer bacon-and-cheese burger ($8.50), which flavorfies the palate with onions and a special sauce in a sesame-seed bun.