MaChu's menu courts appetites with modern, upscale Cajun dishes spiced with influences from around the globe. Traditional specialties such as seafood jambalaya ($19.95) and barbecued beef short ribs ($18.95) join culinary hands with out-of-town entrees including Cajun Asia—curried tilapia sautéed with bamboo shoots and served over yellow rice ($15.95). Fried selections such as Cajun fried chicken and southern fried fish ($9.95 each) don crisp golden-batter suits and promenade across tongues accompanied by a choice of hush puppies or fries.
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.
Tucked inside Desi Food Galaxy, Punjabi Food & Chaat entices taste buds with flecks of cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and garlic inside curries and stews. The kitchen?s centerpiece?a traditional clay oven?cooks marinated chicken and shrimp and stacks of naan. The menu splits itself between meat and vegetarian dishes, with lamb, goat, chicken, and fish starring in the former,and spinach, potatoes, mushrooms, and chickpeas filling the latter. During the week, the chefs supersize each dish for the lunch buffet, welcoming guests to take as much food as will fit into their stomachs or wheelbarrows.
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.
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.