Marly and Matt, who contributed their initials to M & M Pizza Bistro, use a range of fresh ingredients, as evidenced by a large selection of daily specials based purely on the morning’s market finds. The eatery’s tables populate daily with tender gnocchi, ravioli, and tortellini in thick bolognese or creamy alfredo as well pizza draped in roasted red peppers, goat cheese, meatballs, and other toppings. Wine-infused marsala and piccata dishes steam beside fresh bruschetta and garlic knots. At the counter, guests ask the cashier about fillings for a calzone or confuse it with Cal Ripken’s treehouse, The Cal Zone.
Since 1977, Park Pizza's kitchen staff has been crafting traditional and gourmet pizzas, which headline a menu of casual Italian cuisine. They arrange toppings on gourmet pizzas in clever combinations, such as the mélange of ziti, ricotta, and mozzarella on the baked-ziti pizza, or the salad pizza with lettuce, carrots, and olives. The Uncle Chuck hero sandwich features barbecue sauce, grilled chicken, mozzarella, french fries, lettuce, and tomatoes—which only leaves out one major food group: chocolate. These pizzas and sandwiches as well as pasta dishes and Italian entrees incorporate all-natural and preservative-free Grande cheese.
Inside the kitchen of Marcello’s, teardrop chandeliers cast their warm gaze over copper cookware and a dining table that wraps around the stove. Here, Chef Marcello sheds light on the techniques of preparing Italian cuisine during cooking classes and private parties. In such events, up to 12 guests can sip wine while he picks recipes secretly stored in his chef’s hat and demonstrates how to assemble artful dishes, which may include risotto with chicken and spinach or pasta with fresh tomato mozzarella and basil. Although the private dining experience is the easiest way to witness Chef Marcello’s passion for sharing the cuisine of his native Italy, guests can also enjoy his dynamic entrees without front-row seats at the chef’s table. In the restaurant’s dining room, floor-to-ceiling murals depict the Tuscan countryside and ferns adorn honey-colored walls as diners anticipate hearty meals. Atop crisp white tablecloths, servers present platters of housemade pastas and veal prepared seven ways. The knowledgeable staff is also happy to recommend pairings from the vast Italian wine list.
Twice a week, the owners of La Vera Cucina visit local meat and fish markets. They do this themselves instead of delegating the task, and visitors to their restaurant find this kind of dedication to be delicious. Once these carefully sourced ingredients?like lobster, scallops, veal, and steak?hit kitchen cutting boards, chefs pair them with heaps of linguine and fettuccine. Once they're prepared, meals enter the dining room, sailing past gold, sponge-painted walls to land on white tablecloths that make the ingredients' colors sing. Sun-dried tomatoes glisten like rubies, pink prosciutto and bright green peas surround chicken Florentine, and mussels occupy bowls of red or white sauce.
If you're not sure what you have a taste for when you walk in the door of Portobello Cafe, it'll probably take you awhile to decide. The dinner menu challenges timid eaters with more than 75 menu items, predominantly Italian-style dishes such as veal saltimbocca and rosemary-crusted rack of lamb. There are some playfully international dishes as well, such as Italian egg rolls stuffed with broccoli rabe and parmesan risotto. Folks can always leave the decisions up to the professionals, however, with prix fixe dinners. During the day there's an equally extensive lunch menu to ensure that none of the meals think the chef is playing favorites.
In the kitchen at Gaetano's Grill, cooks slide well-seasoned pizzas out of a brick oven and put the finishing touches on burgers made with prime sirloin, putting together feasts of Italian and American favorites. Like a ball gown made out of a sleeping bag, the surroundings are simultaneously fancy and comfortable: the Uptown Lounge rings with cheers and the sounds of karaoke and football shown on HDTV, and the sun-filled patio is filled with the scents of prosciutto-stuffed pollo novella and savory New York Strip steak. Guests sip frosty draft beers as they dig their forks into hearty baked ziti and penne vodka or chow down on Bronx-style pizzas topped with fresh garlic, pepperoni, and meatballs.