Hot Table fires up grills for all three daily meals with its menu of crisp salads, coffee drinks, and handmade paninis ($5.99 for small, $8.29 for large), which combine artisan breads with fresh ingredients and bake to melty perfection on hot table grills. Treat taste buds to dairy triumvirates with a three-cheese chicken panini, which smothers roasted chicken and salami with provolone, shaved parmesan, and blue cheese. Diners can customize their own paninis or revel in the preconceived meatiness of the swiss-steak mushroom melt. Until 10:30 a.m., Hot Table features breakfast paninis ($3.99)— such as the Vermont, a hodgepodge of sausage, cheddar cheese, and maple syrup—which go smashingly with dark roast coffee ($1.75), chai tea lattes ($2.95), or perfectly timed rimshots. Fans of fork usage can leaf through a Southwest salad ($6.99), loaded with jalapeños, crispy onions, and chipotle dressing.
The chefs at McCaffrey’s Public House craft a menu of crispy fried appetizers and succulent burgers to support a rotating cast of traditional Irish entrees. Fingers can hula-hoop with a golden order of battered, hand-cut onion rings ($5.95) before biting into a bleu burger dressed in a warm wardrobe of caramelized onions and creamy blue cheese ($7.95). The grilled-chicken autumn salad rakes together freshly-fallen mixed greens, colored with fall hues of brown candied walnut and crisp apples, all coated in a mist of homemade sherry vinaigrette ($6.95 for a small; $8.95 for a large). Entree specials rotate daily, but have included such Irish classics as steaming corned beef and cabbage, delicately fried fish and chips, and four-leaf clover salads sprinkled with Lucky Charms–shaped croutons.
McKinney and Burbach Tavern serves up a menu of hearty pub fare. Start off with an appetizer such as dragon (chicken) wings, served plain, buffalo style, or slathered in barbecue sauce, with spice-stifling celery and blue cheese ($8); or choose skewers with your choice of pork or chicken, or a combination of each, served grilled on a shrunken hunting spear ($9). For dinner, choose a traditional pub entree such as the great all-american burger with lettuce, tomato, and onion lounging on a mattress of ground beef served on a roll with a side of fries or M&B slaw ($7), or a more exotic favorite such as the chicken caesar a parmesan cheese-ordained courtship of grilled chicken and romaine lettuce nobly drizzled in caesar dressing and served on a roll or in edible wrapping paper ($8). To appease the hoggishly persnickety circumvallate papillae taste buddies, McKinney and Burbach will be expanding their pub menu after the New Year.
What goes well with tableside-mashed guacamole, tilapia baja fish tacos, and fried poblano peppers stuffed with chipotle chicken? Tequila. The northeast's largest selection of tequila, according to staff. Mama Iguana pairs a menu of Spanish-written dishes with more than 200 tequilas, which they use to kick-start their popular house and specialty margaritas. Patrons can sip drinks and bite into tacos while seated in the restaurant's colorful indoor dining area, out on the 100-seat outdoor patio, or standing in the doorway armed with poblano peppers in each hand.
Since 1927, Zonin’s Gourmet Market has crafted hearty Italian sausage from a family recipe and surrounded it with a robust menu of bold-flavored paninis, wraps, and salads. The Zonin's special transforms the signature sausage's taste-bud aria into a flavor opera with peppers, onions, sauce or cheese, and an epic death scene ($6). Otherwise, fulfill equally red-meaty desires with the roast-beef wrap's zesty blend of asiago cheese and horseradish ($7.50), or the Aquino panini, a cold press of mortadella and salami highlighted by roasted red peppers ($7.50). For a slightly lighter repast, treat pocket-sized pet rabbits to the Mauro’s special salad, which showcases candied walnuts, pears, and gorgonzola on mixed greens ($7.95). Zonin’s Gourmet Market also hooks up patrons with an assortment of prepared dishes, such as lasagna, fresh calamari salad, and stuffed shells.
Executive chef Sutat Anthachai weaves Eastern influences into classic pub grub at Samuel’s, which scoffs at the Gregorian calendar by serving its dinner menu until midnight 365 days a year. Culinary companions learn important lessons about sharing by carpooling to dinner on a unicycle or divvying up hot and cold tapas, such as blackened scallops ($9) and truffle risotto balls ($7). English-style fish 'n' chips sheathe tender whitefish in a homemade ale batter ($12), and a quartet of fragrant noodle bowls buoy chicken, seafood, beef, and veggies in an aromatic pho broth ($7+). Jumbo party wings ($11) and cheddar-stuffed pretzels ($8) evoke the sports bars Samuel’s so deftly transcends, and 37 widescreen TVs flank a 156-inch jumbotron that allows fans to count every crumb in Mike Ditka’s mustache. Imbibers can admire high-end spirits and robust wines, as beers from Goose Island and Magic Hat pour from 19 foam-flecked taps at Samuel’s quadrangular wooden bar, which anchors a convivial dining area ensconced in exposed brick.