When Eugene Gillespie left Ireland to visit his brother in New York in 1972, he didn't know that he would be inspired to stay. The Irish economy was down, so Eugene decided to pursue the American dream by moving to the Mid-Atlantic region. He didn't leave Ireland entirely behind him though, and Eugene proceeded to spend the next several decades opening traditional Irish pubs and restaurants throughout New York and New Jersey.
With two locations, Blackthorn Restaurant & Irish Pub demonstrates a commitment to the flavors of Ireland. The menus feature familiar comfort foods—certified Angus burgers and thin-crust pizzas—including a number of Irish favorites, such as beer-battered fish and chips and stews filled with Guinness-braised beef. To achieve an even more authentic taste, the chefs occasionally import ingredients such as Irish cheddar cheese, Irish sausages, and Irish rainbows.
The menu's iconic dishes contribute to the pubs' cozy, inviting ambiance almost as much as accents such as the stone fireplaces or the bar made of imported red mahogany. Spirits remain lively and the mood stays festive thanks to the live entertainment hosted throughout the week. Live bands perform contemporary hits as well as traditional Irish songs.
Tinga Taqueria slakes stomach suspirations with a menu stocked with quesadillas, tacos, salads, burritos, and other contemporary Mexican cuisine. Halt hunger with a classic Tinga burrito ($9.75), a flavor bomb of tender char-grilled chicken slathered in Tinga salsa and wrapped in your choice of a flour or whole-wheat tortilla wrapping paper. Customers ordering for their inner-brontosaurus can select the grilled vegetable platter ($9.45), a savory concoction of yellow and green zucchini, red pepper, and portobello mushrooms with rice and beans. Each order can be savored in Tinga Taqueria's welcoming restaurant or enjoyed at home with the help of a real-life delivery person. Like sock garters in an appropriate business suit, the delivery fee is included.
Classic Mediterranean comestibles inspired by Greek, Italian, French, Israeli, and Spanish dishes converge in Osteria Mediterrania's eclectic dinner menu of fresh cuisine. Dainty house-made pappardelle pasta, varnished with pink vodka sauce ($16), waltzes around gastro ballrooms, and demi-glazed filet mignon medallions ($24) tango atop tummy terraces. Elect to indulge in midday edibles with a lunch menu sporting foodstacks, such as the prosciutto and mozzarella panini bookended by ciabatta bread ($9), or a bounteous bowl illegally harboring the sweet-sausage-flecked fettuccini ($14), recently convicted of spork strangulation.
Un, deux, trois. Such is the simplicity of Caf? Monet?s menu, whose three-part, mix-and-match structure is the brainchild of Egyptian-born chef Wes Sawi. The child of a diplomat, Sawi spent his youth traveling the world before finding his passion in food. He studied at the New York Restaurant School and trained at notable kitchens in Paris and Lyon, all of which contribute to the global touches on his predominantly French creations.
On the dinner menu, plates under the ?un? and ?deux? sections are served in appetizer-sized portions, while the ?trois? offerings constitute full entrees. To start, a Moroccan tuile adorns mounds of crabmeat a la mango, and duck confit comes paired with wild-mushroom strudel, a creation that the New York Times hailed as ?a small masterpiece of a dish.? Merlot-braised beef short ribs and an onion ring sit atop a mint-fava-bean-potato puree, and mint essence flavors rack of lamb and a Proven?al?style vegetable tian. In addition to the egg dishes, sandwiches, and salads that populate the lunch menu, the cafe runs a patisserie that serves baked goods and gourmet coffee throughout the morning and afternoon.
Large canvases sporting colorful still-life paintings of fruit adorn Caf? Monet?s warm, neutral-colored walls, which reach down to a bare wooden floor in the cozy, 50-seat dining room. Granite tabletops separate chairs from leather banquettes, where diners sit and uncork wine they brought from home. Outside, red umbrellas shield tables as guests sip coffee and take advantage of complimentary WiFi.
If it’s not clear from its name, MoonShine Modern Supper Club is an amalgamation of concepts. This is also demonstrated in its dark walls and bright paintings of pink birds and horses, and its menu that takes comfort-food classics and adds a spin of sophistication. Appetizers of truffle gnocchi with meatballs bathe in sherry-cream sauce, and the duck egg and hash is served with duck confit, peppers, and onions. Cooks put a twist on classic ravioli, filling it with sheep-milk ricotta and piling on hazelnuts, brown butter, and a pear puree, and they dress roasted atlantic salmon in cilantro-basil pesto and chorizo. A restaurant called MoonShine wouldn’t be complete without its share of housemade beverages, and double-certified sommelier and mixologist Joe San Philip delivers. His take on the manhattan combines white whiskey with Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, cherry bitters, and a cherry garnish. The Winter Moonshine Punch takes cranberry-infused Midnight Moonshine and adds cinnamon-infused rye whiskey, amaretto, pomegranate juice, and walnut bitters.
Richard Castellano had two passions in life: acting and cooking. He pursued the former, taking on the role of Peter Clemenza in The Godfather and earning an Academy Award nomination for his role in the 1970 film, Lovers and Other Strangers. Castellano passed away before he could pursue his passion in the kitchen, so his nieces and nephews decided to do so in his honor. The result is La Cucina de Clemenza Ristorante, where chefs prepare Italian fare from fresh ingredients. Grass-fed veal scaloppini, shrimp scampi, and chicken balsalmico emerge from the kitchen alongside hearty pasta dishes, such as the penne alla cinque cinque, which features jumbo shrimp and arugula sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil. Diners twirl their forks and swirl glasses of wine amid decor that makes the restaurant’s silver-screen inspiration known. Alongside portraits of Castellano and quotes from his Godfather alter ego, a pastoral mural depicts the Italian countryside where Don Corleone and Pete Clemenza played hide-and-go-seek in the director’s cut.