Mexican favorites meet Salvadoran specialties at Ranchito Victoria Restaurant and Bakery, which slings up both cuisines with equal aplomb for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A traditional Salvadoran breakfast, or desayuno tipico, starts the day off right with heaps of refried beans, cheese, and cream crowned with two eggs. Later in the day, savory entrees of cheese-stuffed peppers, salted beef, shrimp in garlic sauce, and pork in adobo sauce steal back the spotlight. Traditional sweets round out the meal and include plantain empanadas and tres leches cake, which contains three different types of milk—just like Gladys, the cow responsible for all the world's Neapolitan ice cream.
When Palermo’s Bakery opened nearly three decades ago, it was a small storefront affair. Husband and wife team, Joanne and Jerry Bruno, baked small-scale confections at first, but over the years, Jerry became adventurous, constructing elaborate designer cakes that grew more intricate over the years. Twenty-five years later, thanks in part to those same creations, the small Italian bakery has grown into two custom cake shops with more than 50 staff members.
Still helmed by the Bruno family, Palermo's Bakery creates lavish wedding cakes bursting with fondant flowers, and specialty cakes sculpted into an array of improbable shapes, such as 3D champagne bottles. Though baked goods and pastries vary by location, they often include more than 20 flavors of cookies, Italian treats such as cannoli, and kosher desserts such as rugalech. All of the duo’s whimsical creations are available for pick-up or delivery.
Guests could dine at Park Avenue Bar & Grill multiple times, and yet leave each visit feeling as though they'd never been there before. Behind the restaurant's historic façade of red brick and arched windows await six distinct areas, each welcoming diners into a different experience. Downstairs, bartenders mix drinks at a traditional wooden bar, and upstairs, a modern lounge fills glasses amid tomato-red walls and zebra-patterned tile. After they dine on white tablecloths in the refined second-floor dining room, patrons can wander out to the private courtyard for drinks, or head up to the rooftop to watch New York's mayor give the skyline its nightly spit shine.
To match the atmosphere of each space, chef Todd Villani prepares fusion cuisine that combines Latin and New American traditions. Meticulously prepared entrees cater to guests seeking evenings of fine dining, and lighter fare, such as tapas and empanadas, facilitates socializing.
Bolts of sheer fabric dangle from the ceiling of Havana Dulce's dining room, filtering the soft lighting before it hits the burnt-orange walls and mimics the sight of a Caribbean sunset. Meanwhile, the aromas of fried plantains, lemon-marinated ceviche, and roast pork drift throughout the space and tempt diners with their combinations of sweet and savory flavors.
The nightlife at Havana Dulce revolves around the bar's refreshing cocktails and fruit-filled sangria, as well as the spirited dance floor. To help to keep feet stepping and hips swaying, the restaurant features live shows throughout the week, including DJ sets, band performances, and staged readings of colonial Virginia's first tax code.
The chefs at Pasion Latina aim to pay tribute to Latin American cultures by serving distinctive dishes. Taste buds are engaged with sweet plantains, black beans, and fried cassava, which are nestled beside piquant entrees from Cuba, Colombia, and other nations. Diners can sip BYOB selections on the patio, chat in the intimate, colorful dining room, or feverishly try to hitchhike to Puerto Rico without putting on swimmies.