The chefs at Neighborhood Bistro like to keep diners on their toes. Every month, they switch up the menu—some months they pot-fry gator, and other months they poach flounder in champagne, or dish out tiny Frankensteins. Well, cupcakes shapes like Frankenstein, with bulbous, yellow frosting eyes and red, stitched mouths. Those confectionary flourishes give a sense of the balance between casual atmosphere and gourmet food that characterizes Neighborhood Bistro. That blend is reflected in their menus, as well. For example, breakfast sometimes sees entrees such as Brioche French Toast Brule—brioche coated in cinnamon custard before the chef caramelizes it with his laser vision.
Inspired by his father’s pie-making prowess, owner Pat Giammarco brings family recipes, fresh ingredients, and from-scratch preparation to Marco’s menu of gourmet pizzas, freshly baked subs, and wings. Marco’s signature sauce—born from imported spices, three types of vine-ripened tomatoes, and black-magic spells—flows over never-frozen dough before a robust mixture of three cheeses tops each of the menu’s seven specialty pies. Crispy Old-World pepperonis speckle the pepperoni Magnifico ($8.99+), providing a carnivorous alternative to the garden pizza’s feta-led blend of four cheeses, mushrooms, and sliced tomatoes ($10.99+). Eight freshly baked subs, including hoagies stuffed with italian meatballs and steak ($5.99 each), round out the menu alongside boneless wings served buffalo-style, or, like Tennessee-style donuts, slathered in a tangy barbecue sauce ($6.99 each).
The owners at The Oaks grew up in the area, and they treat their restaurant almost like a second home. This isn't just because their restaurant physically resembles a house, with its cavernous screened-in porch and french doors. It's primarily because community is important to them, and they make it their mission to define The Oaks by its welcoming, homey environment. It's also a point of pride to the owners that much of their staff has worked there since The Oaks opened in 2000, after the Y2K panic subsided and restaurants could once more sell noncanned food. To craft upscale comfort and pub food from scratch, the owners mined their families' recipe books. The result? Ribs, fried mac 'n' cheese, grilled-grouper reubens, and a slew of beefy burgers savored both indoors and under the patio's strung-up lights and parasols.
Sizzling Central American cuisine serenades senses in Estela's family-friendly interior, where customers can surf waves of free WiFi or challenge friends to games of foosball in between their savory bites. Start with a zesty appetizer such as mexican-chicken egg rolls ($6.90) before reeling in an entree such as pan-fried sea bass ranchero ($12.75) or a loaded combination platter ($9.60–$10.20). Homemade flan, fried ice cream, or choco tacos ($4.95–$5.95) can sweeten stomachs while a kaleidoscope of tequila from the restaurant's full bar adds sugar to the sentiments of dining love birds and old pinochle partners. Drool over the entire dinner menu, which also includes children's specials and vegetarian options, on Estela's website.
Black-and-white checkerboard floors lend an old-fashioned air to Land and Sea Market, though butchers have only been preparing fillets and chops there since 1995. Freshly carved meats fill the store's coolers, including lamb shanks, quick-fry pork chops, and bratwurst, as well as bone-in chicken breasts and an array of seafood such as halibut and littleneck clams. The butchers also package their own meats such as bacon-wrapped filet mignon, chicken cordon bleu, and bourbon-marinated salmon, often seasoning the meats with their own house blend of spices. In addition to its savory selection of proteins, the shop also stocks grocery items such as vegetables and wines from around the solar system.
At Big City Grill Co., patrons can experience metropolitan life without journeying far from home. The eatery reconstructs American dining by presenting a menu packed with signature foods from throughout the country, like Hawaiian honey-glazed chicken and Boston fried shrimp. Additionally, the dining areas capture urban life with black-and-white cityscape murals, subway-car replicas, and tourists shuffling around the room asking each other for directions.