Steeped in 30 years of experience in Peruvian cuisine, Hats Off Restaurant & Bar’s seasoned chef commands a kitchen stocked with ingredients for favorites that include citrusy mixed-seafood ceviche and succulent sautéed-beef lomo saltado. Red cushioned seats and spirited red walls conjure elements of trendy downbeat lounges, and HD televisions emblazon sporting events across screens. Peruvian imported beers and cocktails, including traditional pisco sours, keep patrons well-watered, and a kids’ menu with chicken fingers and hot dogs offers whippersnappers a welcome diversion from traditional staples such as peanut butter or Elmer’s Glue.
Since 1931, three generations of Riesterers, including graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, have been baking breads, inventing icing, and producing pastries at Riesterer's Bakery. Donut desirers can stick a straw in a jelly or boston-cream batch ($10.49 per dozen) to cull creamy corporal fillings, and feng shui enthusiasts contemplate the perfect balance of a black-and-white cookie ($1.95). More than 50 varieties of cake, including black-forest torte, strawberry shortcake and red velvet (starting at $16.95), don icing cloaks in the Riesterer's fitting room before hitting the bakery stage. Triumph over small sweets with a gourmet jumbo cupcake in one of more than 20 flavors ($3.50), or sample savory slices of German sour rye bread ($2.85 per pound) designed to rein in sugar-binged tongues. People searching for shelter from meals made by a roommate who only knows how to use a blender can dine in or take out culinary creations from a café menu with pages warmed by waffles with fresh fruit and toppings ($6.69), hearty overstuffed omelettes ($4.59), and handcrafted burgers (starting at $5.79). Rolls, danishes, pastries, cookies, and other custom and gourmet items fill out pastry pantries recently vacated by traveling tortes.
Though masters of classic Italian recipes, the Lucky Duck's cooks don't always adhere to boring tradition. Alongside veal picatta and eggplant rigatoni, they also prepare sole fillets stuffed with shrimp, scallops, crabmeat, and spinach or top pizzas with bleu cheese and buffalo chicken. Inside the restaurant's spacious dining room, paintings of Italian landscapes and flat-screen TVs hang on exposed-brick walls, giving patrons something to gaze at besides the hypnotic swirls hidden in their date's eyes.
Meats, cheeses, fruits, and veggies line the counters and display cases at DaVinci Gourmet Market, where chefs draw upon a palette of fresh ingredients to compose take-home entrees and catered meals each day. To-go containers nearly overflow with wild-rice salad or crab cakes, and entrees of grilled salmon or roasted chicken make for ephemeral table centerpieces. The sun rises over omelets and traditional two-egg breakfasts, and the lunch menu’s specialty paninis invoke the Leaning Tower of Pisa with their stacked toppings and unstable groundwork of toasted ciabatta bread.
As stuffed with delicacies as a traditional grape leaf, Greek Corner's expansive, authentic menu ranges widely over lamb- and feta-spiked savories. Split with a pal a pikilia platter of cheesy tiropita, potato croquettes, and greek meatballs piled high on a field of lettuce ($13.95). Nibble at twin skewers of tender, marinated lamb bolstered with a side of potato and greek salad ($15.95), or order a solo-sized greek pizza ($6.95) with spinach and tomato huddling under a blanket of feta, kefalotyri, and mozzarella cheeses like ancient Greek children hiding from the minotaur in the closet. At meal's end, culinary cohorts can munch on sweet baklava ($4.25) or tiramisu ($4.95) while enjoying one of seven varieties of beer.