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.
The oenophiles behind Novit? Wine Bar and Trattoria are so passionate about wine that they had a digital, temperature-controlled wine-serving system custom built for them in Australia. It's given their bar the ability to serve 100 wines from around the world by the glass on any given day. Because of the system's ability to dole out 1/2-ounce tastes, 3.5-ounce pours, and 6-ounce full pours, it allows patrons to sample wines they might normally avoid due to their high bottle prices.
Wine may be what Novit? specializes in, but executive chef Ed Davis doesn't let it overshadow the food. He and his team whip up Naples-style pizzas and pastas topped with Maine lobster or stuffed with creamy burrata cheese. And for brunch, there's cappuccino french toast, a tastier option than the more traditional Italian breakfast dish of pancakes covered in marinara sauce.
Seventh Street Cafe’s dinner menu boasts a bountiful array of Northern Italian cuisine in shades of chicken, veal, seafood, and pasta. Feasting pregamers can start cold with lemon-laden poached jumbo shrimp paired with a spicy cocktail sauce ($10) or warm with the portabella trifolato, a grilled portobello mushroom garnished with caramelized sweet onion and asparagus, then dressed in a dignified balsamic reduction ($10). For the main feature, the pollo valdostana tells the story of prosciutto and mozzarella rooming together inside a lightly breaded boneless chicken breast, and how a flood of wild-mushroom sauce helps them overcome their differences ($21). Vegetarians, however, can abide by their uneasy cease-fire with cows with a heaping plate of rigatoni campagnola dotted with eggplant, zucchini, and fresh ricotta cheese ($13).
Patsy Grimaldi wasn?t like other boys his age. While his friends busied themselves playing baseball and balancing checkbooks, Patsy studied pizza-making under the tutelage of his uncle Patsy Lancieri. By the time Grimaldi was old enough to open a pizzeria of his own, he had perfected a recipe for fragrant tomato sauce and mastered the art of baking ultra-crispy crusts. As word of his pizza-making talents spread across New York, Patsy?s pizzeria attracted long lines and a variety of celebrity devotees including Bill Cosby, Bob Costas, and Frank Sinatra. Allegedly, Sinatra was so impressed by Patsy?s brick-oven pies that he regularly called in orders from his place in Vegas.
Today, Grimaldi?s Pizzerias have sprouted up across the country and earned accolades from Time magazine and Lonely Planet. Chefs continue to shower thin crusts in Pasty?s secret sauce along with handmade mozzarella and fresh toppings. They bake the pizzas in coal-fired brick ovens, faithfully following the tradition started by uncle Lancieri more than 80 years ago. Diners enjoy pies and brews in casual dining rooms where red-checkered tablecloths cover tables and NYC-inspired artwork decorates walls.
Gallery Pizza serves pizza dough two ways: in the traditional flat crust manner and by rolling it. Depending on whether you like to see your ingredients or have them hidden, both options are bedecked with anything from saut?ed spinach to chicken cutlets and ricotta cheese. And when it comes to building pasta dishes, chefs stick to classic recipes found all over Italy. They saut? chicken in a marsala wine sauce and tuck veal under a blanket of tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. Shrimp scampi and sausage and peppers are also on the menu, as well as homemade meatballs with tomato sauce. If people don?t feel like making the drive to the eatery, the staff will happily deliver pizza and pastas to customers? front stoop or treehouse.
Established in 1965 by Italian brothers lured westward by the American dream, Umberto's Restaurant & Pizzeria is less of a eatery and more of an institution. The award-winning pizza has lured the likes of Mayor Giuliani to the original location, which has since spawned several more. No matter the locale, a Tuscan-style ambiance is permeated with the scents of seafood marinara, veal parmigiana, and pizzas that come in Sicilian and Neapolitan styles, among others.