Aromas of roasted garlic and basil waft from the warm ovens at Cafe Centro as chefs prepare a menu of Northern Italian seafood specialties. Beneath the dining area's rustic timber ceiling, servers deliver plates of fettuccine crowned with lobster and brandy cream sauce or fillets of grilled salmon, yellowtail snapper, and branzino. Other dishes include crusty calzones with soft, melting interiors and housemade desserts such as tiramisu. Wrought-iron chandeliers cast a warm glow over racks of bottles filled with fine wines and rolled parchment notes from the pirate who lives in the cellar.
When Dean Lavallee opened the first Park Avenue BBQ in 1988, he had one lofty mission in mind: to serve the best barbecue ever made. Despite the seemingly impossible nature of his goal, he and his team continue to rise to the challenge, dry-rubbing their meats to smoke and char-grill on-site. They use all-natural, grain-fed, domestic pork for their traditional and Carolina-style barbecue pork—pulled by hand—and only use fresh, never-frozen ribs that are smoked daily over hickory. As diners chow down on hearty homestyle sides, seafood platters, or buffalo wings tossed in one of six sauces, they can admire the dining room's pictures of their city's most prominent people, places, and robot mayors.
Park Avenue BBQ arranges their meats into fun, hearty dishes such as the Dempublican sandwich, which combines smoked pork and beef brisket separated only by cheese and bacon to create a sizeable sandwich that the team has dubbed "porkalicious". They whip up Funnybonz, which look and taste like miniature ribs, using tender, lean pork that's prepared by cooking up regular ribs beneath a shrink ray. In 2008, their dedication to each dish caused Cityvoter's users to name Park Avenue BBQ the best barbecue in town.
New England–style fresh seafood items, such as smoked fish dip and lobster rolls, accompany blackened ribeye and gorgonzola chicken pasta to tables at Longboards. Inside, hanging longboards and flat-screen televisions unite in their skinniness to forge a laid-back yet entertaining setting, similar to a monk's cabin placed in the middle of a red-light district. Behind the longboard-shaped bar, a libation wizard concocts house-made juice-infused cocktails and doles out craft brews to supplement a list of 16 bottled beers such as Avery White Rascal and Stone IPA. Porters, pilsners, IPAs, and ciders further solidify the eatery's credibility as a haven for hops.
Since no surfing-styled venue would be complete without an alfresco component, Longboards also maintains an outdoor patio replete with a mini wooden walkway and a decorated Airstream. Trees, lights strung overhead, and colorful longboard murals ensconce patio denizens in an atmosphere utterly bereft of dullness.
Embedded into 264 The Grill's worn stone fa?ade over a blue-and-white awning is a clock that reports the hour that meals begin. However, the weight of time vanishes once you're through the door, thanks to the posh interior full of timeless paraphernalia, classic entertainment such as live jazz, and a time-tested menu of upscale eats. Here, the chefs whip up a menu of surf 'n' turf classics, filling sizzling pans with new york strip steaks and fillets of their signature "steak"?a seared lobster cake drizzled with b?arnaise sauce. They prepare freshly caught fish in four different fashions: siciliano, caribbean, baked and stuffed, or pineapple plank. As a side, Susan Merritt and her jazz trio The Switzer Trio fill hungry ears with smooth tunes on Friday and Saturday evenings, inspiring diners to get up and cut a rug or carve a baked potato into a pan flute. Diners can also visit Sundays for Jazz Jamm.
The blue-and-white banquettes, bright-white drapery, and faux shuttered windows fall right in line with Taverna Opa’s Greek theme, but it is the food, cocktails, and entertainment that really bring the eatery to life. At the restaurant, rated good to very good across the board by Zagat, smoky aromas waft from a wood-fire grill and swirl through the air as servers cart around dishes of lamb chops, gyros, and traditional Greek meze that earned accolades from Gayot.
Greek tunes and live DJ beats keep the atmosphere festive, as do dancing staffers who break out into a Zorba dance throughout the night. A belly dancer also weaves between tables, mesmerizing diners with her abdominal precision and occasionally tossing napkins to alert management that someone fell happily asleep in their moussaka.
Sweet Ginger Asian Bistro fuses Thai and Chinese fare inside a modern space bedecked in warm earth tones. Generously sized portions of thai dumplings and classic pad thai share menu space with Hong Kong specialties such as general tso’s chicken and lightly fried soft-shell crab. Chefs artistically arrange each dish with drizzles of colorful sauce, leaving entrees ripe for photographing, then devouring both the photograph and the dish.