At Ciao Bella!, chef Federico Sammarone pays homage to southern Italian cuisine with homemade pastas and slow-simmered meats. After earning culinary clout at established eateries including Freddy's in Manhattan's West Village and Ciao Bella! in Valley Stream, chef Sammorone now tosses spaghetti with fresh herbs and Italian prosciutto and marinates veal and fish in wine-reduction sauces for a new set of diners. The ambiance is similarly Italian-inspired: a ceiling with red-clay tiles defines the dining room, creating a private enclave for dining companions to linger over port wines or games of napkin peekaboo.
The menu of Italian comfort foods already lends Mezzanote Restaurant a familiar vibe, but it's the family-style service that truly makes guests feel at home. During meals, platters of veal milanese, chicken parmigiana, and pasta in meaty bolognese sauce can all arrive at once. From there, diners pass plates and serve themselves from the trays while enjoying the lively group-dining ambience. For a pleasant end to the meal, parties can either indulge in the kitchen's homemade tiramisu and italian cheesecake or try to guess their server's height in millimeters.
Pantano's Kitchen keeps its chefs busy all day. Starting with the morning's frittatas and pancakes, they transition to paninis, burgers, and deli fare as the hours progress. But they'll gladly make breakfast specialties all day alongside the more than 200 menu options diverse enough to please entire families or each head of a picky Cerberus. As diners deliberate further on build-your-own burger and salad choices, flat-screen TVs flicker with stock quotes and sporting events.
The culinary artists at Xaga Sushi furl comestibles from a menu that gives diners glimpses of sashimi sea legs and flirtatious fusion winks. During roll call, guests give shout outs to a Pink Lady roll ($12) and her mix of spicy crab, eel, avocado, and tobiko, all wrapped in a pink soy paper. Caribbean rolls ($12) sparkle with a regal blend of eel, spicy crunch tuna, avocado, and a four-tiered crown of caviar ($12). Those who prefer their aquatic life cooked may scale Xaga's Snow Mountain rolls of tempura shrimp ($11), and others toss black pepper steak cubes ($15) across tables like a game of meat dice in the alley.
Berrylicious's confectionary connoisseurs sate bodily cravings with sweet eats, all of which are kosher. Numerous yogurt flavors, such as rich vanilla, chocolate, kiwi strawberry, snickerdoodle, and pomegranate ($2.75–$5.25), construct a solid frozen-treat foundation. Next, more than 30 toppings adorn towering flavor walls with candy-store favorites such as Kit Kat bits, Oreos, or chocolate chips or healthy add-ons such as strawberry, pineapple, or mango chunks to satisfy contractual obligations to the food pyramid. For portable delectables, Berrylicious also proffers sugar-free fruit smoothies ($4.50) and cupcakes piled with frosting ($2.25).