Toro Sushi Bar invites you to join the bite-sized culinary festivities in a chic modern setting. Its menu features a wide variety of hand-made flavorful treats, from sushi to sashimi to full entrees to tapas. Enjoy the geometric perfection of a Creole Roll with crab, veggies, and seared Cajun tuna ($15) or the insistent adoration of the Loveulongtime Roll, which unites shrimp tempura, crab, avocado, masago and tobiko with a duo of eel and dynamite sauces ($15). If you've chosen to don your "Me and My Sushi and Sashimi – No Two Ways About It" custom tee-shirt, head straight into a carefully orchestrated array of blue fin tuna Maguro, octopus Tako, Hawaiian white tuna Ono, Japanese Red Snapper Carpaccio ($15), and the Kobe Beef Tataki with green onions, garlic chips and crispy red onions ($25). For even smaller eats, peruse the tapas menu for calamari, monkey balls (tempura style mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese, spicy tuna, and avocado), and edamame. You can complement your meal with specialty drinks, sake, wine, and beer.
At Bar Cara, chef Ryan DePersio uses rustic Italy as the inspiration for his upscale, mouthwatering meals, served in a modern and casual environment. Kick-start a culinary quest with an order of mascarpone polenta fries, served with gorgonzola sauce ($10), then envelop hug-loving taste buds in an embrace of slightly charred thin-crust pizza, such as the tomato basil with mozzarella cheese ($9). When overhead jumbo jets ring the northern hemisphere's primary dinner bell, meat-fanciers can opt for the veal Milanese with arugula and a cherry-tomato salad ($19). The impressive wine list at Bar Cara includes champagne and prosecco along with whites and reds, served both by the bottle and the glass. After dinner, let pastry chef Cynthia DePersio’s cupcake platter, which includes banana with caramel buttercream, carrot with cinnamon, and bittersweet chocolate with chocolate buttercream, take your endorphins on a magic platter ride. Glossy hardwood floors and exposed brick craft a warm and rustic aura around Bar Cara, and evenings are suffused with amber illumination from low lighting.
Sofra's fourth-generation Turkish chef assembles a menu of authentic Turkish cuisine updated for the modern palate. After a long night of trimming the neighbor’s hedges into grazing cattle, customers can refuel with mashed zucchini, carrots, and potatoes flattened into pancakes ($9.95) and topped with yogurt and tomatoes. Adventurous diners can sample breaded and fried calf’s liver ($7.95) before savoring char-grilled, marinated cubes of lamb shish kebab ($18.95) or turkish ravioli stuffed with ground beef and topped with garlic-yogurt sauce ($14.95). Chicken chops ($15.95) lounge atop a bed of rice, char-grilled tomatoes, and green peppers, looking as appealing as a cushy mattress stuffed with hundred-dollar bills. Sofra does not charge a corkage fee, encouraging guests to bring their own libations.
Raised by her grandmother in a small mountain village near Genoa, Italy, Maria Leonardi grew up eating and cooking classic North Italian cuisine. After moving to the States, Maria worked in restaurants before opening a small shop to sell house-made pastas, sauces, and soups in 1953. For 35 years, Maria appeared in her neatly pressed apron nearly every day, pausing between batches of fresh dough to share friendly conversation and cooking advice with visitors.
Three generations later, Maria's descendants keep her memory alive by honoring her original recipes in that same shop, now named Nonna Maria's Homemade Pasta. A large interior window looks onto pasta machines as they meld fresh eggs, dough, and cheeses into products such as manicotti, ravioli, and baked ziti. Fresh pasta is cut to order behind the counter, and jars of sauce bottle classic flavors, including that of Nonna Maria's specialty genovese pesto sauce.
Empanadas, naturally, take center stage at Empanada Spanish Grill—chefs rotate eight different flavors on a daily basis. By combining items from their list of ingredients—which ranges from savory oxtail to sweet red velvet cheesecake—they can make up to 100 different varieties. They also present a menu of daily specials such as pepper steak, chicken stew, and barbecue pork ribs. A colorful Caribbean atmosphere backdrops these savory dishes—a surfboard leans casually against a tiki bar, a relaxing reminder that no one needs to iron their clothes while on vacation.