Floor-to-ceiling mirrors reflect 2,700 square feet of glossy, hardwood floors ringing with the staccato of dancing high heels. Brass poles sprout from the floor, supporting whirling women as they learn sensual routines and build upper-body strength by suspending themselves skyward.
Pole Control Studios' owner, a seasoned performer with a BA in sports science, designs programs that scale up in difficulty while centering around fitness. The studio inducts exercisers in the flirtatious art with an introductory class, where each dancer learns correct posture, transition work, and how to use high heels to tap out Morse code. From there, guests foray into more than 75 types of empowering fitness classes that build on the basics, imparting techniques for climbing, controlled spins, or inversions. Pole Fit and Sensual Stretch supplement pole-dancing prowess with intense cardio, squats, lunges, and body-elongating posework.
The ancient art of dining meets modern ingredients and design at Feng Asian Bistro, where delicate geometric forms adorn both the walls and rice-covered plates. Cozy up in a stone-spangled alcove and dip into Feng’s lunch and dinner offerings to find yellow-tail jalapeño starters ($12), eel-cucumber sushi rolls ($6), and entrees such as miso-glazed Chilean sea bass ($16 lunch, $27 dinner). Enterprising eaters can tackle their fare in the main dining room, the lounge, or the sushi bar.
Sorella's chefs prepare a diverse menu of fine Italian-inspired plates: grilled Spanish octopus, veal and ricotta meatballs, and classic steak florentina, to name a few. The crowning jewels of their menu, though, are their hearty Neapolitan wood-fired pizzas and pasta dishes. House-made ravioli, for example, come stuffed with roast chicken, Fontina, and arugula, while rigatoni might be tossed in a veal saltimbocca sauce. The pizzas, meanwhile, come in styles both classic and inventive, ranging from the simple Pizza Margherita, a basil- and tomato-topped pie, to the Mystic Whaler, a sauce-less white pie made with regular or gluten-free dough and topped with Mystic Melville cheese, and speck.
Rich Hicks and Todd Istre are the masterminds behind many a national food concept?from Rich's southwestern taco at Tin Star to Todd's spicy seafood dishes at Boudreaux's Cajun Kitchen. When the duo joined forces to create Mooyah, however, they cleared the tortillas and crawdads from their mind in order to focus on formulating a quintessential American burger.
Today, within scores of Mooyah locations throughout the nation, chefs bustle behind counters, grilling up burgers in accordance to Todd and Rich's formula. Cooks pile beef, turkey, and veggie patties onto white or wheat buns before loading on cheeses and toppings of bacon, fried onion, and avocado. Meanwhile, freshly cut potatoes simmer in fryers, and blenders whirl with ice-cream shakes. Out in the dining room, tabletops and booths sit atop checkered floors beneath walls of chalkboards, where customers can write messages or draw portraits of what they wished they looked like, could they only grow a beard.
"Decadent." "Sumptuous." "Perfectly cooked." These are just a few of the ways the New York Times described the food at Dish Bar & Grill, a stylish gathering spot in downtown Hartford. Years ago, patrons of the Sage-Allen department store roamed this same property in pursuit of deals. But silverware has since replaced shopping bags, and diners now come to the industrial-style building to sample chef-owner William Carbone's handiwork. His upscale interpretations of classic comfort foods include meaty dishes, such as chophouse-style steaks and pork, as well as crisp salads and fresh seafood. Away from the dining area, a large bar invites guests to sip on barrel-aged cocktails, and musicians often fill the space with live tunes so you don't have to hire a full brass section to follow you around for the evening.