The licensed aestheticians at Spa Aura don't just specialize in European or Asian techniques; rather, they practice a seamless fusion of both. During manicures and pedicures, for instance, nail techs not only expertly apply eye-catching polish, but also help improve blood flow with massage and acupressure techniques. Patrons then visit the upper level's nail-drying bar, where they can watch retro films or read magazines until their colors dry.
Down in the softly lit lower level, past tiled floors lined with glowing lights, aestheticians incorporate ingredients such as coconut milk into circulation-boosting body treatments. Following one of Spa Aura?s body treatments?as well as facials and massages?clients are invited for a soothing visit to the infrared sauna. The dry sauna, lined with minerals plucked from the mountains of Asia, detoxifies bodies in a more relaxing way than trying to remove pennies stuck up the nose during childhood.
Flavor wizards sling a menu of fresh fare at The Manchester Diner, which was named after the 1910 Manchester building that housed famous figures such as Hank Jones and Flannery O'Connor. Grillmasters prepare each burger to order, perching the patty atop a toasted bun and pairing it with an edible coterie of coleslaw and a pickle. Beneath a mosaic of tiles and pendant lamps, diners can customize beefy bites with a slew of toppings, such as sautéed mushrooms, bacon, avocado, blue cheese, and french fries. Like certified-organic princesses, salads come crowned with premium ingredients, such as the fresh Norwegian salmon, blueberries, strawberries, walnuts, and feta that festoon the Royal salad. Lettuce whisperers toss the mesclun field salad with fresh melon and grilled chicken before servers whisk it to tables with citrus vinaigrette harvested from the tears of freshly zested lemons.
Ensconced in fiery yellows and reds and enlivened with nostalgic élan, Dizzy's Diner is the brainchild of two devotees of down-home cooking with experience in Bobby Flay's kitchens and at the Culinary Institute of America. A menu of classic diner fare crams in comfort food such as Dad's Favorite Meatloaf, wrapped in smoked bacon with its feet up on davenport of garlic mashed potatoes, and the turkey club deluxe, which unites the classic tomato, bacon, and roast turkey of a club with fresh tossed greens and cranberry chutney. On a plate of steak frites, pan-seared hanger steak soaks in sauce au poivre in the steak frites, and a pair of portobello and garden burgers cure vegetarian cravings. Each of these meals is attended by a side such as grits, coleslaw, or chili-cheese fries, as a frosty brew refs a cage fight between salt and pepper shakers.
A cluster of crystal chandeliers hangs over the sunken dining area, and jet-black tables sit against a wall emblazoned with the name RSVP in a variety of differently sized type. Even with this interplay between classical and thoroughly modern touches, RSVP unwaveringly commits to a timeless spirit of sophistication and elegance. This spirit helps bridge the gap between the low-lit club ambiance and the selection of refined international cuisine that the New York Times described as "a menu of comfort dishes dressed for a party." Chef Seth Levine deftly puts a spin on certain classics while leaving other dishes to the rules of tradition. Beef-tartare tacos invite diners to load miniature taco shells with raw, ground filet mignon, capers, and onions. The 12-ounce filet mignon arrives grilled and simply adorned with a humble red-wine-shallot reduction. Even the all-day brunch menu features a bit of modern flair, with unexpected elements such as flatbreads with smoked salmon, mascarpone, and dill. The common denominator is that every dish includes ingredients from local farms and markets whenever possible. Scattered collections of tables may seem more fitting for dinner than for the post-meal nightlife, but bartenders keep spirits high by mixing as many as 20 different specialty cocktails for patrons to sip and share. Themed nights, live DJ sets, and cabaret performances take place from time to time and keep the atmosphere as entertaining as working at a bubble-wrap factory.
The first IHOP?the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin?opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001. Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
Like the songs of Frank Sinatra—a former regular at the eatery—the Market Diner’s history is full of highs and lows. The hanging lights above the faux-snakeskin booths went dark when the eatery closed down in 2006, but it was too soon for the restaurant’s rich 50-year history to come to an end. The diner is open again today, allowing patrons to feast on the omelets, half-pound burgers, and pies that have fed celebrities including Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, and even notorious gangsters from the ‘70s. An episode of Seinfeld also featured the restaurant in an important scene, which means patrons can revisit a favorite show without putting flowers on Alf’s grave.