Start with a creamy platter of hummus ($4.75), garlic fries ($3.50), or sweet red beets blended with yogurt ($2.95). Main courses at Ali Baba's run the gamut from a full falafel plate ($11.95), served with pita, hummus, and salad shirazi, to seasoned and grilled lamb chops ($14.95). Meat shunners will appreciate the veggie wrap ($7.95), packed heavy with grilled eggplant, zucchini, colorful peppers, tomato, pickle, onion, and hummus. For dessert, sample a frothy piece of tiramisu ($4.95) or Persian ice cream flavored with rosewater, saffron, and pistachio ($4.95).
When they’re not competing in the World Salsa Championships on ESPN and placing in the top 10, Sergio Jasso and Gabriela Equiz-Jasso lead the team of pro instructors at Alma Latina Dance Company. There, they specialize in instruction for students of all ages and skill levels. Whether during private lessons or group classes, the instructors can expertly impart skills in styles such as ballet, mambo, salsa, cumbia, bachata, and rhythm and technique.
Lei Lounge serves up a roster of rich, savory dishes, culling inspiration from both sides of the Pacific Ocean. Roll up with a group of peckish pals and dig into a shareable meal, such as the loaded nachos, adorned with chili-spiced beef or chicken, black olives, black beans, guacamole, jalapeño peppers, and cheese ($12). The Kobe beef hotdog sliders pair tubular meats with a trio of mustard dipping sauces that complement each other better than a bikini with a matching monocle.
Pole Sinsations sets the stage for its sassy dance style by promoting positivity and self-confidence while female students explore a new art form. A roster of classes considers both the fledgling dancer and sentient barbershop marquees with a graduated curriculum for students of all levels of pole familiarity. Instructors closely guide newbies through Intro to Pole Fitness, in which ladies learn proper hand and foot placement as well as basic spins, all sandwiched between a body-protecting warm-up and cooldown. As dancers advance, they work to spice up the choreography with more challenging spins, off-the-floor inversions, and the elusive upside-down light-bulb change. Specialty sessions fold flirtation into classic routines, as students saunter through chair and lap dances or wield canes, top hats, and gloves for a feisty burlesque number. For each class, women should don comfy shorts, tank tops, and their choice of 4–6 inch heels or sexy wading galoshes.
Zen Cafe’s chefs have honed the art of inventive hand rolls, working in the media of seaweed, sushi rice, and fresh fish. Serious dinner diners can loosen up chopstick implants with manila-fried chicken skewers ($7) or a sashimi trifecta of maguro, hamachi, and nama sake pieces ($16). Wrapped-up eight-piece edibles include the assertive Seal the Deal roll ($11), stocked with crab and avocado before being deep-fried and decorated with shrimp, avocado, and eel sauce, and the classic california roll ($7). Brave eaters can conquer the Godzilla roll ($11), loaded with spicy tuna and tempura-fried, then garnished with a seaweed salad, seared tuna, and sriracha—a traditional sauce made from sun-ripened chilis and one-a-day whale vitamins. Swigs of Midori melon sake ($7) soothe hard-tasting tongues, and creamy swallows of white-chocolate-glazed ricotta cheesecake ($5) prep throats for singing to tunes on the dance floor.
Sooner or later, your girlfriend is going to figure out that all those fancy restaurants are just your bedroom redecorated with a new elaborate disguise each week. Today's Groupon will help you postpone the inevitable by throwing a real fancy restaurant into the mix. For $20, you’ll get $45 worth of sophisticated American fare and drinks at Fifth Avenue’s Urban Bar and Grill. Your taste buds will leap for joy under the spell of live entertainment, an extended happy hour, and pleasing tableware.