It didn’t take long for Brian Kozak to discover his passion for food: at the age of three, after he first tried shrimp cocktail and crème brulee, he would spend hours leafing through cookbooks and family recipes in his parents’ kitchen. His fascination with food led him to build an impressive culinary resume: after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu, Brian spent four years cooking for Bon Appetit, opened his own catering company, and learned how to fold a puff pastry according to army-bed making standards. Today, he demonstrates his culinary prowess as the resident Chef at Sage Restaurant and Lounge. Kozak’s influences span the globe: try the Spanish saffron paella with chorizo and shrimp, or any of six 10-inch pizzas. The dining room also has global flair, from its Tuscan yellow walls to its terra cotta tile floors.
With a name that translates to “a little of everything,” it's no surprise that the seasonally changing menu of Cafe Mundial includes dishes such as steamed mussels with shallot cream sauce, duck confit, fresh pastas, and filet mignon with bordelaise sauce. In the kitchen, chefs add zesty wasabi vinaigrette to seared ahi-tuna appetizers and top personal pizzas with goat cheese, fresh basil, and monogrammed sun-dried tomatoes. The extensive wine list includes crisp California chardonnays, bold cabernets, and sparkling pours to pair with dinner entrees or new ties. Diners may opt to slide into a booth or jump onto stools at the full bar to watch sports or cheer on bartenders during martini preparation.
Silk Lounge mixes nature and culture with its sleek yet cozy ambience, spacious patio, carefully crafted libations, and nightly entertainment. Guests seeking solace may retreat to a private booth to puff on a fine cigar ($8+), and revelers seeking a pleasant campfire vibe without rubbing two guitars together until they burst into flames can enjoy company at the patio's fire pit. Meanwhile, more than 20 varieties of single-malt scotch rest on hand to warm bellies, including an Auchentoshan old enough to drink itself (premium drinks are $12). A range of unique Chinese and Japanese wines can greet the tongue ($9 per glass), and a cool beer ($5) crisply complements an appetizer of chicken wings or calamari ($12+).
8Eightyeight Cigar Merchants serves delectable libations and cultivates cigar-chomping camaraderie within a private facility that fuses elements of a cigar lounge, pool hall, and sports bar. The club's massive walk-in humidor houses brand-name cigars for members to puff away on while monitoring news and sports such as pay-per-view UFC fights on a cluster of flat-screen TVs arranged in front of comfy leather chairs or while shooting pool within the white-brick billiards room. In addition to members-only cigar and alcohol tastings, 8Eightyeight Cigar Merchants hosts a plentitude of private fundraisers, corporate events, and parties for Groucho Marx enthusiasts.
Cantina Lounge accommodates a sensory feast of traditional Mexican cuisine, televised sports, and DJ entertainment under one lively roof. Slide into a secluded booth with friends and compare designer swim goggles under the sleek backdrop of dark etched wood, moody candles, and distressed steel. Tongue-tingling margaritas pair finely with intrepid fusion tastes, such as the mini Shanghai tacos—four corn tortillas steaming with Asian-infused carne asada, mexican and sesame slaws, lime, and queso fresco ($7.99). Furnish empty tables with the torta sandwiches, which tower with select meats, garnishes, guacamole, and sides of beer-battered fries ($12.99), or complement star-spangled bibs with patriotic sauce dollops from the baby-back ribs ($11.99 or $18.99 each).
With a name that salutes the community centers that filled Rio de Janeiro in the 19th century, Boteco beckons all walks of life to eat and drink at its contemporary wooden bartop and sleek, square tables. Historically, these centers incorporated the region's diverse array of northern European, Mediterranean, and Arabian cuisines, and Boteco continues this tradition.
In addition to crisping pizzas made from locally sourced ingredients, the chefs simmer pots of Portuguese stew with cod and potatoes, and arrange sizzling sirloin next to rice, black beans, Brazilian pico de gallo, and caramelized plantains. The chefs also use tiny kitchen tools to construct small bites of tapas and appetizers, all while bartenders whet whistles and other woodwind instruments with 50 domestic and imported craft beers alongside wines and mixed drinks.