In the Tao Restaurant kitchen, chefs labor over stoves during the three-day process of crafting housemade noodles and broth for their authentic Japanese ramen dishes. Iron grills sizzle with the meats and seafood of Japanese teppanyaki and teriyaki entrees, and sushi chefs slice up colorful maki rolls, adorning them with flourishes of cucumber flowers, slivers of radish, and intricately sculpted dollops of wasabi. Servers bear plates out into the dining room, where sunlight pours in through towering windows onto sleek tabletops. Nearby, pots of bamboo shake gently as though they were caught in a ge
For Avi and Michaella Ben-Ari, opening a restaurant was an obvious step to take together. Avi's keen mind for business and his entrepreneurial experience, coupled with chef Michaella's degree from Tadmor Culinary Arts school in Tel-Aviv, made for a natural partnership. With the goal of introducing area diners to the warmth and hospitality inherent to Middle Eastern dining rooms, the Ben-Aris and their staff fill the restaurant with the aromas of handmade dishes and photos of each diner's grandmother. They make all of their Levantine staples from scratch, crafting them only with organic vegetables and meats. In the bustling kitchen, chefs eschew canned and frozen ingredients for healthful ones such as fire-grilled eggplant, antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken, and freshly diced tomatoes and cucumbers.
Home of Chicken and Waffles is an upscale '60s-themed diner with a full bar of specialty cocktails to complement the menu of hearty comfort fare. As chefs load Southern-style or gravy-smothered chicken onto plates next to signature waffles, Motown grooves fill the dining room?unless it's Sunday, when gospel music reigns. Homestyle sides such as grits, greens, and candied yams trim plates of crispy chicken. The kitchen prides itself on using fresh ingredients?real milk and cheese make the mac 'n' cheese creamy, and real beans prove tastier than holographic beans. Every dish is named after a member of the owner's family, who gaze down on patrons from vibrant portraits behind the counter.
Fuchsia and blue lights cast cream curtains and plush white couches in the last shades of sunset. DJs reinforce the feeling that a thrilling night is just falling by spinning pulsating electronica. The murmur of conversation drifts from the lounge-like dining area to a sushi bar, where chefs twist together maki with white tuna, snow crab, tobiko, and smoked sea salt. Towering stalks of bamboo sway overhead, as though one has traveled to the east or at least sleepwalked into a panda enclosure.
Executive chef Vanessa Dang follows up her first blockbuster of French-inspired Vietnamese dishes with this intimate sequel promising elegant small-plate options and explosive flavors. The menu pokes sleepy taste buds with shareable small plates such as maple-leaf duck-confit lettuce wraps ($9) and tuna-and-salmon poke with ginger, avocado, mango, and cucumber-and-tomato salsa ($9). Full-sized entrees combine intercontinental palates with mouth-warping orders of cumin-marinated jumbo prawns and garlic noodles ($16) or a rack of lamb marinated with Dijon-mustard peppercorn in a Bing-cherry reduction ($25). Fill out abridged meals with a glass from the saga-worthy, 150-bottle wine list or a sweet-tooth-regaling Fuji-apple-and-coconut egg roll ($8).
• For $65, you get the Dr. Renaud facial makeover (a $130 value). • For $129, you get three laser hair-removal sessions (up to a $285 value). Mi Casa's expert staff make over faces and smooth away unwanted hair in a 3,000-square-foot spa. During Dr. Renaud's expertly designed makeover, clients relax in included robes and slippers as dermis aficionados thoroughly analyze skin and apply a cosmetic peel that leaves faces as pure as a soft-spoken golden goose. A hydrating serum replenishes parched pores, and a Lumilift mask smoothes, lifts, and tightens face canvases. Skilled hands deftly paint skin in complexion enhancers packed with horse chestnut to decongest heads and bolster microcirculation. Finally, mascara thickens eyelashes and a Diva lip-plumping balm renders mouths ready to kiss nearby puppies.