In 1997, Chef Hok Chin moved to New York City from Hong Kong, where he’d been in training with some of the city’s finest chefs since age 14. Though his culinary talents were already formidable, the ambitious young chef faced a hurdle he couldn’t simply spatula himself over: the English language. Undaunted, he headed back to work the humblest kitchen positions and scrabbled his way back to the top at establishments such as Tavern on the Green, The Mark Hotel, and most recently, La Caravelle. In 2010, the multinational gourmet teamed up with nightlife impresario Brian Rosenberg, and the duo’s new venture, Sugar Dining Den and Social Club, drove Joanne Starkey of the New York Times to rave, “The food is delicious—much better than it has to be—and the service is excellent.”
Something between a nightclub and a fine-dining establishment, Sugar immediately immerses its guests in a world of bright lights, pulsing beats, and an arrestingly modern architectural scheme that sets a decorative forest of tree branches beneath a looming vaulted ceiling. After a dinner of gourmet fusion cuisine, such as Pacific Rim skirt steak with green chili potatoes and hand-cut sweet potato fries with maple-chipotle barbecue sauce, the eating area transforms into a dance floor soundtracked by some of today’s most popular DJs. The cocktail list keeps the party rolling late into the night with charmingly titled offerings such as the Black and White Cookie and the Swedish Fish.
The chalkboard that wraps around the top of Vinoco's bar welcomes guests in five languages, no doubt a nod to its menu, which boasts tapas dishes and entrees representing Spanish, Italian, Greek, Pan-Asian, and Latin American flavors. The New York Times awarded the intimate eatery its top rating, raving that the selections are "head and shoulders above the usual tapas-bar clichés." Chef Carlos Roman—originally from Peru, according to the New York Times —prepares complexly flavored dishes such as rock-shrimp quesadillas with paprika, mango salsa, and monterey cheese. Taking cues from its food-bearing counterpart, the wine list culls nearly 50 varietals imported from Europe, Australia, and South America that can be purchased by the bottle, poured into glasses, or broken over an attractive guest's head to christen them as your new friend.
Prime Time Butcher still wraps cuts of fresh meat in charming paper parcels. Owned by the same family for more than 30 years, the shop ages cuts of Prime beef, from chopped sirloin to london broil, in Prime Time's dry coolers alongside USDA Choice cuts such as standing rib roast. The shop's Bliss Burger patties are conjured from a blend of ground brisket and short ribs.
Prime Time Butcher also stocks a cornucopia of prepared foods, such as beef lasagna and beef-stuffed cabbage, or classic sandwich fillings such as genoa salami and Boar's Head bologna. Customers can custom-order catering and party packages to feed hungry partiers with entrees such as chicken marsala and eggplant parmesan, sides of teriyaki rice and house-made potato chips, and platters of cookies that disguise Cookie Monster's jury summons.
Within Willy Parkers, cherry-colored wood tables and chairs invite diners to sit and feast upon a menu of classic American fare that spotlights local seafood, high-end cuts of meat, and free-range chicken. In 2011, the New York Times lauded chef Eric Engvaldsen's recently revamped menu, highlighting his cooked-to-order burgers, steamed mussels, and house-crafted desserts. As diners sup on Eric's eye-catching dinner dishes or peruse the late-night bar menu, an extensive beer list calms thirsts with plentiful hops and gently whispered bedtime stories.
The warm brown and white palate of rich leather and crisp white tablecloths at Mim's sets the tone for the elegant yet humble menus of New American bistro cuisine. Open for both lunch and dinner, a wide variety of starters and entrees accommodate diners of many preferences—including gluten-free—in the evenings. After meals, browse the menu of housemade desserts before digging spoons into classic bananas foster or a Mim's dessert sampler than includes a trio of signature sweets.
A full-service printing shop, Greek Corner bedazzles bare shirts, hats, uniforms, and other wearables with custom-designed logos, courtesy of its in-house art department. Whether you need a single bespoke baseball cap commemorating the ingestion of an unusually large sandwich or 400 tackle-twill embroidered team jerseys for the college cheese-rolling championships, Greek Corner will determine the right price and turnaround time to make it happen. Fraternities and sororities, meanwhile, can monogram their house loyalties in vinyl lettering onto a broad range of shirts, formal loincloths, and a variety of American Apparel and Gildan activewear.