Eight Mile Creek unfurls across two floors, transporting New York diners down under with an exotic spread of Australian pub-style cuisine and imported spirits. Splashed in the flickering glow of candlelight, bronze-tiled walls establish the restaurant's rustic feel, as guests browse menus stocked with grilled-kangaroo skewers, burgers, and elegant entrees such as racks of Aussie lamb. On the first floor, live music further inflates casual airs with energized tunes, and themed holiday parties offer visitors an alternative to stuffy office banquets and get-togethers with socially awkward snowmen. During summer months, Aussie beers and New Zealand wines accompany warm breezes on an outdoor patio, where a wooden deck and an exposed-brick walls combine to create a tranquil dining experience.
Prohibition-era New York is paid tribute in this old fashioned ale house in the Lower East Side. The adulation is obvious but thankfully not overwhelming at One Mile House, which sports a tin-tile ceiling, photos of early 1900s New York, hanging globe lights, exposed brick walls and potbelly stove in the back. The beer and food menu, however, follows more contemporary craft trends, with 30 lines on tap – twenty permanent and ten seasonal – and more than fifty bottles to accompany dishes like duck jalapeño poppers, house-made bratwurst and crispy pork belly. Vaunted regulars might even dare to drink 100 beers and earn membership in the One Mile House Society.
Upon walking into Wah Fung #1 Fast Food, customers are greeted by the tantalizing aroma of roasted meats. Then…”whack!”; the steady rhythm of those meats being chopped to order. The owner himself mans the cutting board, slicing up roast pork, chicken, duck, and pig to serve atop beds of rice and vegetables. According to the foodies behind the LauHound blog, the restaurant is known for roast pork glazed in honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, five spices, and fermented bead curd. A few drops of red food coloring give the final dish its distinctive, crimson color. The homemade fish balls are worth a try as well, both as a meal and a particularly difficult type of juggling.
At La Vie Restaurant & Lounge, light from moroccan lamps takes on bright colors and effuses across clouds of sweet hookah smoke between DJs and belly dancers. Patrons carrying plates laden with skewers and pizzas that blend French and Moroccan culinary traditions zigzag between canopied and candlelit booths strewn with crimson and gold throw pillows. Plush red benches and stools, sprawling underneath mirrors set in gilded frames, grant ample views of a hardwood dance floor and a chance for ground-floor investment in new dance moves. Live bands play music until as late as 4 a.m., with themed evenings focusing on specific genres. Glasses overflowing with fruit-infused cocktails chase off lingering spices and clink together in gleeful toasts between walls with textural accents of stone and beaten copper.
Named both for owner Alan Natkiel's former home and the eatery's lovable resident dog, Georgia's Eastside BBQ creates Natkiel's own take on the regional cuisine in feasts of pulled pork, fried catfish, and ribs. The food has earned praise from such publications as The New York Times and Time Out, which called its "aggressively salted, buttermilk-soaked" fried chicken one of the city's best. The key to the Natkiel's succulent barbecue, according to the Times, is a slow steam over beer, a moisture-infusing step that's followed by a finish on the grill. "The meat is lush and tender," they noted, "with heat from spices and a slather of [Natkiel's] own edgy sauce." The idyllic diner-style décor of the cozy interior, with its red-checked tablecloths and art-deco barstools, contrasts nicely with the music piping in through the sound system, treating ears to everything from AC/DC and Motley Crue to A Tribe Called Quest and selections from Laurence Welk's death metal period.
At the center of the platters of miso-soaked steak, intricately marbled Kobe-style short ribs, garlic shrimp, and fresh veggies that crowd any given table at Gyu-Kaku sits a yakiniku grill, ready to bring all these flavors to life. At more than 700 locations worldwide, parties choose from a cornucopia of ingredients, tell their servers how they'd like them marinated—in sauces ranging from the strictly traditional to basil pesto—then begin searing their feast over the smokeless gas grill. New York magazine admired how "dominoes of harami skirt steak, marinated in sweet dark miso, turn caramelized and succulent on the hot grill." If protein overload looms, there are stone bowls of bibimbap and ramen to add balance. Patrons can wash down their meals with super-premium daiginjo sakes, sweet Japanese plum wines, and Asahi Super Dry beer, known to enhance its imbibers' deadpan witticisms.