Desmond's executive chef David Hart, who honed his culinary craft while cooking for London's royal family, sates sophisticated palates with an elegant tasting menu of cross-continental cuisine procured from local, organic ingredients. The tasting experience for two takes place in Desmond's dining room, a former federal bank building replete with a stately bar, vaulted ceilings, white-linen tablecloths, and ghostly piles of legal tender. Meals commence with a champagne toast (a $9 value each) and starters of chilled corn soup (a $14 value) or shaved fennel, pear, and parmesan salad (a $13 value). For the main course, diners may choose between delicate fillets of signature dover sole, grilled lovingly with shrimp butter and embraced by charred lemon (a $52 value), or flavorful lamb drizzled with mint-and-chili jelly (a $33 value). Each guest tucks into a choice of six side dishes, such as decadent duvets of truffle mac ‘n’ cheese or silken sheets of sautéed baby spinach (a $9 value each). End meals on sprite notes with the summer lemon pudding (a $9 value each), swirled with hints of sugar to dissuade embarrassing mouth puckers.
With more than 10,000 brands of champagne in the world, how do you choose which ones to try? You could close your eyes and throw a dart at the shelf in a wine store?or, you could have a champagne expert narrow down the selection to a couple hundred kinds, and taste them at a lavish party.
The Night of Champagne is such a party, curated by the Champagne Sommelier and set inside Ambassador Wine and Spirits. On both floors of the store, guests snack on hors d'oeuvres and sample myriad champagnes, comparing vintages, non-vintages, and ros?s. Those with VIP tickets, meanwhile, participate in a speed tasting of high-end brands, including Dom Perignon, Krug, and Cristal.
For the uninitiated, caviar and the culture that surrounds it may seem shrouded in mystery. Not so at Olma Caviar Boutique & Bar, where the caviar options are laid out in front of you behind a panel of curved glass. Here, dozens of red and black caviar varieties tempt palates: the current selection includes sturgeon-sourced Russian Osetra Karat caviar and red salmon caviar, whose bright red orbs burst with sweetness. Guests can take their roe on blinis, open-face sandwiches, or paired with other gourmet eats such as smoked lox and foie gras. To add even more elegance, Olma also offers espresso bar drinks as well as wine, champagne, and cocktails.
Mozzarella-drenched steak heroes, crab cakes with housemade tartar sauce and corn relish, a full bar of domestic and imported brews, plus cocktails. There are plenty of palate-pleasing reasons that Brooklyn Colony endures in neighborhood hearts, and its atmosphere??flanked by brick and red walls??only charms further. But for many, Brooklyn Colony's biggest draw is its calendar. Chock-full of entertainment and interactive events, the restaurant's agenda book is as stuffed as its mushroom- and cheese-laden portobello burger, and as creative as its treble clef chowder. Blues bands, Beatles brunches, karaoke, and jam sessions are among the establishment's friendship-fomenting activities.
At Levity Live Comedy Club, renowned comedians such as Kevin Nealon and Susie Essman have graced the same stage as up-and-coming comics including Elliot Chang and Sam Morril. In addition to its live shows and a variety of pub grub and drinks, the club also offers classes through Manhattan Comedy School. Eight-week sessions help fledgling comedians with everything from developing a persona to lightening up a goldfish’s funeral.
Dolly Parton, Celia Cruz, and Liza Minnelli make larger-than-life appearances at Divine NYC, a cabaret-style restaurant where performers conjure these divas through female impersonation. The show schedule changes, but whoever appears on stage keeps things interesting with song- and comedy-routines sprinkles through brunch and dinner. As the performers sing, dance, and banter, diners select dishes from the eclectic menu, which features American, Caribbean, Italian, and Tex-Mex specialties.