Ra Pour's executive chef, Greg Stillman, draws upon culinary wisdom culled from stints at famed restaurant The French Laundry to curate upscale renditions of comfort fare, nabbing buzz from Taste Terminal and a dozen other media outlets. An open kitchen affords prime views of chefs as they garnish pizzas with handmade mozzarella and truffle oil before tossing them into a wood-fired oven. Succulent meats from local farms boast exotic flourishes such as North African–style harissa, Buddha’s hand marmalade, and a single unicorn tear. Live beats flow from a raised DJ platform toward the bar, where mixologists fashion original cocktails against a backdrop of dramatic green and purple lighting.
Housed in a former lemon warehouse, Casablanca Bar & Grill fills spacious eating areas with the aromas of piquant Mediterranean cuisine. Chefs skewer beef, chicken, shrimp, and lamb kebabs and sauté seafood such as scallops and frog legs. Tender falafel balls can be dunked into tahini sauce or rolled across white tablecloths into the mouth of a dinner companion.
Live entertainment at Casablanca Bar & Grill engages eyes as well as mouths. On Friday nights, belly dancers swivel their hips as they weave through wisps of smoke from flavored hookahs. Paintings in ornate gilt frames keep watch over the festivities, and an outside wooden deck lets diners watch the sky for menu recommendations spelled out in clouds.
Bartenders mix more than 30 specialty martinis at Lounge 33, a riverside bar that owes its sophistication to owners Angela and George Tavaglione. The owners’ extensive menu of mixed drinks includes nods to highbrow entertainment, including The Godfather, a drink that fuses Johnnie Walker Green Label and Disaronno amaretto, or the Dirt and Spice martini, an avant-garde combination of Absolut Peppar and olive juice, Tapatio hot sauce, and lemon. Though the focus is on mixed drinks, the Tavagliones also stock wine and beer, while their skilled cooks prepare flatbread pizzas and italian meatball sandwiches guaranteed not to pop a meatball out and send it rolling to the top of Mount Smokey.
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.
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.
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.