Though Fushimi Modern Japanese Cuisine & Lounge's menu and daily specials board boast French-inspired fusion food, its sushi is deeply rooted in tradition–and this combination has earned its dishes Zagat ratings and a Michelin recommendation. Chefs may reinterpret the presentation of Japanese staples—such as the tuna sashimi, which they set on broad leaves next to bean-sprout-entangled roe—but they still stay true to traditional flavors. By contrast, cooked fusion entrees tend to incorporate the unconventional, such as the tuna burger with spicy aioli, available on the weekend brunch menu, and the mushroom risotto made with black rice (a dish praised by New York Magazine in their critics' pick review.)
At all locations, the decor also melds old and new. At the bar at the Staten Island location, crimson light filters through a canopy of metallic foliage, casting a moody aura across Buddhist statuettes imported from Asia. The neon-lit Williamsburg location has a sleeker feel, its booths nestled in large circular openings that bring to mind subway tunnels or the oversized portholes of Paul Bunyan's mythical submarine. In Bay Ridge, the stateliness of traditional chandeliers contrasts with the bold colors of wall-sized photographs.
A union of Middle Eastern and Western cultures, Fire N Ice Hookah Bar combines the laid-back charm of a hookah lounge with the music and swank of a nightclub. Customers roam through the electric bi-level space flooded by soft colorful lighting before picking their poison—hookah, drinks, food, or all three.
In the hookah lounge, they curl up on plush sofas cushioned by satiny pillows and reach out every so often to grasp the hookah pipe as it’s passed around, inhaling any one of 25 exotic hookah flavors. The smoke spirals up toward Middle Eastern tapestries hanging overhead or snakes around the top-shelf cocktails perched beside the pipe. It even intermingles briefly with the aromas wafting from Middle Eastern dishes—such as chicken tikka, korma sliders, and kebabs—before vanishing into the air as quickly as a magician at a science fair.
As the night lingers on, Fire N Ice begins its transformation into a full-blown nightclub. Belly dancers take to the stage first, twisting and shimmying across the spacious dance floor. By 11 p.m., the club's three DJs begin spinning top R & B and hip-hop hits intermixed with a few Arabian jams, signaling to guests that it's their turn to hit the floor.
Têtê-à-Têtê customers sup exotic coffee and tea options alongside gourmet pastries and sandwiches in the bistro’s sleek, art-deco-inspired downstairs cafe. The menu of breakfast variations includes choices such as the portobello and swiss cheese omelette ($6.95), which can be put on a croissant ($5.35), wrap ($6.35), or crepe ($7.95). Replenish nutrients after a serious session of urban wakeboarding with lunch paninis and wraps including the caprese, complete with fresh mozzarella, oven-roasted tomatoes, and fresh basil ($6.75).
Steampunk ornamentation colors Georgian-era furnishings at Downhouse, an ornate hangout where vivid fluorescents melt over evocative murals, progressive artwork, and vintage accents. The creative menu complements the unique interior with house-made crepes and made-to-order demi sandwiches piled with veal tongue, roast beef, and lightly cured salmon. With stomachs sated, patrons can peruse the calendar for any number of live events, from tango dancing on Tuesdays to the disc- and bowtie-spinning talents of a DJ on the weekends.
Silvery tendrils of smoke steeped with notes of mandarin, guava, and 16 other hookah flavors uncurl across La Boheme Lounge, where silverware jingles against plates of Italian-influenced dishes. Under the discerning eye of the owner—a professional music producer—DJs spin chill, ambient, lounge, and house music that serves as a rumbling sonic backdrop on two floors. Groups perch atop velvety, merlot-hued seats around low-topped black tables laden with espresso drinks and cocktails, or migrate to the private party room to admire the aquarium or rescue friends trapped by overly chatty fish.