At Conga’s Bar & Lounge, the weekend begins on Thursday night, when DJs set up their decks for the first of three straight evenings of musical mixology. They lob Latin and Top 40 beats through the venue, caroming subtle bass lines and fervent tempos off the Cuban-themed décor.
All week long Conga’s kitchen slings wings spun in signature sauces, such as cranberry honey mustard, Louisiana ranch, and a Jack Daniel’s zest. Bartenders pour pitchers from 11 beers on tap, and they also dice fruit for sangria and shake exotic cocktails, such as the electric-red or blue fishbowl, named for its globe-like cup and ice cubes shaped like tiny plastic castles.
The Cue Bar is the place to go for beers and sliders with your buddies after work, or a glass of wine after the movie during a hot date, or on a nice day just because. This is a centrist joint, a community-oriented spot, a place with something for everyone, and with special appeal to locals. "NYDaily News.com"
During Puerto Rico's long history, Spanish, Tainos, and African cultures have contributed to the country's culinary tradition, leaving behind cuisine defined by exotic spices and simple cooking styles such as braising and grilling. After visiting the island and sampling many dishes themselves, Siete Ocho Siete’s owners wanted to honor the tastes of the island’s globe-hopping flavors. At their restaurant, chefs designed menus that highlight Puerto Rico’s signature ingredients: the alcapurria’s taro root and plantains arrive stuffed with seasoned ground beef, and the chillo entero al volante presents a whole red snapper filled with fragrant coconut rice. Meals arrive in an interior shot through with festive decor: the walls are brightly painted, umbrellas peek out of frosty cocktails, and tables dress up in freshly pressed white cloths. On some nights, the lilt of live musicians regales diners with mid-meal music, and a wave room with bay views supplies a romantic setting for dates or mermaids catching a meal between shifts.
When he decided to open a hookah bar, Farrukh Pakal knew that one thing had to be perfect: the seating. “If my body is not relaxed,” he reasoned, “I cannot relax my mind.” So, within Silk Hookah Lounge's cherry-colored walls, guests’ backsides will not bounce into a single hard-backed chair. Couches and sofas sprawl throughout the space, inviting patrons to linger over teas imported from Pakistan or hot chocolates sprinkled with coconut, cinnamon, or vanilla. And, perhaps most importantly, the cushy seating cradles holders of Egyptian glass hookahs. Like anger over an incorrectly punctuated parking ticket, these slowly burn for up to three hours, releasing scents of chocolate, mint, lemon, apple, or other fresh fruits into the air.
While enjoying their hookahs, groups can grab cards, dominoes, or other games as LED lights splash a rainbow of colors overhead. On weekends, DJs infuse the flavorful airwaves with music.
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.
Whether it's the family history, the spices, or the fresh ingredients that give Don Coqui's food its flavor, the results have the potential to dazzle the taste buds. Classic Puerto Rican dishes and American staples sit side-by-side on the expansive menu—though it's nothing compared to the wine list—with braised oxtail and plantain-crusted red snapper sailing to tables as swiftly as the rib and chicken combo and the porterhouse for two. Abuelita's tres leches cake and coconut flan with a deep caramel glaze add a hint of indulgence at the tail end of evenings, and wines from far-flung locales can be savored by the glass, bottle, or incredibly tiny spoon.
The Rodriguez culinary dynasty was born in the Bronx, where Jimmy Rodriguez, Sr. set up shop beneath a bridge and sold fresh seafood to passersby. Jimmy Rodriguez, Jr. took his father's love of food and doubled down, opening beloved restaurants across the city. Both his recipes and his passion inspired his children, who've turned that passion into the Don Coqui restaurants. Each aims to be a place where food, wine, and salsa dancing bring people together—something of a family tradition. It's like bowling on Christmas Eve, only better and with more paella. Their flavors have also made them a "Worth It" dining destination by the The New York Times.