Tongues of flame twist in a fireplace, hinting at the warmth filling the bustling kitchen at MK Valencia. Rail lighting spills a blue aura over dishes that draw from myriad culinary traditions. Mediterranean flavors shine through in salmon drizzled in a pesto sauce and lamb osso bucco. In the dining room, glasses clink occasionally like a xylophonist failing a performance review, setting a tempo for the wait staff, which totes roasted salmon in a pesto sauce.
A curtain of bubbles rises up through champagne cocktails in lively colors that match the crescent-shaped orange booths or electric-blue wine racks. During warmer months, the murmur of conversation spills out onto a patio draped with live plants.
Combining coffeehouse cool with club beats, Sip Bar entices patrons with an inventive array of international eats for brunch, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant delights morning diners with rise-and-shineables such as granola and yogurt ($7) or eggs in a basket, a more portable alternative to orange juice in a butterfly net ($10). Tongues in need of a tasty wakeup are treated to frothy, creamy cappuccinos ($4). Later in the day, small wooden tables cheerily grumble beneath the weight of roasted eggplant sandwiches, stuffed with garlic, roasted red pepper and mozzarella ($9), garlic shrimp ($17), and Hungarian-style goulash with potato dumplings ($20). Sip serves its full menu every day until 4 a.m., ensuring that hungry night owls needn't gnaw on coasters or deep-fried napkin rings.
Behind Brownstone Lounge's doors, exposed brick, neon lights, and thumping beats underscore patrons' bubbly conversations over plates of tapas-style fare and ice-cold drinks served straight from a chilled drink dome. On comfy couches scattered throughout the restaurant, diners nosh on small plates ranging in style from Latin or French fusion such as mango fish tacos with chipotle sauce and sautéed mussels in white whine sauce, to comforting pub grub such as buffalo chicken wings and mac 'n' cheese wedges. Beer, wine, sangria, and cocktails complement meals, and all of the lounge's vodka flows straight from a drink dome chilled to negative 32 degrees, the precise temperature of a broken heart. The space is also decked out with jukeboxes, allowing guests to express musical preferences without climbing onto the bar and belting out their favorite showtunes.
Surrounding its 24 oil-slicked lanes with exposed-brick walls, an arcade, and private VIP lounges, Harlem Lanes complements the thrill of striking down pins with the relaxed atmosphere of a swanky nightclub. Anchoring the two-story space, a sports bar serves drinks and food under the glow of flat-screen TVs, and couches throughout the facility allow bowlers to kick up their feet after celebrating strikes with mock tap dances. The ambience gets funky on Friday and Saturday, when live DJs and glow-in-the-dark bowling loosening up straitlaced pins.
The cooks at Feelgood Italian Fusion Grill split their time between preparing traditional Italian fare and familiar American comfort foods. Sautéed orders of veal scaloppini and chicken marsala can emerge from the kitchen alongside grill-seared burgers and 16-ounce cuts of New York sirloin steak, which are gently tenderized by the kitchen's own massage therapist. The dining room evokes a similarly casual ambience with its sconce-lit, neutral-toned walls and plush booths.
From the expertly mixed drinks to the forward-looking entrees inspired by classic American eats, Bleu Violin has hipness at the top of its agenda. There, bartenders shake, muddle, and stir together martinis as club-bound guests split upscale appetizers such as nachos topped with lump crab and shrimp or southern-fried chicken wings tossed in a choice of four sauces. Live music adds a sleek soundtrack most nights of the week, laying down a lively beat best suited for mingling or muttering all the curse words you’ve been storing up all day.