Growing up in the south of France, Laurent Halasz was nourished by some of the finest olive oils and cuisine from the Riviera and Mediterranean coastal regions. He created Fig & Olive with his mother, Francine, in order to bring those ingredients and flavors to New York and California. His culinary team has returned to his home village to participate in Les Étoiles de Mougins, an annual gastronomical summit of some of the world's best chefs. Spearheading Halasz's commitment to authenticity is Executive Chef Pascal Lorange, who has trained with three-star Michelin Chef Georges Blanc and, according to the Los Angeles Times, prepared meals for the likes of President Obama, singer Julio Iglesias, Oscar de la Renta, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, and the Clinton family.
Lorange prepares or finishes virtually all of his small plates, entrees, and desserts with olive oils that diners can sample at the tasting bar or take home to fragrantly lubricate squeaky doors. Emily DeNitto of the New York Times found that the rosemary-garlic olive oil "brought out the earthy taste of grilled lamb chops," and "paired winningly with chive gnocchi and roasted eggplant." Diners share conversation and wines from France, Italy, and Spain at the marble communal table, which often glistens with zucchini carpaccio and imported charcuterie, cheese, and olives.
In addition to the welcoming, jovial ambiance, the restaurant's design invokes the leisurely Mediterranean. Limestone-stucco walls, tall ceilings, and green rosemary and olive trees inspired New York magazine to liken the café to "a ray of Provençal sunshine."
In 2010, Rustico Ristorante owners Nello Tizzano and Anna Macciocco wanted to change things up. So, they transformed the restaurant's rustic decor and rolled out a sleek, modern concept—ZáZá Italian Kitchen. Now, live music reverberates against red walls that surround hand-painted tables and a red marble bar with lighting that changes color. Within that updated space, however, a wood-fired oven covered in white mother-of-pearl tile and imported from Naples roots the restaurant in its origins: authentic old-country cuisine.
The New York Times called that oven “a structure of wonder…that does its job splendidly” as it cooks pies topped with ingredients such as spicy calabrese salami and housemade mozzarella. This, along with the shmoos that live under every table, is part of what makes ZáZá “one of the more accomplished pizzerias around.” The oven also bakes 100% Angus beef burgers and all-beef frankfurters wrapped in pizza dough. Nello and Anna’s culinary team crafts more traditional Italian dishes, too, including housemade gnocchi and meatballs wrapped in eggplant.
Hurricane Grill & Wings showcases its library of more than 30 sauces in dishes that blend American, Mexican, and tropical influences. Their sauces' level of spiciness mimics hurricane intensity ratings, from the honey or mango barbecue options occupying Category 1 to the Ridiculously Hot Hurricane sauce in Category 5. In between sit flavors of ancho chili and lime, jamaican jerk, chipotle raspberry, and spicy sweet chili. Baskets of jumbo or boneless wings come tossed in guests’ sauces of choice, as do grilled chicken or mahi-mahi sandwiches.
Elsewhere on the menu are tropically themed selections such as firecracker shrimp tacos, Southwest-style churrasco steak, and Monterey jack-filled quesadillas, while the to-go menu can accommodate large gatherings, such as sports-watching parties or jury-duty reunions. Meanwhile, bottle and tap beers from Abita, Harpoon, Redhook, and many other breweries help subdue roaring mouth fires.
Chef Alvaro Camilo curates a culturally diverse selection of pastas, seafood, and steaks at Zagat-rated Caffé Azzurri. With a bar and two dining rooms, the eatery facilitates romantic, chandelier-lit dinners as easily as it enables quick glasses of wine with friends or sentient glasses of wine. Entrees marry the rustic traditions of Italian cuisine with the eclectic flavors of American recipes to create both classic entrees, such as potato gnocchi with basil pesto béchamel, and contemporary dishes, including the sesame Ahi tuna in a plum-ginger glaze. The décor may be the food’s most flattering garnish, as The New York Times lauds the venue's "lovely fixtures [that] cast a subdued glow on wood-paneled walls" and its "handsome wide-slatted window blinds," which block the bustle of the street outside.
For some folks, 15 hours is the perfect amount of time to marathon watch a TV show or crab walk home from work. The pitmasters at D & A Smokehouse, however, put that time to slightly better use. 15 hours is exactly how long it takes for them to slow-smoke their pulled pork to perfection. Other meats, such as brisket and St. Louis ribs, require slightly less time—14 and 5 hours— respectively—only hitting the smoker after they've been smothered in D & A's secret spice rubs. Chicken wings, meanwhile, are brined in house-made sweet tea, and make a perfect accompaniment to craft beers available by the draft or bottle. And, in true old-school barbecue joint fashion, cooks also heap plates full of sides such as burnt-end baked beans and house-made, gluten-free slaw to accompany the meaty main dishes.
Everything about Industry 80 Salon—the brainchild of Dominic Trupia and Geo Greco—is a work of modern art, from their cut and coloring services to their décor. Beneath high ceilings with exposed ductwork, the stylists fashion chic cuts in sculpturesque metal stations flanked by neon purple lighting. Their specialties also include Brazilian blow outs and coloring, using Pureology and Redken products, as advertised by the nearly floor-to-ceiling photo of two very chic and aloof hair models on one of the white brick walls. While most of their services revolve around the creation of new ‘dos, techs are also available to perform laser-hair removal, facials, and makeup applications.