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.
At Tava Grill and Lounge, owner and chef Punita Patel infuses her seasonal menu with Indian flavors and fresh, local ingredients. The paneer fajita tacos, for instance, ooze authenticity along with housemade cilantro mint chutney that can double as smelling salts for a food-comatose date. The seafood biryani paella evokes both India and Spain with a blend of shrimp, mussels, squid, and crab in a creamy curry sauce.
A separate menu in the lounge marries the food of India and California, as the atmosphere fuses nightclub and fine-dining establishment. Beside a softly lit bar, benches and ottomans are scattered around low tables, which break up regular tables and booths without the staff having to dig trenches around each.
New Wave Restaurant transports diners back to the 1980s with a variety of 20th-century artifacts and an eclectic spread of American cuisine named after 80s icons, movies, and musicians. Upon walking through the Pac-Man-themed entrance, guests are consumed by a vortex of 80s memorabilia, which grants glimpses of authentic posters and framed records lining interior walls as Rubik's cubes and figurines of 80s characters pepper the checkered bar. A menu of finger-friendly eats such as the Ferris Bueller buffalo wings prepare palates for heartier fare, such as the Billy Idol bacon burger and Pee-wee Herman pasta. Additionally, themed events help amplify the multisense smorgasbord, including nights devoted to such 80s nostalgia as Star Wars and the passage of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
Silk Lounge mixes nature and culture with its sleek yet cozy ambience, spacious patio, carefully crafted libations, and nightly entertainment. Guests seeking solace may retreat to a private booth to puff on a fine cigar ($8+), and revelers seeking a pleasant campfire vibe without rubbing two guitars together until they burst into flames can enjoy company at the patio's fire pit. Meanwhile, more than 20 varieties of single-malt scotch rest on hand to warm bellies, including an Auchentoshan old enough to drink itself (premium drinks are $12). A range of unique Chinese and Japanese wines can greet the tongue ($9 per glass), and a cool beer ($5) crisply complements an appetizer of chicken wings or calamari ($12+).
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.
Cantina Lounge accommodates a sensory feast of traditional Mexican cuisine, televised sports, and DJ entertainment under one lively roof. Slide into a secluded booth with friends and compare designer swim goggles under the sleek backdrop of dark etched wood, moody candles, and distressed steel. Tongue-tingling margaritas pair finely with intrepid fusion tastes, such as the mini Shanghai tacos—four corn tortillas steaming with Asian-infused carne asada, mexican and sesame slaws, lime, and queso fresco ($7.99). Furnish empty tables with the torta sandwiches, which tower with select meats, garnishes, guacamole, and sides of beer-battered fries ($12.99), or complement star-spangled bibs with patriotic sauce dollops from the baby-back ribs ($11.99 or $18.99 each).