Senses come alive when sitting on the plush red couches at Kasbah Hookah Lounge. The sounds of DJs spinning tracks sync with the rhythmic movements of exotically clad belly dancers roaming from table to table, weaving through clouds of aromatic hookah smoke. Customers can puff on more than 85 flavor combinations of the house’s 24 Starbuzz shishas, including classic options such as mango, or pairings such as honey, vanilla, and mint. The house also crafts their own signature blends for the five VIP flavors, including cinnamon toast crunch, which pairs apple, cinnamon, and banana. Bottles of wine and pints of beer accompany hookahs on the table, providing all of the fillers for a comfortable night out without having to lug around childhood teddy bears.
Executive Chef Dana Oddo draws from culinary skills cultivated from his time in the Memphis barbecue scene at Fuego Picante, where she fuses modern Mexican food with smokehouse barbecue fare. The restaurant's decor mirrors this savory synthesis, playfully blending sophisticated light fixtures and streamlined furnishings with whimsical flourishes, such as a mural of a cowboy. This serves as the perfect setting for Chef Oddos' warm and contemporary fare: tamales, chicken taquitos, and shrimp Creole all share menu space with mojitos that are freshly squeezed from the fruit of the 80-proof-rum tree.
Chef Ricardo Cardona might be from El Salvador, but that doesn’t mean his cooking sticks to tradition. At Mamajuana Café, he draws on more than 25 years of cooking to build his modern cuisine on a foundation of his homeland’s centuries-old cooking traditions. And it seems like his efforts have paid off: his Nuevo Latino dishes, which also prominently feature Dominican flavors, earned the eatery a Critics’ Pick designation from New York magazine. All that attention might be on account of the chef’s inventive flavor combinations, such as sweet plantains stuffed with salted cod, chicken-tempura sushi rolls, and Cornish game hen topped with diced chorizo and lobster. In the dining space, tufted leather banquettes run along the wall just beneath studio lighting and backlit artwork. Bright red and earth-tone curtains give the room a clublike vibe, which set the tone for when diners take to the dance floor between courses.
At Raxx Pool Room, Sports Bar & Grill, rows of pool tables gleam under bright lights, waiting for the clatter of opening breaks and thuds of 8 balls sinking into called pockets. As expert or novice players line up their cues on the pristine felt, ample space around the tables allows for game attempts at tricky shots or rounds of Hokey Pokey to calm nerves. True to the sports bar's name, pool isn't the only activity here?arcade games, beer-pong matches, dart games, and karaoke performances grant their share of entertainment, as well. At the bar, the lights are a bit dimmer, so guests can relax after games by watching sports on the slate of 18 TVs?plus a 100-inch projector?and pairing wraps and burgers from the grill with a selection of specialty cocktails.
A resurrection of Al B. White’s 1939’s vaudeville landmark, the “new” Retro Lounge serves up a menu courtesy of executive chef Nilka Hendricks, best known for her work on season seven of Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Hendricks' diverse array of palette-pleasing dinner dishes ranges from the grilled rib-eye steak rubbed with jamaican jerk seasoning ($23) to the zesty shrimp and crab enchiladas with saffron rice and a lobster bisque sour cream sauce ($14). At lunch, guests can build their own sandwiches from more than 50 different fillings culled from beasts of the land, sea, air, and soil ($4.25–$5.25), or gobble up a slew of salads ($6–$7.50) or gourmet paninis such as the Brooklyn Avenue, with veggies slathered in goat cheese, olive tapenade, and balsamic-honey ($6.75).
At WET Waterfront Dining Lounge, every indoor and outdoor seat in the house has views of the water?the waters of the Woodcleft Canal, to be exact. Most of the eatery's dishes, such as the appetizer of seared, sesame-crusted tuna, hail from the water, too. House specialties, including the lobster mac and cheese or saut?ed jumbo shrimp served over coconut risotto, draw on fresh, locally sourced seafood. The culinary team complements these plates with non-aquatic extras, including steaks and delectable greens. The WET salad, for instance, gathers grape tomatoes, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, and kalamata olives with crumbles of gorgonzola and ginger or balsamic dressing. Premium liquors await at the bar, where diners can partake of the extensive drink menu while watching one of several TVs. Ever true to its waterfront nature, WET also caters to seafaring guests by supplying them with complimentary boat slips.