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.
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.
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"
Liquid Bar & Lounge’s menu of small plates puts a tropical twist on classic pub fare. Duos or quartets can sip on a revolving daily soup, such as pumpkin (Tuesdays) or pepperpot (Mondays), or weigh down flighty tummies with wings slathered in buffalo, barbecue, garlic-parmesan, jerk, spicy, or chipotle sauce. A cadre of island-influenced fare includes conch fritters, fried calamari with cherry jalapeño, and shrimp riding a wave of guacamole on a corn-chip surfboard. Once small plates have sated their stomachs’ appetite for savories, diners can break promises to the tooth fairy with desserts such as bread pudding drenched in rum sauce, sweet spanish fritters, or slabs of red-velvet cake.
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).