It’s been a treacherous year in weather for New York City, suffering through those crippling snow storms and enigmatic tornadoes. Most evenings this side of twenty-twelve has seen consistently warmer nights unleashing that hibernating desire to imbibe in the open metropolis atmosphere. Finding the best bars with outdoor seating can be strenuous and time consuming, so here are a few ideas to get you started.
The Crown Victoria
60 S. 2nd St., Brooklyn.
Just in time for Fall, downtown Miami will soon offer a new and improved Chophouse Miami Bistro & Lounge with the help of acclaimed chef, Jacques Van Staden and his international culinary style and attention to detail state of mind. The James Beard Award nominee is no rookie in the kitchen, as former executive chef of Michelin star winning Alizé, located at the top of The Palms hotel in Las Vegas and his continued work with Celebrity Cruises as master chef of culinary operations, the chef’s credentials are clear. With the help of his brother, Pieter Van Staden, a skilled chef all his own, the sibling duo is bringing class and a fresh culinary point of view to downtown Miami.
“I loved the location and thought the Chophouse space had such potential,” says Van Staden. “When the opportunity arose for me to take it over and remake it as my own I couldn’t resist.” As for the menu, the South African born chef firmly stands by his “something for everyone” approach. The moderately priced menu will include small plates, sushi, flatbreads, premium cuts of meat and fresh fish. Prospective dishes include tamarind glazed pork belly alongside a papaya salad topped with toasted peanuts and drizzled with a yellow curry vinaigrette, signature “tacushi”, a black truffle potato salad topped with a quail egg, and a perfectly grilled 20 oz. porterhouse steak.
The menu isn’t the only thing under construction; the interiors are also getting the Van Staden touch complete with a sushi bar, wine tasting lounge, outdoor patio and a private dining room fit for 50. Come Thanksgiving 2011, downtown Miami’s business crowd and foodies alike will be able to enjoy the re-imagined Chophouse Miami Bistro & Lounge. An à la carte brunch will be served every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and a buffet-style brunch will be offered every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. A nightly Happy Hour will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and a late-night Happy Hour from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Chophouse Miami Bistro & Lounge
300 South Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL 33131
Opentable voted Trattoria Isabella a "Top 10 Outdoor Dining Restaurant". While I am always an advocate for outdoor seating I'm not sure Trattoria Isabella is deserving of a top 10 outdoor title. The typical and uncomfortable cast iron chairs make for an unpleasant dining experience.
Another issue to be noted: Trattoria Isabella was out of octopus at 6:30 pm on a Sunday. That immediately cut off two order choices for me. We went with the mussels, which were okay, but fishier than I prefer. The tuna Carpaccio was great with a very light and fresh olive oil lemon herb dressing. I ordered this prepared like the beef Carpaccio in order to get the hearts of palm that would have been better had they been cut into bites rather than lazy string cheese look-a-likes. Tough crowd, I know.
Outstanding sushi combinations! There are so many specialty rolls here it could take hours to read through all of the descriptions. For this reason, I ordered the first thing that sounded good off of the first page. The Latin Heat Roll with smoked salmon, escolar, avocado, and cilantro was a hit. I also appreciated that it wasn't a problem when I asked for no mayo. I stayed on the traditional side with the Rainbow roll (which, uniquely, had eel in it!).
I created a delicious modified California Roll that had octopus, and jalapeno covered in roe instead of crab and cucumber. Very tasty sushi; though don't be duped by the Kobe Beef Sliders, they look much better than they taste.
This bustling locale is especially wonderful with a cozy outdoor patio set up for people watching in the funky Wicker Park area.
Mana, meaning "the lifeforce in nature", has excellent service along with a classy, unpretentious atmosphere. The simple yet extensive menu covers a multitude of fresh & healthy options with unique ingredients and combinations. Being a nutritarian (one who chooses the most nutrient dense food selections available), I of course love vegan restaurants.
The thinly sliced beet with arugula and apple salad is absolutely perfect. I could eat that all night long. My other recommended summer day must-have is the Jicama & Mango with cucumbers, cilantro, and chili lime salt. So tasty and refreshing! Truth be told, the fresh watermelon mint sake cocktail is reason enough to return.
Zouk Nightclub is a newly opened club located in Downtown Dallas close to the West End district. It is open every weekend from 10PM until 2AM. They have Vanity Fridays for the divas to flaunt and Glow Saturdays that may cause epileptic seizures (just kidding). The music style is mash-up (sort of like what the word means) and dance and the dress code is chic. Zouk has exciting elements to it: a Vegas-esque Retro-Glam design, two levels, outdoor seating, several VIP booths, 4 full-size bars, frequent celebrity appearances, and the DJ booth in the center of the club.
Price: Very fair
(at 20th Street)
346 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10009
Last night, a friend and I were walking down 1st Avenue, being chased after by that nagging, intangible hunger that so often frequents the body when the city devilishly fishpoles its many inviting aromas out into the air. We weren't sure of what we were craving, but coming off a full day of midterms, we knew it had to be something good, something impressive and something soon. It wasn't until we happened upon an impressive Japanese marble palace taking up the corner of 20th and 1st that we realized our cravings could only be satisfied by two little S-letter lovelies: sushi and sake.
The Village Tart
Cuisine: Dessert and Drinks
86 Kenmare Street at (Mulberry Street)
New York, NY 10013
Part restaurant, part dessert bar, part lounge, but 100% delicious, The Village Tart does breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night right. Antique mirrors fit into jigsaw patterns across the walls, while the comfy booths and pressed ceiling instantly set the mood for a relaxing, romantic evening.