Dress & Dine: Sultry Saturday Dinner at Lair Lounge

On cool Saturday evening in the Big Apple, four friends headed to a swanky lounge in Soho to fete a friend on her 30th birthday.  On the corner of Broome and Kenmare Streets is a hidden hot spot that brings dinners and young New Yorkers off the bustling street into a dimly lit lounge called Lair. Upon arriving for our 8:00pm reservation, we’re greeted by one of the partners of the venue, a handsome Russian named Larry, who invites us to wait at the 30 foot bar for the rest of our party.

This is no ordinary bar, with a heavy and impressive stock of Vodka and a tantalizing cocktail menu, small but impressive., it’s the perfect adult spot for five single 20 something gals to kick start a Saturday night of merriment. After a round of Diet Coke’s, a friendly raven haired server, dressed in all black, directs us to our seat in the back of the restaurant, and gives us an intro to the decadent upscale Asian fusion cuisine.  Exposed brick walls are lit with sultry ambient light that gives diners the perfect lighting.  After perusing the menu with the girls, we proceed to order small plates to share as well as cocktails and champagne.

For starters, the Chinese Chips with house made duck sauce, Chicken pillows separated by crispy chicken skin and Johnny Blue sauce for dipping, Dry Aged Black angus beef dumplings and Eggplant and mushroom sui mai, are a must order.  The Johnny Blue sauce that compliments the chicken pillows is made of premium Johnny Walker Blue, with hints of the whiskey and slightly tangy.  The Eggplant and Mushroom sui mai, artfully presented on rectangular art deco plate, will please the vegetarians in your group.  The bone marrow with X/O marmalade and scallion pancakes is light and decadent at the same time, a dish that will get any foody’s taste buds aroused.

Let’s not forget the cocktails, which are artfully prepared to compliment the menu that chef Chris Cheung (Nobu, Monkey Bar) describes as”modern Chinese with some American accents.”  Feeling a bit fiesty, try Mr. Hot Pants, composed of Herradura reposado, mezcal, campari, passionfruit, thai chilli pepper agave.  It’s the one drink you will keep ordering all night long because it’s that good and you’ll never get bored of it.  Cool off with Maid in the Cave, a thirst quenching cocktail made with Hibiki 12 year Japanese whiskey, ginger infused agave, mudled cucumber and club soda.  Treat your sweet tooth to a few scoops of ice creams to share.  We suggest the ginger ice cream but if you want to be extra sinful, go for the Shanghai walnut crusted marshmallows.

A live DJ is subbed in for the house soundtrack around later in the evening, vamping the energy of the lounge, bringing it to life with attractive men and women who look as though they could be part of a movie set or in a lounge in Miami.  The 2000 square foot space manages to be intimate with VIP lounges of plush leather and suede seats and amber accents that compliment the Parisian Metro-inspired decor.  Lights dim a bit more and the music is turned up come 11pm, when food consumption is reduced and drinking is amped.  The high rollers begin to order bottle service.  Lair Lounge manages to stay sultry without feeling as though you are in a club, which at our age, isn’t something we really want to do on a Saturday night.

As four friends toast the next new decade of life of the fifth, we simultaneously cease talking and soak in the vibrant atmosphere. One of us makes the obvious statement, that this moment is exactly like something Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha would be having it there were in 2011.

Lair Lounge  – 201 Lafayette Street

Btwn Broome & Kenmare Streets New York City

www.LairNYC.com