The buzz continues to grow around the relatively new Hurricane Club, a Polynesian take on the Buddakans and Stanton Socials of New York City. Loud music, a massive square bar, sharable food, and a wild singles scene brings quite the after work crowd to this restaurant, and a few colleagues and I decided to indulge in the experience last night. No half-assing, either – we maximized our time at this Cheesecake Factory turned club (think Trader Vics), and I’m paying for it today with my throbbing head ache and interminable food hang over.
Snagging a reservation for three was fairly easy, and we were promptly seated with a great view of the bar crowd that grew exponentially with every passing minute. Despite our proximity to the bar, we had full service with the overwhelming cocktail bible that included over 20 tropical variations of classics, mostly labeled by number. Be careful of the unmentioned sugar content of these drinks, however – I ordered the Waikiki, listed as just patron, lime, and salt, but eventually received an excruciatingly sweet margarita. The waiter attributed the sugar to the “natural sweetness of the tropical limes.” With his BS story in mind, I decided to switch to a #28- a martini with gin, grapefruit, and ginger, and requested less sugar content. A long 15 minutes later, I received the drink I was hoping for.
The dinner menu is quite a trip to read as well. The “pupu platter” options range from tuna poke to peking duck buns, and there’s a never-ending option of sharable salads, rices, and mains. The waiter warned us that our food would come out as it was ready, and he wasn’t lying. Be prepared to have it all on the table within 10 minutes of ordering (a la Buddakan). Some find solace in this method; I, on the other hand, grow paranoid that I’m being rushed out of a table.
Our BBQ Chicken Cones, Flowering Shrimp Wraps, and Island Jungle Salad came out first. The salad, which prides itself on 12 ingredients, was roughly chopped, crunchy, and refreshing. I loved its airy shrimp chips, crispy lettuce, and subtly sweet dressing. The flowering shrimp wraps were delicious, too – just like the classic vietnamese shrimp summer rolls with a flair of sweet pecans and hearty tiger shrimp. The BBQ chicken cones were my only regret. The BBQ sauce reminded me of my chicken nugget days, so after one taste I focused my attention else where.
Next came the Tri Tip Steak skewers, Curry Eggplant, and Hawaiian Fried Rice in a hot stone bowl. These were uniformly awesome. I fell in love with the fried rice – nestled beneath a large fried egg, it brought me right back to achildhood with mama’s home-cooked breakfasts of eggs, soy sauce, and rice. The Curry Eggplant complimented it well, and with a medley of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, I was in vegetable heaven. The steak skewers, while simple, came aside an interesting cigar box filled with 6 labeled sauces. The horseradish cream sauce was my favorite.
For dessert, the general manager was nice enough to bring us his favorite (turns out he knows my sister) – the Chocolate Kill-Devil’s Food Cake. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate-sans-ice cream desserts, but this cake’s creaminess elevated it as a stand alone winner. The shiny, fudgy frosting was sinful, and the crunchy chocolate candies on top added unique texture to an impeccably soft dessert. Despite the fact that we were simultaneously sipping on a ridiculously sweet #410, a medley of vodka, mint, rhubarb, and a lot of juice, I couldn’t resist making a serious connection with this cake.
After copious amounts of alcohol and food, we managed to roam around the bar, dodging Real-Housewives-type casts and lurking older men. After a few pushes and blank stares, we called it a night with the next day’s work in mind. Despite its minor hiccups, if you’re in the mood for a good old New York time with generous portions, multi-tasked eating, and live people watching entertainment, Hurricane Club is just the place for you. I’ll keep it in mind as a great alternative to Stanton Social when I’m next responsible for hosting out-of-town friends.
Grade: A- (the rice really helped)
Location: 360 Park Ave between 25th and 26th Street