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Page 37

By Jim Lochner

Upscale restaurants and boutique hotels are redefining Hell’s Kitchen, while Crave Fishbar and Estela bring a touch of Mediterranean to the East Side.

Estela estelanyc.com 47 East Houston Street (212) 219-7693

KTCHN Restaurant and Café ktchnnyc.com 508 West 42nd Street (212) 868-2999

THE OUT NYC theoutnyc.com 510 West 42nd Street (212) 947-2999

Ink48 ink48.com 653 11th Avenue (212) 757-0088

Down in trendy Nolita, Botanica owner Mark Connell transformed the restaurant space above his neighborhood dive into upscale wine bar Estela, which serves shareable plates of American food with European influences. The wine list includes over 200 selections, primarily from France (Rhône, Burgundy), Germany, and Spain. The menu, dominated by snacks and appetizers, changes regularly. Over a glass of wine, munch on olives, pickles, or spiced almonds. Sample one of their homemade matzo dishes or feast on the creamy burrata. If you’re in the mood for seafood, Estela features everything from salted cod and mussel escabeche to calamari à la plancha and cured Scottish trout. Off the wall entrée selections such as blood cake and ricotta dumplings nestle alongside more traditional choices such as pork and steak. With its exposed brick, globe lights, and rough-hewn wood floors, Estella is a stylish throwback to the Little Italy of old.

Located within THE OUT NYC resort and spa (see right), KTCHN serves up modern American cuisine with a Mediterranean flair. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the bright, sunlit-mirrored café and bar, and in the darker wood-paneled main room. Appetizers include a scrumptious selection of crostini, as well as quinoa fritters, crab cake sliders, and bite-size lobster cubes. American favorites such as mac ’n’ cheese, cheeseburgers, steak, and pork tenderloin all have treasured spots on the menu. Go under the sea with the steamed mahi mahi and basil pesto or across the ocean for some heartwarming chicken tajine with Moroccan couscous, almond, and eggplant. In addition to salads and soups, the octopus à la plancha or the mahi mahi fish tacos might tempt smaller appetites. And last but not least, what was once a Hell’s Kitchen staple—the bottomless mimosa brunch—makes a welcome return to the neighborhood. Thanks KTCHN!

Billing itself as a “straight friendly hotel catering to the gay lifestyle,” THE OUT NYC is the City’s first and only urban resort. A winner of Fodor’s top 100 Hotels in 2012, THE OUT has brought a level of urban chic to a once-dilapidated block of 42nd Street. The 105-room boutique hotel boasts a full-service restaurant (KTCHN, see left), the XL gay nightclub, and a full-service spa. The rooms and suites feature courtyard and city views, iPod docking stations, and 40”-inch flat screen televisions. Quad bunk bed accommodations are available for groups, with each of the four fullsized beds containing a 22”-inch TV. Travelers on a budget can also rent the bunk beds individually. Customized facials, Hamam Turkish bath treatments, and sugaring hair removal can be found at the only luxury spa in Hell’s Kitchen catering to men. With its expansive glass-covered atrium and a 15-foot waterfall, the 5,000-square-foot spa facilities include treatment rooms, hot tubs, steam room and cedar sauna, wellness deck, and a private gym. Unique indoor and outdoor spaces like the cozy bamboo garden and Great Lawn can accommodate groups from 25 to 200.

Transforming a 1930’s printing house, Ink48 is a 222-room, full-service, petfriendly, lifestyle hotel. The lobby is an interpretation of a pocket park made of glass, stone, and leather. Each guest room is fashioned like a loft space, offering soaring ceilings, original oversized columns, colossal windows, and sweeping views of the Hudson and midtown Manhattan. The spectacular rooftop lounge, designed by renowned architect Carlos Zapata, features an outdoor reflecting pool and allows guests to take in the magnificent atmosphere from a sky-high setting. The hotel, located only a block from the Hudson River bike path, provides guests with complimentary bikes—a nice touch. To relax those aching muscles, guests can take advantage of the full-service Ink Spa or the Mind.Body.Spa wellness program, including complimentary, on-demand, in-room yoga. Special amenity kits include “Forgot It, We’ve Got It – Runner’s Edition,” packed with runner-friendly items such as a pre-loaded iPod Shuffle with headphones, athletic sports watch, and running belt with water bottle. Perfect for any romantic occasion is the new “Heat Meter Amenities,” with packages that include enticements such as complimentary trip to the Museum of Sex, aphrodisiac-filled baskets, and special boudoir photo shoots to get you and that special someone “in the mood.”

FEB MAR

APR

MAY

2014

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