Since the community boards of lower Manhattan continue to demonstrate their absolute and complete inability to seperate potentially good venues from the neighborhood menaces (and the SLA has mostly followed suit), it's no wonder the latter group has taken advantage of this and perfected the it's-a-restaurant-surprise-it's-a-lounge switcharoo. One lounge of said ilk: Boucarou, or, as we like to know it, the retractable roof bar.
Boucarou insisted it was a restaurant in community board proceedings, celebrating its chef, menu, kitchen, et.ce.ter.a. Then it opened and things looked fishy. Now, with our receipt of the official press release on the joint, it's official. She's a lounge folks, ready to terrorize the neighborhood at any moment. Just observe the first two sentences of the release:
Boucarou lounge (64 East First Street) will heighten the senses of the Lower East Side with its alluring décor, exotic menu and fresh energy. Bringing a true lounge atmosphere to the neighborhood, Boucarou will serve as the newest hot after-work social scene that transforms into a nightclub with a sophisticated yet relaxed vibe. With a complete menu and a true a dance floor, Boucarou is poised to fill the void in gathering destinations on the LES.Don't let that 'full menu' claim fool you. The food is terrible by design (the Gentleman Stein concurs). Do also note the new bonus lie that the venue is actually on the LES. Lounge, restaurant. LES, East Village. Potato, potahto.
· Liquor License How-To, Boucarou Edition [~E~]
BOUCAROU LOUNGE AND RESTAURANT
Exotic Luxury Meets Warm Comfort on NYC's Lower East Side
New York, NY (March 19, 2006) – Boucarou lounge (64 East First Street) will heighten the senses of the Lower East Side with its alluring décor, exotic menu and fresh energy. Bringing a true lounge atmosphere to the neighborhood, Boucarou will serve as the newest hot after-work social scene that transforms into a nightclub with a sophisticated yet relaxed vibe. With a complete menu and a true a dance floor, Boucarou is poised to fill the void in gathering destinations on the LES.
Boucarou’s environment embraces the neighborhood’s character while remaining true to its vision: a real lounge where atmosphere, food, drinks and parties become one. With its retractable rooftop deck and cavernous ceilings, Boucarou will be a literal breath of fresh air for NYC nightlife. Boucarou is the brainchild of Patrice Bihina (aka DJ Patrice Parade), a native of Cameroon. Growing up in a French home, Bihina also lived in Europe and then America, giving him the tri-continental background that would later inspire the menu and decor of Boucarou.
The lounge takes its name from the open-air communal spaces built outside of homes in West Africa where family and friends gather together to enjoy dinner, dancing, drinks and conversation. A traditional boucarou is usually round, with three-foot walls and an open-air roof to protect it from hot sun and rain. A gathering place with both indoor and outdoor elements, Boucarou lounge can be considered the first ever “urban boucarou” in the U.S., perfectly mimicking the feel and atmosphere of its namesake, but with a decidedly sleek, urban flair.
At 2000 square feet, Boucarou will be the first comfortably sized lounge on the LES, offering an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere, complete with a sliding skylight mezzanine. Designer Breanna Carlson crafted the subdued gold and mocha-hued décor to be upscale yet laid back, and chic but down to earth. Boucarou’s design elements are environmentally friendly (only bamboo was used, which takes 8 years to regenerate), with furnishings and accessories that mimic organic patterns and textures.
Upon entering, the stunning bar catches the eye with its unique gold nail backsplash that is truly a work of art. The main room features suede and leather banquette seating with small tables in a vast space with soaring ceilings. In the back is an actual boucarou, which serves as a private walled VIP room with windows. Upstairs, the 1000 sq. ft. mezzanine with a retractable skylight gives customers the precious opportunity of enjoying the sunshine or the stars in an open-air room when the weather allows. From the mezzanine, guests can also enjoy a view of the main room below.
Executive Chef Malik Fall has created a globe-spanning menu, melding French cuisine with an Asian flair and just a twist of his African roots. Fall brings years of experience to Boucarou, having opened the first Asia de Cuba, and working in such renowned kitchens as Fiama and Blue Fin.
Boucarou’s eclectic menu will delight the taste buds of patrons looking for a something a little bit off the beaten path. Small plate highlights include Truffle Dusted French Fries, Filet Mignon Spring Rolls, Tempura Goat Cheese Salad and Tunapica (Tuna, Black Currents, Avocado, Almonds, Pickled Cucumber, Soy Glaze and Gyoza Skin). Some main course specialties include Seared Wild Striped Bass, Chicken Yassa (Spanish Onion, Marinated Olives, Dijon Mustard, Jasmine Rice) and Pan Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops. Chef Fall’s headlining creation “Malik’s Mafe” (Senegalese Peanut Butter Lamb Stew) will delight diners with an adventurous palate.
The unique nature of Boucarou’s food menu translates to the exclusive cocktail list, with fresh, out of the ordinary concoctions such as the Green Bee (Granny Smith Apple Puree, Smirnoff Apple, Fresh Lime Juice), the Yin Yang Twins (Honey Infused Black Tea, Herradura Tequila Anejo, Fresh Jalapeno Puree) and the Grand Wazaa (Navan Vanilla Liqueur, Wassyl Cider, Belvedere).
In addition to the full service bar, a highlight of Boucarou’s service will be the lounge’s distinctive “night kits”, replacing traditional bottle service. Complete with a shaker and glasses, each kit will be served with an appropriate accoutrement. Vodka kits with fresh fruit, Champagne with strawberries and dark Swiss chocolate and so forth. Half bottles of select spirits will also be available in the night kits for added variety.