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A Dessert Bar and Hookah Lounge From a Top Southeast Asian Restaurateur Opens in Astoria

Plus, NYC vegan restaurants welcome our newly minted, vegan mayor — and more intel

A lowlit lounge with booths and circular tables.
Inside Sands of Persia.
Christopher Balbi/Sands of Persia

Salil Mehta, the acclaimed chef and restaurateur behind Southeast Asian hits including Laut in Union Square, Singapura in Gramercy Park, and buzzy newcomer Wau on the Upper West Side, has gone all-in on sweets for his latest opening. Mehta partnered with luxury car collector Abhi Malhotra to debut Sands of Persia, a dessert bar and hookah lounge, in Astoria, at 25-01 Steinway Street, near 25th Avenue.

Inside the restaurant, Mehta’s sweets menu is stacked with upscale desserts like a fingerlime chiffon meringue, made with fingerlime yuzu cake and paired with rosemary, orange mousse, and lime gel; and cones of baklava served with ice cream and pistachios. The drinks lineup is centered around alcohol-free cocktails, plus tea and coffee including made-to-order Turkish coffee brewed in a pan of hot sand. Some savory food including hummus platters will also be available. Sands of Persia is open from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. daily, with food served from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Flatiron tasting menu spot Jua gets a nod from the NYT

New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells dropped into Jua, a newly Michelin-starred, two-year-old Korean tasting menu spot led by chef Hoyoung Kim, and found plenty to praise in the kitchen’s efforts. The gussied-up kimbap, fancified with ingredients like sea urchin, was a particular favorite. “Once you’ve eaten it, you’re likely to trust anything that comes out of the kitchen,” Wells writes.

NYC’s vegan restaurants are welcoming our new, vegan mayor

Newly minted NYC mayor Eric Adams has been hopping from Sweetgreen to Dig to Just Salad in his first days on the job, and the city’s vegan restaurants are already eager to have him as another visible proponent of vegetable-centric eating, Crain’s New York reports. One restaurateur predicts that more shops may start to add vegan items to the menu in order to cater to potential visits from the mayor.

Cocktail bars, take note

Correction: January 4, 2022, 2:20 p.m. This article was corrected to state that Sands of Persia is located in Astoria, not Long Island City.

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