Formerly: Like a baby boomer Justin Timberlake, Old Town Brasserie owner Bob Djahanguiri is on a quest to bring sexy back, or in his parlance, "romance." In the '80s and early '90s, Djahanguiri—who opened venerated spots like Toulouse and Yvette—was the cabaret version of Jerry Kleiner (Gioco, Red Light, Marche). His spots, replete with swinging piano parties, played host to visiting celebrities like Liza Minnelli and Harry Connick Jr. Once, Mikhail Baryshnikov and his posse danced on Djahanguiri's pianos way past the 4 a.m. closing time.
At Old Town Brasserie, Djahanguiri eschews pumping electronica and clean mod interiors for sunny, yellow-painted walls, dark wooden chairs and a shiny granite bar. Plump banquettes are covered in a burgundy and yellow tartan lit by the glow of classic wall sconces, and Djahanguiri works the maitre d' station with fist-pumping aplomb.
A signature black lacquer grand piano sits in the corner near the bar, but the ivories won't get a full tickle until after 10 p.m.. Before then, the food will take the main stage; offerings include seafood terrine, roast duck and beef Wellington. The menu also features an Asian accent, with dishes like lobster ravioli with Vietnamese spice foam.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant