That’s right, we’re going to SoHo, the New York neighborhood most renowned as a high-end shopping destination. But clothes couldn’t be farther from our minds.
With some time to kill before dinner, we stop by the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (126 Crosby St.) to enjoy cold caffeinated drinks and a pair of adorable muffins (I recommend the well-balanced lemon). With floor-to-ceiling book shelves, HWBC makes for a welcoming study space — and since they donate 100 percent of proceeds to stopping the double whammy of AIDS and homelessness, you can feel good about yourself while sipping your coffee.
For dinner, we head outside the traditional SoHo boundaries to 60 Thompson Hotel (60 Thompson St.), home of Thai food purveyor Kittichai. Inside, hidden lights reflect off bright draperies, and a lily pond and wooden lattice-work help set the exotic aesthetic.
Crunchy fish cakes make a great sweet-savory start, but we were particularly impressed with the Hudson Valley duck breast — lightly seared slices like poultry sashimi. Kittichai’s allure is in the details: The flourless chocolate cake, for example, is brought out wrapped in a verdant banana leaf “to keep it moist,” our server hints.
Stuffed full, we head upstairs to Thom Bar, a sort of urban hunter’s lounge tucked into the back of a hotel lobby. Funky, modern furniture (backless ottomans, deep, cushioned seats) playfully clashes with manly charms (mounted bull’s head, cowhide rugs, dark wood paneling.)
But the vibe is definitely young and hip, with a soundtrack shifting from Santigold to MJ and back to the Doobie Brothers. For a sweet sip, we recommend the Lemongrass Lychee Highball.