Jue Lan Club
The swanky new celeb-magnet Jue Lan Club in Flatiron turns out "bright pan-Asian favorites that make the party rock" (New York Post). The latest incarnation of the legendary Chelsea nightclub Limelight is a Chinese restaurant with ample private dining space. Jue Lan Club, named after an early 20th-century Chinese arts society is eclectic as it is swanky. The venue consists of seven dining rooms, each decorated with a different concept. On the first floor is the front bar and lounge. The main dining room, with circular booths upholstered in emerald-green velour and leather and at other custom-designed tables. The second floor features three spaces for private events: the Forbidden Room; the 1932 Room; and the Warhol Salon, includes a full-service private bar. Two spaces are outdoors: the seasonal Imperial Garden, and the backyard Graffiti Alley. The second-floor bathroom is covered in wallpaper made from an image of Andy Warhol’s medicine cabinet. The hallway leading to the Forbidden Room is papered in trading-card images of the club kids who once frequented the Limelight. Other touches, like the photography of modern-day China and red paper lanterns in the alley, remind visitors of the restaurant’s current life.
The menu is manageable but extensive with a fair number of dishes that are light on calories but not on flavor. Raw-fish starters ($14 to $18) are as nutritionally unthreatening as they are satisfying. Pristine salmon is tinted with mustard and blood-orange vinaigrette, while tuna comes with avocado puree, cilantro and red-pepper jam. The best is yellowtail drizzled in fiery ghost-pepper oil that’s more aggressively applied than other choices’ accents. For a main course, go with chili-spiced prawns tinted invitingly green from marination in Chinese water-spinach puree. They are sweet and fresh-tasting. Jue Lan is definitely the place to been seen. It is truly a new experience in dinning.