Playboy bunnies are back at the new Playboy Club in Manhattan and it’s not just for an Easter celebration. An insignia lies atop an awning at 512 W. 42nd Street. “What are you here for,” says a man that looks like he could be a bouncer. Unless you are a member, or have a dinner reservation, you take your chances about indulging in an elegant evening.
Monday evenings bring New York’s rising Broadway stars and vocalists onto the stage to do their own thing rather than perform songs from the show that they may be presently in. Produced by Beau Speer with Music Direction by Brandon James Gwinn & the T-Shirt Tuxedo Trio, Anne Fraser Thomas was the very talented featured vocalist.
Speer said that they are planning a lot of events for world pride, which says that this Playboy Club is open to the LBGT community. He is also looking into doing a Drag brunch and other charity events.
Having said that we had dinner reservations, we entered into a Playboy Bunny decorated hallway that led to what appeared to be the main lounge with a center bar. There was a private party in progress and we told the maitre d’ that we were having an early dinner.
Escorted into the next room, I saw a few areas of seating. One area was reserved for the earlier entertainment, with little seating. There were two intimate type rooms on the same level, separated by a middle wall that had an aquarium of colorful fish and a bunny rabbit insignia object in the center. I wanted that table and sat facing the aquarium. Although not close up to the action itself, I had a view of the entertainment in the lounge. There was also another seating area located on the viewing side of the lounge situated a few steps up. I was able to view another large room in the back, most likely used for private parties.
Table setting was done elegantly the way you would expect a “fine dining” décor to appear. Lighting was low, which for me made it a bit difficult to capture clear photos with my “point and shoot” set on “auto.” Next time, I will actually study the information in the book.
We were greeted by a Playboy Bunny cocktail waitress, Bria Fleming. As much as some of the cocktails sounded yummy, I decided to pass since I get drunk on Scotch Tape. Our waiter arrived promptly to ask if we wanted tap, still or carbonated water.
Executive Chef Tabitah Yeh has created food that should be nurtured to appreciate how they wonderfully affect your eyes, aroma, and palate with a menu divided into categories of Plates to Share, Sushi and Sashimi, Salads, Mains, and Sides.
Being a true chocoholic, the Manjari Chocolate Gold Bar left me euphoric. Yes, there are gold flakes on the top as well as some kind of crispies, hazelnut, and strawberries on the side that are both large and sweet ($15).
If you want to go on the lower end of your bill just to get an idea of the quality and sharing, I would suggest the following: Two Arctic Char Tacos for two people, I would suggest, with Goma Miso, Wasabi Aioli and cilantro, each at $8. A Spicy Bluefin Tuna Roll ($15) and sharing a main of Chicken Milanese with Frisée, Baby Carrots, Shaved Fennel, and Radish ($36), or the Roasted Atlantic Hake, with charred scallions, “Tom Yum” and golden Enoki (mushrooms that are thin, tall and delicate) for $37. Hake is the most common fish used when you buy Boston Scrod.
Playboy Club has quite a long beverage menu that includes wine, beer, spirits, top of the line sake and cocktails concocted by a mixologist. Here is one, called A Bunny Thing: Bacardi Cuartro Anejo Rum, Rockey’s Green Chartreuse, Pineapple Bitters. How about Call Me: Ketel One Botanical Cucumber-Mint Vodka, Don Julio Blanco, Canton Ginger, Mint.
There are various nights of live entertainment, some of which you have to become a member and present your key. If you go to their website, you can get some of the information, but not all. I found some that needed clarifying and was not up to date. That’s what phones are for (212-644-8227).