The Hurricane Club, NYC
Chef: Craig Koketsu
Cuisine: Asian Fusion, faux Polynesian
Price: $50-100 per person
Phone: (212) 951-7111
Address: 360 Park Ave S, NYC 10010
When I first heard that the Polynesian-themed Hurricane Club was opening last September, I was honestly thinking of tiki torches, bikini-clad servers, giant fruity drinks with umbrellas, and everything else tacky and kitschy. Essentially, the second coming of Times Square’s former Hawaiian Tropic Zone.
After finally checking out the place for dinner just recently… well, to put it mildly, I was completely proven wrong. The first hint I received came in the form of elegant, pure white revolving doors with gilded lettering. The doors are quite narrow, which is a pretty good indication of the type of clientele the restaurant wants / would physically allow to pass through the door. A red carpet awaits leading up to a pair of towering palace doors, through which I caught my first glimpse inside…
Upon entering the restaurant, my first thoughts were a bit random: the majestic Titanic dining room meets exotic Havana nights. That kind of strange juxtaposition I thought could only be found in Las Vegas. There were opulent chandeliers hanging from every corner, leafy palm fronds dotting the room, and servers maneuvering deftly around the room donning smart white jackets. The grand chandelier within a chandelier above the main bar bears a very striking resemblance to the equally opulent pearl chandelier at Beauty & Essex. Thus, I was not surprised to learn my favorite award-winning concept team AvroKo was involved in the design. In fact, the Hurricane Club is actually the third collaboration between AvroKo and Michael Stillman of Fourth Wall Restaurants (Quality Meats, Park Avenue).
Like most of AvroKo spots, the Hurricane Club is an expansive multi-room space designed for the hip and fabulous. There are about four different dining rooms with intricate Polynesian wooden carvings on the ceilings and red glass lamps that resemble pipes. Mirrors encircle the bar and all around the room because, well, these are the kind of patrons who need to check themselves out constantly.
The Hurricane Club is a “modern interpretation of the tiki bar and restaurant,” which apparently necessitates an old school shoe-shine and a rum fountain right outside the ladies’ and men’s lounges. You can purchase a small 3oz bottle of rum for $4 ish (I think… unsure as we got the female 100% discount).
Now, I have been to my fair share of Polynesian restaurants… I even used to cook and perform for my Hawai’i Club Annual Lu’aus back in college. Despite the cute historical (or fictional?) tidbits on the menu, the Hurricane Club is not even remotely traditional. The inspiration for the Hurricane Club may be Polynesian, the execution is decidedly Manhattan. The restaurant takes pride in its faux Polynesian cuisine and in my opinion, it should. The food is surprisingly delicious for fusion galore. From the PB & Guava Jam sandwiches with prosciutto and basil to the Samoan Deviled Eggs, from the Snapper Strawberry & Jalapeño Ceviche to the sticky, meat-sweats-worthy Hurricane Ribs… I really was in a Polynesian fantasy. The only thing that brought me back to reality was how ridiculously loud this place can get. Shouting is required so if you need to say more than “Drink!” to your party, this place is probably not for you. It is, however, ideal for boozing groups and for bringing out-of-towners who are looking for Manhattan’s snazzy hotspots. Service can be hit or miss. From my experience so far, weekday service was amazing whilst Saturday service was abysmal (clearly a function of how busy the restaurant is).
Overall, I quite enjoyed my experience here and look forward to coming back.. although I may try to grab a table in one of the side rooms next time in hopes that the noise might be just a few decibels lower. I recently returned for a friend’s birthday and we ended up ordering the Roast Suckling Pig for the entire table… absolutely ridiculous amounts of pig! It says needs a minimum of 10 people, but considering 10 people are needed to just finish Momofuku’s Bo Ssäm, which is just the pork shoulder… to finish an entire pig would require 4 times the amount of people! We ended up taking about 6 bags of leftovers, each with 4 take-out boxes…
COCKTAILS TO SHARE
#410 Ketel One, fresh lime, mint, rhubarb
No, unfortunately the number does not indicate there are at least 409 other cocktails…. or does it? These (literally) fruity cocktail are fun for the whole table, even though the alcohol content is pretty much nonexistent.
#440 7-Tiki Spiced, pineapple, kiwi, ginger
Cute little appetizers / finger foods — usually comes in 4 or 5 servings
Hamachi Poke Avocado & Yuzu
Also fantastic — the chilled hamachi was light and flaky and perfect with the tomatoes and citrus-y yuzu
Samoan Deviled Eggs
I am obsessed with these deviled eggs. Probably 85% of the reason is due to what I believe are fried taro chips on top. Creamy egg yolk with a hint of paprika and crispy taro root fries… a must order.
Peanut Butter & Guava Jam Sandwiches with Prosciutto & Thai Basil
We ordered this for the “weird” factor and were pleasantly surprised how delicious this mashup of sweet and savory turned out.
The Club’s Coconut Shrimp
Peking Duck Tea Sandwiches
SPECIAL: Tuna Tartare
The tuna was very fresh and good, but I think the ceviche dishes were much better and more unique
The Hurricane Club’s take on a traditional Kiaouooua-kiki dinner
Spicy Bora Bora Chicken: shiitake, long beans, macadamia
That was some spicy ground chicken! My aunt makes the BEST lettuce wraps ever so I am a bit spoiled but these were quite flavorful. They also serve Crispy Chicken Spring Rolls and Shrimp with Mai Fun in lettuce wrap form.
The House Wings
Sticky, sweet goodness
SOCIÉTÉ ISLAND SKEWERS
Simply Grilled and Served With the Hurricane Club’s Sauce Chest
Pacific Mahi Mahi
I was a bit more distracted by the sauce chest than the fish and I am fairly certain I forgot about the Mahi Mahi and ending up slathering the various sauces over all the other dishes we had ordered.
THE HURRICANE CLUB RIBS
The Hurricane Rib: caramelized long bone short rib
Oh. My. Goodness. This richly caramelized short rib has a sweet and sticky coating and juicy meat so tender it falls off the bone. It is worth of finger-licking meat sweats! A definite must order.
ISLAND SIGNATURE MAINS
Baby Eggplant with Green Curry Vegetables: pea shoots & holy basil
Probably the healthiest dish we ordered… and we ate every morsel! I love green curry, especially with eggplant… this inspires me to shake up my Thai Green Curry recipe for next time!
OCEAN SIGNATURE MAINS
Thai Salsa Branzino: spicy lime vinaigrette
Red Curry Scallops: crispy potatoes, jalapeños, bacon
Mhmm didn’t love this one… just didn’t work for me
Ginger Scallion Dover Sole Amandine: whole fish, filleted to order
My favorite fish dish here
LUAU DINNERS (require 24 hour notice)
Roast Suckling Pig
served with steamed buns, cucumbers, hoisin sauce, and other sides
NOODLES & RICE
Shanghai Lobster Noodles Fra Diavolo
Interesting concept but go for the rice dishes instead!
Coconut Basmati Rice
I grew up on rice and this coconut basmati rice is pure heaven! The presentation is so adorable here. I love the sweet and sticky rice in the half coconut shells topped with toasted coconut flakes… all coconuts should come like this!
Steamed Baby Bok Choy
Shameless self promotion as I cook Baby Bok Choy all the time: Braised Baby Bok Choy
Chinese Long Beans with Sweet ‘n Spicy Peanuts
This was my favorite side dish and I will recreate this dish in my kitchen soon enough!
Sweet Potato Waffle Fries
Super light and fluffy (very unlike all the other dishes served here)… came with the pig, unsure if separate on the menu
Strawberry-Pearl Rice Pudding: fresh strawberries, passion fruit
My favorite dessert here — sweet but light
Shaved ice, fancy style. Light, refreshing, and citrus-y
The Samoan: layers of angel food cake, coconut, caramel to share
It tastes as ridiculous as it looks and sounds
Chocolate Kill-Devil’s Foodcake
Bruléed banana, caramel rum sauce
I just liked the cute tiki mugs