Dharma has one, as does Enso, and when Fiji Sushi Bar & Lounge and the adjoining Kashmir nightclub open this weekend, you won't be able to avoid running into one just like that drunken one night stand you're hopelessly trying to dodge.
Yes, Eastern influence is all the rage in Charlotte right now, and Fiji and Kashmir are the latest to join in the philosophical fun.
I got a preview of the two new venues this weekend. Fiji is in the former home of Feast and Kashmir is in the final resting place of Liv.
Let's start with Fiji.
The Crowd: Management says the restaurant will be heavily influenced by Charlotte's fashion scene. TVs will be tuned into fashion channels, not football. A removable catwalk is being built that will be used for such fashion shows as the one Jordano's is doing at this weekend's grand opening. Expect well-heeled young professionals to turn out for sushi and fashion.
The Scene: Lots of red and white furniture (possibly refurbished from Feast) and a logo eerily similar to the Enso circle displayed prominently around the EpiCentre restaurant. Gone is the huge bar in the middle of the restaurant. Instead a long sushi bar with a waterfall for a backdrop has been added off to the side with a smaller full-service bar tucked into the front corner.
Food and Drink: I sampled some of the sushi and my wimpy palate for raw fish was impressed. The restaurant's Peruvian chef has managed to update many of the usual stale rolls with new flavors. My favorite of the night: the Firecracker Roll. Crunchy, sweet and spicy. For cocktails, try one of the Johnny Love mixed drinks. The brand of vodka popular out west is making its Charlotte debut.
Now, let's head downstairs to Kashmir.
With the low ceilings and minimal lighting, it feels like you're walking into an illegal, underground speakeasy where you can hide in shadowy corners. The layout hasn't changed much from Liv: same bar, same lounge furniture and the same mirror that tricks people into thinking it's another room (sit and watch how many people run into it one night. It's entertaining). As one partygoer said: "It's basically like Liv, with a bunch of Asian decorations added to it."
One new addition is the Zen Lounge or as the club's Chandler Alan Beal says, "Charlotte's first true VIP room." To access the lounge, you'll need to be a VIP gold card member, which entitles you to:
- Entry for yourself and three guests
- Private VIP entrance and exit with security detail if requested
- Complimentary valet parking
- Complimentary coat check
- Onsite massage therapists
- Concierge services
In addition, a table inside the lounge will feature T1 Visions touchscreen technology where you can order food and drinks, reserve a hotel room, access the Internet and more. It's the first in Charlotte in a nightclub setting. T1 Tapas in Huntersville also uses the technology.
The Curse: Beal acknowledges the curse that has seemingly plagued that stretch of Fifth Street between Church and Tryon streets (its victims include Twist, Daddy's, Menage, Hom and Belle's BBQ). He's hoping the two new openings will revitalize the area. In fact, the theme for Kashmir's Halloween party is "Nightmare on 5th Street: Lift The Curse."
Do you think they can do it?