I met Charlie Huang in a limo on the way to the Diamond Cabaret — which sounds a lot sleazier than it really was. A friend and I were drinking at the Funky Buddha when we met up with a group of guy friends who had a limo for the night and asked if we wanted to go with them to hit the town's hot spots. I've always been a sucker for a posse of men — as well as for not having to worry about transportation — so we jumped into that limo before asking the obvious question of how they defined "hot spots." In the limo, I was introduced to Charlie, of Little Ollie's fame, and was immediately enthralled with his charm, love of restaurants/nightlife and hilarious sense of humor. Before I could say "strip club," we'd pulled up at the Diamond, where we were given VIP treatment since some of these gentlemen had been there maybe once or a thousand times before. I couldn't understand why my friends would take women to a strip club — it seemed like the proverbial taking sand to the beach — but the Diamond ended up being only the first stop on a fairly comical evening, and just meeting Charlie was worth the trip. So when I heard that he was opening a restaurant at the new Landmark development, I was eager to see the place. Charlie loves to travel and always goes to the best spots in whatever city he's in, so I imagined the place would be cool. And I wasn't disappointed: Jing has it all. From the beautiful purple-and-black lounge complete with crystal chandeliers to the double-sided water feature to the clear bathroom-stall doors that cloud when you lock them, Jing is all about heightened sensory awareness. When I ordered the Buddha Drop ($10), made with Hangar One Buddha's Hand Citron Vodka, limoncello and a seemingly innocuous floating "Sichuan Button," which the waitress showed me how to eat, I had an inkling that I was in for a surprise. After just a minuscule bite of the button, my tongue experienced a weird numbing sensation, followed by heat and the peculiar tingling you get when eating a Sour Patch Kid. Then the button moved on to produce a searing, numbing, peppery, lemony-metallic flavor that gave the feeling of a hallucinogenic — without any mental alteration (beyond that of the alcohol). The experience was both delightful and dreadful, and I wanted another drink immediately. If only I had a posse of men and a limo, I'd be at Jing right now.
Use this map to see where Nancy Levine's been drinking.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!