Remodeled Bar at 1515 Restaurant Features Molecular Cocktails

1515 Restaurant has been undergoing some changes to the ground-floor lounge and bar. Owner Gene Tang is already committed to modern, cutting-edge cuisine in the kitchen, and now that modern flair is being reflected in the bar's decor and cocktail program.

The dining room at 1515 is on the second floor, so guests must pass through the lounge on the way to dinner. Starting with the entryway and extending to the back grotto, the main floor of this vintage Victorian has received an upgrade with sleek, horizontal bands of wood, light fixtures made from glowing hoops of light, and mural-sized, black-and-white photos. Tang says the changes were designed to make the bar more interesting for lunch and happy-hour customers, as well as diners who may want to enjoy a few small plates from the molecular gastronomy menu without going all-in on dinner.

To complement that menu, which features fun, creative dishes like a mozzarella balloon inflated with onion air and "predator and prey" sausage made with rabbit and rattlesnake, beverge director Rena Tedeschi has constructed a cocktail menu that's equally full of wonder. She says that having access to high-tech equipment and modern ingredients in the kitchen has inspired her to play with traditional cocktails to create unique flavors and textures.

In her "mintless" mojito, a raft of liquid-nitrogen frozen raspberry and orange pulp floats atop the cocktail, releasing concentrated juices as it melts. Another cocktail features "caviar" balls made from strawberry liqueur which, buoyed by champagne bubbles, float to the top of the drink and burst in your mouth. Other whimsical touches include a speckled sphere of dragon fruit that stares from the rim of a Manhattan, and lavender dust — made using a technique that Tedeschi says is top-secret — that powders the edge of a martini glass, adding subtle herbal flavor to the drink with each sip.

There's a special lounge menu that includes a French onion soup sandwich and 1515's signature "dniwer" burger — that's "rewind" spelled backwards, Tang's invitation to relax and unwind — and a few other bar-friendly bites, but other items from the dinner menu can also be ordered at the bar. Lunch is available Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner is served every day but Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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