For some restaurant-goers, the food is hands down the most important aspect of a dining experience. For others, an enjoyable meal must include the right atmosphere. At Duo Restaurant and Lounge, where our group consisted of both types of diners, we found that all of our needs were met.
While it is impossible to look past the restaurant’s lavish and unique décor, which includes hand-painted columns made to look like crocodile skin, Swarovski crystal chandeliers, and large portraits of Duo owners Sabina and Lorraine Belkin, the food is what makes Duo a promising new restaurant.
For those in our group who felt that a restaurant’s ambiance was as important as its menu, Duo’s luxurious style made for an enjoyable experience. While the individual purse stools were a bit much, the overall vibe felt pleasant and upscale without being too pretentious.
When it came time to order, we were impressed with items on the menu, but as impressed by the menus themselves, which were illuminated and cast a harsh, eerie glow. The drink menu included some interesting options and we found all of the cocktails we ordered to be both sippable and strong. My personal favorite was the Wild Berry Mojito, which, thanks to fresh mint and berries, tasted like summer in a glass. The cucumber cantaloupe and pink grapefruit mint martinis were also fruity without being too sweet.
We began our meal with several different salads. While the Lobster and Avocado Salad was rich and creamy with the bright acidity of pink grapefruit, we couldn’t stop eating the Crispy Calamari Salad, which struck the perfect balance with its mix of baby arugula, fennel, and mango.
After the waiter said the Chilean sea bass was the best seafood item on the menu, I couldn’t resist ordering the dish for my main course. The fish was perfectly cooked, and its tangy honey tamari glaze kept it from being boring. The Grilled Prawns with Ratatouille were just as delicious; the light yet hearty ratatouille stood out as the perfect summer side dish. The meat dishes at our table were the Hanger Steak au Poivre and the Glazed duck, which both had impressive presentation and good flavor.
We all managed to save room for dessert, and in spite of the numerous dessert options, I was incapable of ordering anything else when I learned there was a Hot Chocolate Cake on the menu. The “cake,” which was really just a rich gooey chocolate concoction covered in marshmallow, did not disappoint. While it was so sweet I couldn't eat more than a few bites, it would be the perfect dessert to share with a fellow chocoholic. The hazelnut crepes, peanut butter mousse, and cheesecake duo (which our waiter called the “the Ferrari of cheesecakes”) were also delicious yet nearly impossible to focus on with the Hot Chocolate Cake sitting on the table.
Overall, dining at Duo was a great experience, though I would definitely be fine with placing my purse on the chair or the floor next time. If you plan to visit the restaurant any time soon I’ve got some advice: bring sunglasses to read the menu, start with the Wild Berry Mojito, and end with the Hot Chocolate Cake.