Restaurant Review: Bixi Harlem.

Bixi is a new restaurant which opened on Harlem’s Restaurant Row some months ago, about three doors down from it’s older sibling: Lido (a Harlem mainstay on the row) which strikes quite a pose on FDB (as a sexy little sister should), curious and exciting!

Bixi Harlem

I was waiting for a classy, sexy new spot for a bit, and now my expectations and wait has been surpassed by the creative minds, and talents behind Bixi.

When I arrived for my reservation, I was greeted by a most delightful and bubbly hostess (Joanne), who effortlessly guided me through the Covid safety protocols very quickly and escorted me into a magical world of classy, sexy, cool right in the middle of Restaurant Row. I selected a seat in front corner of the dining room (to have a full frontal view of this beautiful space), and noticed the fresh flowers which adorned the room (and the fresh daisies on the tables) along with the red velvet seats and long couches lining the walls. One gets the feeling of sitting in an up-scale theater lobby, both romantic and cozy.

Bixi Harlem

As I perused the food and cocktail menu, the Asian fusion was very apparent (Japanese beer and wine, and sake) as well as a good selection of domestic and imported choices. I selected the Comtesse Marion Chardonnay (France 2019) a medium bodied wine with notes of apple and lemon to start, and was soon presented with the Short Rib Fried Wontons (with scallions), with XG Mustard Sauce.

Short Rib Fried Wontons

Crispy on the outside and chewy short rib on the inside, the XG Sauce a perfect companion to this tasty dish (I kept some the sauce to pair with the other dishes). An excellent starter to the culinary magic of master chef: Serena Bass. (did I mention that she also decorated the restaurant herself?).

Chicken Katsu Sandwich/Chicken Wings

Next I had the delicious Chicken Katsu Sandwich (My new favorite) which is served on a amazing tasting Bixi Hokkaido Roll (which is made in-house), and is made with mango, tamari mayonnaise, cucumber pickle, mint, cilantro and basil.

Chicken Katsu Sandwich

This sandwich is one of the most delicious dishes that I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat. This is a must to try dining at Bixi.

Chicken Wings with Lemongrass and Ponzu Sauce

I tasted the Chicken Wings, with Lemongrass and Ponzu Sauce, Garlic Aioli, and topped with Tempura Scallions! You never had chicken wings like this in Harlem! The Tempura Scallions (a masterful addition!) is a Major Domo on the menu.

Tandori Chicken

The presentation of this dish was breathtaking, however the taste of the Tandori Chicken was much more than that. This dish is made with Bixi Mango Chutney, Roasted Tomatoes, Cilantro topped on Coconut rice. This dish is a culinary pleasure to look at, and of course eat.

Tandori Chicken

I found myself so enraptured in the (“Tapas-Like”) Asian dishes, that I just kept ordering more. So I ordered the 5 Spice Baby Back Ribs, topped with Bixi Plum and Orange BBQ Sauce and Cilantro. As I sat in the beautiful dining room, Jimi Hendrix crooned from the sound system as it flowed from the Blues. Or as Kwami explained it: Soul, Blues, and Rock and Roll (my kinda place!) is the whole playlist.

5 Spice Baby Back Ribs

While I waited for the ribs to come to the table, the iconic chef to the stars: Serena Bass (she began by catering a party for Andy Warhol!) who made all of my wonderful dishes, surprised me by coming to my table to join me. She came baring gifts. She introduced me to the Cocktail creation: Lucky Jim. This spicy cocktail is the creation of co-owner/bartender/Master mixologist: Kwami. When I asked her about her inspiration for the decor, she told there was none! “I just bought different pieces of furniture, lamps, wallpaper and put them together as I went along.” She is not only a master chef, but a masterful decorator!

Kwami: Co-Owner/Bartender/Cocktail Creator

Such a fantastic dining experience, romantic date spot, exceptional food, superbly crafted cocktails, full bodied music…..I have to give this place 4 1/2 stars overall in every category. I was too full, and one drink away from being smashed to review the cocktails properly. I will return to just review the crafted drinks at another time.

Before I left, Kwami gave me a night cap of Japanese Whiskey, bold and strong in taste. Just like Bixi’s presence on FDB!

Bixi is located at: 2164 Frederick Douglass Blvd (bet 116th & 117th Streets) New York, NY in Harlem. Call for reservation (917) 409-0570

Black History Month: The First Black Astronaut: Robert H. Lawrence Jr.

On June 30th 1967 the United State Air Force selected Robert H. Lawrence Jr, as a member of the third group of aerospace research pilots on the Manned Orbital Laboratory. The M.O.L. was a joint project of the National Reconnaissance Office and the USAF, with the mission of taking high resolution photo imagery of enemy locations from space during the cold war. The mini-space stations with a 2 man crew would for a month at a time in low earth orbit to spy on hostile enemy sites from modified Gemini Capsules. Lawrence’s selection made him the first African American Astronaut by any national space program.

The First Black Astronaut

Born in Chicago 1935 October 2nd, Lawrence finished high school at 16, earned a Bachelor’s of Science in chemistry at age 20, and later became an Air Force Officer and highly accomplished pilot logging 2,500 flying hours, and 2,000 hours in jets, and earned a PhD in physical chemistry from The Ohio State University in 1965, the only selected MOL astronaut with a doctorate.

Robert H. Lawrence Jr.

After Lawrence completed the US Air Force Test pilot School in 1967, he was immediately assigned to the MOL program. While as an instructor for other pilots, he practiced landing techniques that was later used in the Space Shuttle program. At the end of 1967 in December, Maj. Lawrence died in a plane crash after ejecting from a F-104 Starfighter at Edwards Air Force Base, bringing this brilliant pilot-scientist career to an end. In June 1969 the Nixon Administration cancelled the MOL program. Because of his untimely death and the relative secrecy surrounding the MOL program, Lawrence’s name remained largely unknown for many years.

Major Robert H. Lawrence Jr.

“Former NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden recalled that Lawrence was involved in the development of the maneuver that would become a critical part of space shuttle landing techniques called ‘flare.’  KSC Director Bob Cabana said, Maj. Lawrence truly was a hero.  He took that first step setting the stage for what was to come.”

Fashion News: Nordstrom’s Plan to Sell Products Worth $5M from Black and Latino Brands.

The Black lives Matter movement has spurred activists to call on major retailers to support blank owned business. Designer Aurora James from Brother Vellies created the 15 Percent Pledge in June 2020. The pledge calls for retailers to commit 15% of their buying to Black owned businesses. citing: “We represent 15% of the population and we need to represent 15% of your shelf space.”

Retailer’s such as Rent The Runway and Sephora have taken the pledge. time will tell how many other major retailers will sign on. Nordstrom plans to sell roughly $5 million of Black/Latino business brands products online.

The Stylist: The Stuck At Home Guide to Elevating Your Essentials.

With limited social gatherings/travel restrictions, and lock downs, staying at home does not mean that you can’t level up your dress game to be stylish and comfortable indoors. In fact there are a few of us (I rank among those), that dress formally at home to satisfy a personal esthetic taste during the colder seasons and the current pandemic.

However if you are of a more casual nature, there is a (simple and practical way) to accomplish this with ease by simply elevating the essentials of your current wardrobe. And just what is essential you ask? Well clothing essentials are the items and pieces that you rotate and wear each week, by mixing and matching with other (essential pieces) items in your wardrobe to create a variety of looks.

Wool Cardigan

Some fashion experts contacted me to discuss the state of affairs in merging style and comfort after reading one of my articles “The Benefits of Building a Seasonal Capsule Gentleman’s Wardrobe”. I am happy to share: The Stuck at Home Guide to Elevating Your Essentials with you all!

FOOTWEAR: More often then not a great outfit can be thrown off by a pair of sneakers. Instead go with a loafer to give you’re outfit a sleek look without sacrificing comfort for all your stuck at home affairs.

Class & Comfort Loafers

Pants: Dress pants can be a bore in addition to being a bit uncomfortable at times in a stuck at home situation. Choosing a tapered pair of sweatpants or skinny-fit jeans is a better option to stay cozy and elegant in style.

Tapered Sweatpants

Sweatshirt: The ever comfy sweatshirt is the epitome of leisure wear, but can derail the semi-sophisticated look and elevation of your outfit. However you can trade the “about to do the laundry look” for a more “elevated” turtle or mock neck that can lift up the elegance of your ensemble to a higher standard.

Two Tone Turtleneck

A cardigan worn over the mock/turtleneck will give you a more distinguished look, ensuring the elevation of the look of your outfit.

Wool Cardigan

Wristwear: Wristwear? They say you’re never fully dressed without a watch. Luckily, there’s a lot of great options that can really accentuate your outfit. Take Thümm & Co for example — They just launched their men’s watches making it the no-brainer solution for merging dressy and casual. Meticulously engineered for work and play. 

Thumm & Co.

Man Bracelets (also wristwear) is a great way to make a statement about your new elevated look. Justice By Justine Jewelry makes a plethora of semi-precious stone bracelets (they make custom as well) that will take that platitude to a higher latitude.

Justice By Justine Jewelry

Knit Hat: A solid color knit hat is the perfect finishing touch to balance out your newly elevated stay at home look. They will take you seriously without thinking you a prude indeed!

Knit Hat

So now that we have pointed you in the right direction, get started on your stuck at home satirical aspirations and elevate you’re attire!