If you walk out of the loo and find yourself flirting at the unisex sink, blame either the mood (DJ Muu-Muu spins trippy electro-funk, servers resemble supermodels) or the strong libations (the Thai basil gimlet packs a punch, the chile-infused Kickboxer swings with sweetness). Don’t worry, though—this Pan-Asian restaurant doesn’t sacrifice its New York Times -heralded menu for eye candy and ambience. The balance of flavors that make sushi an art form is crafted in Saucebox’s beloved Ring of Fire roll—spicy tuna and kimchi are mellowed out by daikon radish and tobiko fish eggs—and its specialty “sbx roll” with loxlike salmon wrapped around Japanese scallions and chervil parsley. On the dinner menu, the “pupu platter for two,” featuring five signature appetizers (including Korean short ribs, tapioca dumplings and crunchy pork sarong balls), is also great for the lounge dwellers sipping gingery hijitos amid the urban jungle of robot murals. But if you want a guaranteed seat (or a well-heard conversation), make a reservation for the whiter, brighter dining room opposite the lounge. From the mirrored walls, you can admire your neighbor’s Thai red curry covering cubes of tofu, asparagus and long beans while you sop up your grilled Hawaiian ono and Chinese eggplant in coconut milk. Your senses (and voyeuristic sensibilities) will be more than satisfied. (JM)
Signature Dish: The duck breast is so succulent on the green bean salad, the sesame vinaigrette is hardly needed.
Standouts: The music, sugary intoxicants and nibble-encouraging menu seduce you to turn dinner into an event.
Regrets: With nearly 80 drinks on their cocktail menu, some are fruity fluff with names that try too hard (i.e., “Poolside with David Hasselhoff”).