A woman at the bar flips an ignited inside-out lime over to dump addional liquor into a goblet full of lemongrass and rhum (for narrative purposes, we’re using the “H” here).
Nearby, a man gently plucks a corn cake from a bicycle basket and dunks it generously into a creamy chutney. Nothing is aflame.
All this is happening only inside aRoqa, a beauty of a new Indian-ish date spot heavy on the unexpected flavor combinations, opening tonight in Chelsea.
This is prescribed for post-work drinks or casual second dates, based mostly on the conversation-piece menu items. Like Shadowplay, a Mezcal Joven-clementine-cactus water drink that’ll arrive smoking, courtesy of a low-key dry ice presentation. Or Through My Sails, which will arrive with a 151-ignited, rum-filled lime you’ll empty into your cocktail. The bartender here uses whiskey from his time spent at Orange County Distillery and maple syrup from his family’s sap house upstate, and you’ve gotta trust a guy with a family sap house.
No doubt, you’ll want to eat here, too. There are corn-filled rice cakes with coconut-kaffir-lime chutney and gunpowder-masala crumble, served in a wire bicycle to pay homage to where you’d traditionally find such a snack in India. The chicken chops are served on a makeshift rolling cart, same idea. And it’s all Indian, but in a contemporary, not-completely sort of way—think taro root on fenugreek flatbreads and butternut squash dumplings in a sweet corn chutney. One might use the word fusion, but we...did.
We’ll now point you to a slideshow of libations and the place described above. We’ll do that right now.