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So chef Craig Koketsu’s Hurricane Club (360 Park Avenue South at 26th Street) officially opened Monday night after last week’s preview launch. First off, the space is great, definitely what you would expect from AvroKO‘s design team (Stanton Social, Sapa, Public). Second, the hosts and servers are really friendly and welcoming – they actually even seem happy to be there. Third, this place is clearly about the drinks just as much as it is about the Polynesian food.

The Hurricane Club drink menu is exhaustive and organized into sections (Frozen, Boat Drinks, Shots, Voyages, To Share, Sugarcane) where you order by number rather than a name. Recommendable was the #37 (frozen cucumber and mint). The #12 (HC’s version of a Mai Tai) was a bit overwhelming both in size and tartness. The #55 (Don Q Cristal, sour cherries, red chillis) was definitely interesting for the first few sips but hard to drink an entire tiki glass portion. It’s a fun drink menu to navigate though, with some definite winners on there.

In the legacy of Trader Vics, Hurricane Club starts you out with the Pu Pu platters. You can go with the assortment of the night ($28), or pick from 9 regular selections ($12/order) ranging from Coconut Shrimp to Peking Dusk Tea Sandwiches, to Samoan Deviled Eggs, to Royal Miyagi Oytsers with Pineapple and Yuzu. The hit though was the totally unique Peanut Butter and Guava Jam Sandwiches with Prosciutto and Thai Basil. We have included a not-so-stealth iPhone photo real copy of the Pu Pu Platter Menu here (Click it to enlarge).

If you are not face down in your tiki drink by entree time, HC has a wide-ranging menu of entrees from three styles of ribs, to Polynesian-inspired seafood, pork dishes, as well as noodle and rice. We tried the Shanghai Lobster Noodles which were good but we could have handled even more of the advertised spice, as well as the Honey Glazed Baby Back Ribs, which are cooked and then fried at the last minute to both be fall-off-the-bone tender and yet crispy on the outside. It’s a nice touch. The bok choy side has a a really tasty lemony garlic flavor which worked well with the ribs. Prices of entrees are on the high side, but portions are huge and enough for 3+ people to share. (Note: The MadParkNews team only got such a clear shot of the Honey Glazed Baby Back Ribs by bringing them back to the secret MPN food labs for a photo session.)

Overall this place is a great place for groups to share entrees, pu pu platters and fun drinks. (Check reservations available on OpenTable)

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