A Cocktail Playhouse

The recently opened Rice & Gold is one of those restaurants that successfully channels playfulness, indulging hungry and thirsty adults with the right mix of sensory experiences. For starters, the walls of this veritable playhouse, located on the bottom floor of Hotel 50 Bowery, have been given a once-over by street artist Mr Ewokone. His mural is a splash of color and caricatures of expressive New Yorkers striking their unique attitudes while riding the subway. At the hands of Top Chef alum Dale Talde, the menu, too, is a tempting offering of things we like to binge on when no one is watching, the best dishes from the melting pot of New York, from Beef & Shrimp Kofta Skewers and Coconut Bread with chicken liver mousse to Crispy Mapo Tofu Dumplings and Thai-fried Chicken Rice with kaffir lime peanuts, egg, and pickled chili.

Play-central, however, is at the 11-seat bar, which wins awards for most gigantic installations of a golden hue and best spirituous use of a chocolate-dipped Pocky Stick. The former are a nod to the restaurant’s name: the installations are rice silos. The Pocky Stick teeters atop Rice & Gold’s take on the Manhattan, Miranda’s Right. For those looking for a taste of light nostalgia, the Little Pink Corvette mixes sake and prosecco with hibiscus syrup.