The ghosts of The Rat are no doubt spinning in their graves to see a pricey, soignee cocktail lounge squatting on their once beer-soaked digs. Foundation is certainly beautiful, with lots of expensive leather chairs which make it hard to sit up straight, so spanking-new at this point that the whole place smells like a new car. It's a cool, sleekly-designed, multi-level room, with the requisite Hotel Costes soundtrack, and at least for now, very welcoming, friendly service.
Bartenders seem to have the basics down, shaking and pouring creditable strained cocktails from a huge stock of super-premium vodkas, gins, etc. At $10 a pop, they ought to be good. The wine list is a bit alarming: a dozen glasses averaging $10 a pour, a fair array of champagne bottles ranging from $40 to three figures (including some oversize bottles: anyone for a $300 jereboam of Krug?), and exactly three reds by the bottle: $60, $75, and $100. Ay!
The half-dozen small plates on the opening menu will grow with the pending addition of a full-time sushi chef from Oshushi. I had a $7 plate of edamame: how much does that work out to per soybean if there's 40 on that very fancy plate? Most of these dishes (shumai, a Kobe tartare-like number, a fresh tuna roll, a seaweed salad) are similarly dear: I'd guess the mid-point is in the low teens.
It's an interesting gamble: the location will force them to rely on baseball-fan trade during game days and early evenings, yet they clearly want a louche, free-spending, better-dressed clientele in the evenings. The intersection of those crowds should be entertaining.
It's worth a look: punk rock, it ain't.