Kai's Bistro

Just off the Ave., Kai's looks like the kind of place Inspector Clouseau would drink at.

Just off the Ave, Kai's Bistro & Lounge is, as my friend put it, a place Inspector Clouseau might stop in for a drink. With blood-red walls and what look like secret compartments tucked above the front door, this place has a bit of old world charm, and (if you're lucky) a view of the street action. The food is just OK, but the happy hour prices are right: vinegary wings that'll make your mouth squinch, a passable burger, and enormous, fat, onion ringsā€”all $4 a serving. We waited patiently for a nice, no-nonsense margarita ($6), a perfectly dry Stoli martini ($6), and a strange and mysterious concoction, the Chocolate Cake ($5). Served in a martini glass, this sweet drink is clear as water, though it tastes like it should be a rich, cocoa brown. Amazingly enough, it's made without any chocolate liqueur; the ingredients are Stoli Vanil, Frangelico, and a sugared lemon wedge, which, in an act of alchemy, brings out the chocolate flavor. We imagined Clouseau sipping the Chocolate Cake, tittering and wondering where the color went. Rumor has it that it's sometimes served pink, which would suit the panther-hunter even better. ADRIANA GRANT

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