Lani Kai: Early Reactions
This past Saturday night was a cozy one for newly opened Lani Kai. Julie Reiner's tropical cocktail bar hosted a lively crowd of thirty-somethings from across the city, all of whom fancied a weekend drink or two (or three, four, five). While everyone huddled around the bar sipping Mai Tais and Pacific Swizzles, we stood on the street assailing exiting diners to get their immediate reactions on what they just drank.
While stepping out for a cigarette, Shannon, a tall blonde, discussed the Loan Palm (gin, ginger syrup, melon, basil, and lime juice) with us. "The drinks are really, really strong here, and it's absolutely beautiful inside." Her friend Nadja mentioned how everybody in her party kept passing her a drink they didn't like: a nameless cocktail of rum and coconut milk. "People are like, 'You want this?' and I'm like, 'Yeah!' Why doesn't anybody like this? Keep them coming," she said.
The two friends highly recommend the Pacific Swizzle (white rum infused with rosehip, lemongrass and hibiscus tea, lime juice, and passion fruit), which, according to Shannon, "turned a lot of girls on in there."
Before heading back inside, Nadja reminisced about the pork buns (five spiced pork belly confit in a house-made bun with secret sauce, pickled Japanese cucumber, and Bibb lettuce). "Even my Jewish friend ate them like nobody's business," she said.