Just past the shadowy 195 overpass at the edge of the Design District, illuminated by an indigo neon sign that says "The Cypress Room," is a portal to another world.
Metrobuses roar along Second Avenue in front of the new restaurant from The Genuine Hospitality Group. Nonetheless, encountering the wood-paneled, moodily lit restaurant suffused with 1920s jazz is like being whisked away on the carriage that Owen Wilson discovers in Midnight in Paris.
As with the ambience, the elegant but approachable menu is inspired by old-world French dining. The royal red shrimp appetizer ($23) stands out on the menu and on the plate like an Amazonian bird. Cape Canaveral shrimp, lime juice, crunchy puffed rice and coriander deftly play off one another.
Antelope is served braised and as an assertive wood-grilled chop with a juicy center, bathed in a subtle apricot-tinged jus ($41).
Hedy Goldsmith's custardy Florida citrus chess pie ($14) is sprinkled with roasted white chocolate clusters reminiscent of Cuban milk cream candies. The Matador digestif ($11), made with Zignum Reposado and Cherry Heering, pairs well. Every cocktail we tried was a drink we want to savor again.
The Cypress Room justifies a splurge; dining here is a transporting experience.
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