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Hot List: New York City, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Miami, Mumbai, Hong Kong

In this week’s Hot List, a new location of NYC’s beloved Shake Shack opens, Daniel Boulud sets up shop in Vancouver, and a selection of other new reviews come in from Philadelphia, Miami, Mumbai, and Hong Kong.

Hotel Jen, Hong Kong.


The recently opened Hotel Jen has a sleek, Zen-like atmosphere, with beige wood, calming neutral colors, and plenty of natural light. Each guest room has a daybed in front of large windows; a perfect place to read during the day, or to accommodate an extra person at night. The bright and uncluttered Sky Lounge on the 28th floor doesn’t get too crowded and makes a nice place to relax with a magazine. If visiting Western’s antiques stores is high on your itinerary, this is a great alternative to pricier boutique hotels. Korean and Japanese tourists comprise a significant portion of the clientele here. Pros: unbeatable value; relaxing atmosphere. Cons: inconvenient for visiting other parts of Hong Kong; not for those seeking raucous nightlife. 508 Queen’s Rd. W, Western. 2974–1234. 280 rooms, 5 suites. In-room: safe, kitchen (some), refrigerator, DVD (some), Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, room service, bar, pool, gym, laundry service, Wi-Fi, parking (paid), no-smoking rooms. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at: HK$1,100

Shake Shack, New York City.

Local restaurant legend Danny Meyer has opened a second location of his regularly-mobbed burger joint, Shake Shack, and New Yorkers are loving it. The new Upper West Side spot is an eat-in joint located just across from the American Museum of Natural History, and it’s serving some of the best burgers in the city. While the lines may be long at lunchtime, the grub is worth the wait, and well-priced. You can’t go wrong with the classic Shackburger served with American cheese, lettuce, tomato and their signature shack sauce. But you’d be missing out if you didn’t try the ‘Shroom Burger—a melty Muenster and cheddar cheese-stuffed portobello topped with lettuce, tomato, and Shack sauce that has both meat lovers and vegetarians going ga-ga. Also on offer are Chicago-style “Shack-cago” hot dogs, cheese fries, and a variety of delicious frozen custard desserts and—of course—shakes! 366 Columbus Ave., Upper West Side. 646/747-8770. AE, MC, V, D. Median entrée price: $7.00

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db Bistro Moderne, Vancouver.

Celebrity chef Daniel Boulud proves once again that his culinary vision has across-the-border appeal with the opening of db Bistro Moderne in Vancouver. Buzzing with ladies who lunch and pow-wowing business types, the 65-seat bistro formerly known as Feenie’s has been transformed into a smartly-decorated space with neutral tones and paprika accents. Boulud excels at the classics—coq au vin, duck confit and steak frites—but dishes such as the Alsatian pâté en croute with pistachios, raisins and house made pickles, or bacon-veiled arctic char with parsnip mousseline, should not be passed over. The original db burger filled with braised short ribs and black truffles is a dietary sin you must commit. Solo diners will feel comfortable at the bar, especially when cocktail guru Cameron Bogue is holding court. 2551 W. Broadway, Kitsilano,Vancouver, BC. 604/739-7115. AE, MC, V. Median entrée price: 24 CDN.

Pub & Kitchen, Philadelphia.

Acclaimed chef Jonathan McDonald’s latest venture may be a casual, neighborhood eatery, but that doesn’t mean you’ll find standard pub fare. The food here is straightforward, yet refined—house-cured bacon on the burgers and handcrafted beer batter for the fish and chips—signaling that this is no ordinary gastropub. Push past the raucous bar to the rather intimate dining room, with its candle lighted tables and fresh flowers. Pair a craft beer with a special entrée of veal sweetbreads or mussels in Pilsner sauce with a side of buttery mushroom rice, and a dessert of sugared donut holes with roasted bourbon apple slices, and you’ll have a full and fine meal. 1946 Lombard St., Rittenhouse Square. 215/545-0350. No lunch. AE, MC, V. Median entrée price: $19.

Epic Hotel, Miami.

Located in an area mostly known for its gritty office buildings and glittery high-rise condominiums, the Epic Hotel is a real gem in downtown Miami. Even the most basic rooms are plushly outfitted with Frette Linens, iPod docking stations, 37-inch flat screen TVs, balconies, and Acqua Di Parma bath amenities. Although it’s the kind of place you’ll likely choose if you have business in the area, you should consider staying through the weekend with your family. Ask for a table outside or by the window at Area 31, an elegant, delicious seafood restaurant on the 16th floor. Once the Exhale Spa opens in spring 2009, the business-friendly hotel will feel even more like a resort. Pros: sprawling pool deck with a view of the water; complimentary wine in the lobby every day from 5 to 6 p.m.; complimentary in-room yoga mats and yoga television programming; tennis courts and golf courts available through partnerships with nearby tennis clubs and golf courses. Cons: not located directly near the beach; some rooms overlook tall condominiums and office buildings. 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Downtown, 33131. 305/424-5226. 411 rooms.  In-room: safe; Wi-Fi (paid). In-hotel: 1 restaurant; room service, bar, pool, gym, spa, water sports, bicycles, children’s programs, laundry service, Wi-Fi, parking (paid), no smoking rooms.  AE, MC, V, D. Rooms start at: $419.

Four Seasons, Mumbai.

One of the newest and more opulent hotels in the city, this hotel is located in a sleek, narrow skyscraper that soars over central Mumbai, about 25 minutes from the downtown business district. Rooms, appointed in starchy whites, mellow honey and gold tones, and adorned with contemporary teak furniture, have flat LCD-screen televisions, iPod docking stations, DVDs, and oodles of space. Each room and spacious bathroom has a view of the city skyline and the glittering Arabian Sea. The vast two-level and modernistic San-qi restaurant and pub offers food from across Asia; an Italian restaurant is next door. The spa and a pool offer equally stunning sea glimpses. Elevators, lined with floor to ceiling panels of backlit onyx, shoot you up to the top floors. Pros: luxurious; well-located, since it is poised between north and south Mumbai. Cons: expensive; lower floor views may be disappointing. 114 Dr. E. Moses Rd., 400018. 22/2481–8000. 202 rooms, 24 suites. In-room: safe, refrigerator, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: 4 restaurants, bar, room service, pool, gym, spa, laundry service, concierge, no-smoking rooms. AE, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at: RS. 20,000.

Contributors: Suzy Buckley, Vaihayasi Pande Daniel, Emma Fox, JoAnn Greco, Jen Laskey, Albert Wong

Photo courtesy of Hotel Jen

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