102408aspen.jpgAspen Social Club: The big opening this week is this "modern‑rustic" evocation of Colorado ski-lodge chic in the heart of Times Square. Gold plated antlers hover over the bar like an inverted middle finger to the recession, and another $100,000 worth of illuminated antlers cover the dining room. The 3,000 square foot restaurant and lounge will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with delicacies like Bison Sliders with smoked cheddar, bacon & “gonzo” sauce. The "gonzo" here is a nod to longtime Aspen resident Hunter S. Thompson, a tireless enemy of developers who turned the town into their exclusive vacation playground overrun with places just like this. Nevertheless, the club's artisanal cocktail menu features the good doctor's favorite drink: The Biff, a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream topped off with Chivas Regal. 157 West 47th Street, (212) 221-7200

Almond: This is the New York satellite of the French bistro in Bridgehampton. Occupying the old Borough Food & Drink, the vibe is yuppie rustic, with a clunky wood floor reclaimed from New Hampshire and Vermont. In the back, a pool table and warm lamps make for a cozy ambiance. The menu, via Thrillist, ranges from steaks and burgers to "pan-Euro" fare like lamb belly, braised pork shank, and veal Milanese. It's a nice looking place, as Eater's pretty pictures are to be believed. 12 East 22nd Street, (212) 228-7557

Bar Bao: Respected Vietnamese chef Michael Bao Huynh (Bao 111) calls the shots at this new Upper West Side restaurant, which was formerly Rain. According to the Times, there's an elegant bar in the lounge and another in the dining room, where you'll find upholstered banquettes, mirrors in gilded frames and contemporary Vietnamese art riffing on propaganda posters. The menu features items such as Pho Noodles with rare beef and sweet bread in an anise ginger beef broth, and Ginger Glazed Duck Breast with spicy taro confit hash, with duck heart and liver, ginger jus. 100 West 82nd Street, (212) 501-0776.