I've always thought reincarnation is an interesting concept. You live, you die, and you return smarter and thinner and full of snappy comebacks that are always ready right when you need them. (Or something like that; check with the Hindus for a more complete explanation.)
These days, restaurants are as eager for a second chance as anyone. In mid-January, David Gingrass and Bridget Batson, the owner-and-chef duo behind Hawthorne Lane, reopened their staid SOMA restaurant as TWO. The décor and the New American menu have both been revamped, and they're a lot more casual and more fun than they used to be. If Hawthorne Lane was a graying matron who insisted upon using china and crystal at lunch, TWO is a swinging single with a penchant for slamming tequila body shots.
The décor is part Tiki lounge, part Brady Bunch. Coconut lights hang above a massive copper and concrete bar, walls are paneled in wood, and banquettes are covered in a groovy olive and tan fabric. Mustard yellow tables come with psychedelic orange peppershakers, and the ladies' bathroom is papered in giant retro red and silver blossoms.
The first time I went for dinner, my boyfriend and I sat at a table. The second time we took friends and perched at the bar, where service was better. Per Restaurantland's New World Order, the cocktail list features housemade infusions like lemon blueberry tequila. I chose the Royal Hound ($12), a drink Anna Nicole Smith would have liked. It was pink from muddled ruby grapefruit awash in vodka, Cointreau and a splash of bubbly, and a candied grapefruit rim sparkled like diamonds.