My friend, Jhiane, and I headed to Buddakan in the Meatpacking district on a gorgeous day in Manhattan.
You may recall this restaurant from Sex and the City-The Movie where Mr. Big and Carrie’s rehearsal dinner took place.
This magnificent restaurant is 2 floors and over 10,000 square feet in space… gorgeous decor, sexy ambience, and romantic.
All food items at this jaw dropping restaurant are served family style. Love that!
MENU: Buddakan Menu.
CUISINE: Asian Fusion/Chinese
RECOMMENDED TO: Bar Scene, Couples, Fine Dining, Groups, Romantic Dining.
We both started with a cocktail each. I went for Fate made with elderflower, pineapple, and prosecco (sparkling wine). This succulent & fruity drink had a prominent pineapple flavor and also tasted a bit champagne-y. Well made, very smooth, and I was definitely able to feel the alcohol after just half my drink. Delicious!
Jhiane went for Charm which consisted of passion fruit liquor, apple, fresh berries, and prosecco. Just like I, Jhiane’s drink also had a slight fizz due to the prosecco, nonetheless, neither one of us enjoyed the drink very much since the apple flavor in the cocktail was a bit weak. The blueberries at the bottom were the highlight of this drink.
For appetizers, we had to order their signature appetizer, the Edamame Dumplings. Not knowing what to expect I took a bite and was blown away by how truly amazing the dumplings were. Imagine a combination of mashed edamame and butter stuffed in a dumpling. The filling literally melts in your mouth so there really isn’t anything to chew on. Incredibly light and delicious.
Next, we ordered the Chili Rock Shrimp with toasted ginger due to the amazing reviews. The shrimp was fried and tasty, but I was expecting a lot more from Buddakan. An addition of some kind of herb flavoring would have significantly helped in enhancing the flavors of the fried shrimp, such as fried scallions.
For our entrees, we went for the Glazed Alaskan Black Cod with a side of chili eggplant. The fish was excellent, soft, and had that melt-in-your-mouth affect, however the cucumber relish and side of eggplant were nothing to write home about. Instead, a side of vegetables sautéed with Asian infused flavors, such as ginger, garlic, soy sauce would have been a great addition. Having said that, the cod alone is reason enough to order this dish.
We also ordered the Wild Mushroom Chow Fun. I love mushrooms, and I also loved the glossy brownish color of these chow fun noodles. This dish was quite good, however I felt it lacked that extra something, again those Asian flavorings mentioned above would enhance this dish significantly.
Last but not least, dessert! Between the Crying Chocolate and the Almond Bread Pudding, we opted for the latter based on our waiter’s recommendation. Excellent choice! The bread pudding had a bold flavor of almond – delicious. The vanilla ice cream was infused with whiskey – creative. And the butterscotch sauce in combination with the bread pudding and ice cream was to die for. Insane concoction… I savored every bite.
VERDICT: 4 / 5
Buddakan boasts impeccable ambience and service, and I highly recommend dining here if you find yourself in the Meatpacking district. The drinks were good, nevertheless, Buddakan was slightly underwhelming in terms of food. Given a restaurant of this caliber, each dish lacked a little something needed to get to the next level. Having said that, the Edamame Dumplings and Almond Bread Pudding were exceptionally good – you simply cannot go wrong with either order.
In addition, the atmosphere at Buddakan is very similar to that of Tao. Without any bias here, I believe Tao was better than Buddakan in terms of food, drinks, and value. The portions at Tao are slightly larger than Buddakan, and the food and drinks at Tao are nothing short of perfection. For the amount you are spending at Buddakan, the expectation should not fall below 100%.
On a positive note, if you haven’t been to Buddakan, surely check it out, at the very least for those soft and mouthwateringly delicious Edamame Dumplings that I still dream about.
Decor: Excellent (trendy/romantic)
Service: Excellent (outstanding)
TELL ME: Have you been to Buddakan? If so, what was your favorite item?