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Reviews + Photos from nymag.com
Posted by Anonymous on 04/24/2006
While the place, the staff, and the food are all beyond beautiful, the taste was disappointing. I was expecting the great dishes they have at their philadelphia location and instead was greeted with traditional chinese restaurant fare in what looked like a movie set atmosphere. Basically, it's basic chinese food that they plate to look gourmet. Go for a drink and the scene, skip dinner.
Posted by Foodienyc on 04/20/2006
I eat out fairly often and wanted to check this place out for a while now. We finally went last night, and I have to say; it was forgettable. Although the space is huge, its nothing spectacular... reminiscent of Tao, minus the really loud music. We waited roughly a 1/2 hour to be seated, and expected amazing food having had waited that long. We ordered the crab and corn fritters to start, and they were just OK (basically, mini crab cakes with corn in them), a bit on the spicy side (although the menu didnt mention it). My partner ordered the jumbo shrimp, which were good but not 'out of this world'... I ordered the shrimp and lobster chow fun, again, it was good... but nothing special. The lobster meat was sub-par and the shrimp were just average. We shared a veggie/coconut rice, which was probably the highlight of the meal, aside from the Crying Chocolate, which was actually quite good... but would have been better if we had'nt had to wait 15 min to see a dessert menu, and another 20 waiting for it to arrive (they took it off the check). On the plus side, our check was pretty reasonable considering its a pretty "scene-y" joint. Overall, we spent almost 3 hours there! Now, i'm all about the 'dining experience' but c'on now.... this is NYC, not a sidewalk cafe in Paris! So in conclusion, with all the wonderful places here, I would not go back.
Posted by Jloves on 04/11/2006
I was completely blown away by my meal at Buddakan. I had read the reviews on MenuPages and wasn't really sure what to expect. Well, let me tell you, the experience far exceeded all of my expectations. After a wait for our table (which was not so bad considering the mass of people in that restaurant) we were seated in a nice table downstairs in the back. Our server was nice and knowledgeable and helpful in his recommendations of the best dishes. The atmosphere is incredible, the space is gorgeous and the energy is incredible. However, it's the food that blew me away. Here's a summary of some of our favorite dishes: the edamame dumplings (which should not be missed) melt in your mouth and leave the most divine taste on your tongue; the taro lollipops are perfectly crisp on the outside and such a nice suprise when you bite into them; the beef lettuce cups offer a great meld of tastes; the mushroom chow fun flavors really explode but are not overly heavy like chow fun in chinatown; the duck left us all wanting more; the scallop congee was a great side dish; the filet was a fantastic balance of flavors and a big hit; and finally the sweet and crispy shrimp were cooked to perfection with just the right amount of suace to flavor the dish. Suprisingly, we all really enjoyed our desserts as well. We had the sorbet and the lime tart dessert. Both were wonderful. To summarize, the food, atmosphere and energy made our meal one to remember. We plan to go back often (as long as we can get a hard to get reservation). This may be my new favorite restaurant in the city.
Posted by Anonymous on 04/06/2006
The front of house staff here (hostesses and clip board dudes in the lounge) can be pretentious, borderline rude. It's not a great way to start an evening - pair that with being seated 45 minutes after your reservation time - - you feel like the food had better be darn good. The good news is that IT IS. Also the service from our waiter was excellent. My friend and I sampled a few things since they said it was "family style". We started with the beef in lettuce cups and the edamame dumplings - both delicious. For entrées we had the lobster in black bean sauce and the scallops with caviar. The lobster was quite a large portion, and the sauce just SUBLIME. They brought us a free dessert for my friend’s birthday so that was really nice too. The atmosphere is quite nice. The place is huge but they have created more intimate areas especially upstairs by having tables in different rooms and what seemed to me to be a hallway - but the hallway was fine - not too heavily trafficked to be distracting. Overall, I recommend the place. Just know that you'll probably have to wait a long time and that the people in the front aren't the nicest. But after you get through that it's worth it for the food and attentive service at the table.
Posted by nylonon on 04/04/2006
The staff needs to work on their service skills. We waited for a table, not long, and were finally seated in the back downstairs where there was no one else. Whereas all the corporate suits were seated in the center area (we were a group of 4 girls). To top that when we asked to sit elsewhere we got attitude from the maitre d' and were finally seated in a better area upstairs. We then waited 20 minutes before we had to beg a waiter to order wine and food. It's a shame because the food is good. Stay away from this place on the weekends. We went on a Monday night and still had all this trouble and attitude. The bar is also an alternative.
Posted by NSD on 04/02/2006
Buddakan has the typical scene - the requisite hostess with the Macy Gray hair, the gaggle of nasal girls hailing from Long Island, etc. Go for that if that's what you are looking for - but definitely do not go for the food - it was mediocre at best. Shrimp & Lobster Chow Fun tasted like something you would get at Mee's Noodle Shop (I would go far enough to say Mee's chow fun is better and of course much less $$$). Edamame dumplings were blah. The rock shrimp tempura was a bit too oily compared to the ones you can get at Nobu or even Morimoto. The crab fried rice was more of a bowl of scrambled eggs with some rice thrown in than the other way around. The restaurant is quite big - once the hype is over, they are going to have a really tough time filling the restaurant - I wonder how long it can survive if they do not improve their food.
Posted by Anonymous on 03/30/2006
Although we were ecstatic to try Buddakan, we both left wishing we had gone to Tao again. No one could enter the restaurant without a reservation when we went last Thursday b/c the bar was so crowded--that seemed like a good sign! The bar scene was great, and we expected the restaurant scene to be as well. We waited a full hour after our reservation to be seated and walked by at least 10 set, empty tables before we were seated in a back corner--weird for 2 young, single girls. Clearly, they were trying to create hype for the restaurant by packing the bar. They slowly put all the other single girl tables in that back room with us. When we go out, we are usually seated in the center of the restaurant, so it was odd to be placed in a back corner out of sight. It took our waiter 45 minutes and 5 requests to bring us water and drinks (remember, there were still many vacant tables, so he wasn't that busy). When he asked what tequila I wanted in my mojito and I told him actually mojitos have rum, he proceeded to correct me and tell me I was wrong but that he would have it made with rum if I requested. I was shocked at his rude attitude and ignorance--I think he was confusing mojitos and margaritas? It seemed like his first day as a waiter. He then forgot one of our appetizers completely--never even placed the order although he had it written down. We never could get his attention to order entrees, so we never did. We ordered dessert and were disappointed that the desserts were not the same as Buddakan Philadelphia. What we ordered was all well prepared but not too interesting. This place seemed similar to Tao and 4 steps below in quality, atmosphere, etc. If our waiter had been more attentive, the bill would easily have been double. There are too many good restaurants in Manhattan to make me want to try Buddakan again.