This Buddha's Belly Deserves a Good Rub

Now, there are dozens of trendy sushi/Asian fusion restaurants in NYC, but there are only a few that fall into the "uber-swanky" category. I usually don't frequent those types of restaurants all that often, but they are great for special occasions like birthdays, graduations, or anniversaries. Friday night, I went out to celebrate one of my best friend's birthdays and we decided to go all out at Buddha Bar.

I hadn't been to the Buddha Bar in New York, but I celebrated my 21st birthday at the original Buddha Bar in Paris. Excited to go to the NYC location, I knew what to basically expect, but still managed to be blown away when walking into the restaurant. To say the decor is phenomenal would be an understatement. They have thought of everything...from the entranceway lined with statues to the 20-foot Buddha at one end of the dining room, the wood-carved dragons to the ornate chandeliers and wood-beam ceilings...the entire place just oozes swank (just take a look at the photos on their website if it's hard to imagine!).

We had a reservation and were seated right away at a fantastic table right next to the Buddha. It gave us a great spot to take it all in...the atmosphere, the food, and the crowd (especially the party of 40 made up mostly of 6'2" models!).

Since there were so many fantastic appetizers and sushi rolls on the menu, we decided to order those, rather than entrees. It was a great way to try a few different things on the menu from each part of the Asian fusion. We each ordered the Buddha Bar Chicken Salad. So, you're probably thinking, "a salad at a place like this?" I k know, I know...but it was really delicious, I swear! Pieces of grilled, marinated chicken were mixed with crispy wontons, cabbage, and an Asian sesame vinaigrette.

I had heard from a friend that the Chilean sea bass was fantastic at Buddha Bar, so it was great to see that there was a specialty roll with sea bass in it. The BBQ Chilean Sea Bass Roll had cooked sea bass that was coated in a sweet miso glaze. On the side was a Japanese bbq sauce to dip the roll in, rather than soy sauce. It was absolutely delicious.

To round out the meal, I ordered a side of Wok Fried Vegetable Chow Fun. I was hoping/expecting that it would be different from the chow fun I order from delivery Chinese places. And, it was...VERY different. The wide noodles were cooked perfectly and the sauce had a great flavor. Even better, there were actual vegetables in the dish (asparagus, red peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, and onions), which differs SO much from the delivery "vegetables" of onions and sprouts.

Since it was my friend's bday, we couldn't pass up ordering a dessert...especially so she could blow out a candle! We ordered the Espresso and Lemongrass/Ginger Creme Brule duo. I'm not a huge fan of coffee or coffee-flavored things, so I only had one bite of the espresso one. But, I really enjoyed the lemongrass and ginger one, which was surprisingly delicious. And, the dessert even came with a "Happy Birthday" wafer on the side.

All in all, it was a night of fantastics...fantastic scene, fantastic food, and fantastic company. If you are looking for a restaurant for a special occasion, Buddha Bars fits the bill...even if that Buddha has a big belly!

Buddha Bar
25 Little West 12th Street
b/t 9th Avenue & Washington Street
Menu Pages listing


Anonymous said…
It's good to hear you had such a great dining experience at B.B. since I have heard from so many people they felt it was more about the atmosphere than the food. I will have to go back and try them again. :>