REVIEW #99

Buddakan

Along with The Four Seasons, the dining room formerly known as Gilt, Asiate and La Grenouille, Buddakan possesses one of the top five most distinctive and striking interiors in all of NYC. Designed by Christian Liaigre, the palatial dining room is an eclectic fusion of French and Asian design aesthetics. Like Whitman, Buddakan’s design is large, and contains multitudes. It is both tasteful and flashy, youthful and sophisticated, alternately intimate and overwhelming. Liagre makes incredibly deft use of color throughout the cavernous 17,000 square foot setting. The end result is fanciful, stylish and surreally awe-inspiring.

The cynosure is a two-story main dining room swathed in oak walls with four gargantuan chandeliers draped over a 34-seat banquet table and a perilous staircase that tipsy high-heeled patrons must navigate. There are also adjoining chambers such as a library with golden bookshelves aglow and an alcove with a massive imitation European tapestry.

The quality of the food is arresting: our first-time guests are routinely taken aback that a restaurant of its size with such a glamorous, chic design could also serve such outstanding cuisine. Some of the dishes are very authentic, but the kitchen doesn’t feel restrained by these strictures, and creative updates abound. In some cases, authenticity is wholly cast aside in favor of fanciful fusionist inventions. But when the result is this good, such liberties can’t be wrong.

In our view, an ideal order would include chili rock shrimp, Cantonese steamed sole, Mongolian lamb chops and Chinese sausage fried rice with a sunny side up egg. We have, however, provided a more extensive list of the best dishes at Buddakan for larger parties and repeat diners. The restaurant’s sophisticated, delicious cocktails also merit a mention – the best is the Fate (a mixture of elderflower, pineapple and prosecco that will even cause alpha males to squeal with glee) and the Charm (passion fruit liqueur, apple, fresh berries, prosecco). The ambiance alone would be sufficient reason to pay a visit to Buddakan but, when combined with the excellence of the cooking, we feel the restaurant has earned its place as one of NYC’s finest restaurants.

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INFORMATION

Meatpacking District
75 Ninth Ave.
New York (nr. 16th St.)
(212) 989-6699
Mon, 5:30pm-11:00pm; Tues-Wed, 5:30pm-midnight; Thurs-Fri, 5:30pm-1am; Sat, 5pm-1am; Sun, 5pm-11pm
    Brian Ray, Executive Chef
    Yang Huang, Executive Chef
    Christian Liaigre, Designer

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    RECOMMENDED DISHES See All

    • Edamame Dumplings - shallot-sauternes broth
    • Cantonese Spring Rolls - shrimp, chicken
    • Mao Poe Tofu - minced pork, red
    • Glazed Alaskan Black Cod - chili eggplant, black bean relish
    • Chili Rock Shrimp - toasted ginger
    • Cantonese Steamed Sole - ginger, scallion oil, soy sauce
    • Charred Filet Of Beef - wonton crisps, mustard sauce
    • Mongolian Lamb Chops - crystallized ginger crust
    • Chinese Sausage Fried Rice - egg sunny side up
    • Crying Chocolate - malted chocolate ganache, milk caramel, jasmine tea ice cream
    • Rock Sugar Doughnuts - Chinese egg custard, spicy strawberry royal jelly, gianduja sauce