Buddakan in New York, NY

 Buddakan in New York, NY

Buddakan in New York, NY

Buddakan was on my list for a while and I was thrilled when Jodi picked this restaurant for her birthday (ok, I did not tell the restaurant it was her special day as she hates it when they come with a cake and sing...).

 Buddakan in New York, NY

Buddakan in New York, NY

As soon as we entered, we were amazed by the impressive decor of the venue.

 Buddakan in New York, NY

Buddakan in New York, NY

 Buddakan in New York, NY

Buddakan in New York, NY

I am not sure if they did that on purpose, but they walked us all around the main dining room before bringing us to the table, allowing us to see how this more than 250 seat restaurant was organized.

 Buddakan in New York, NY

Buddakan in New York, NY

So we sat at a table and I truly appreciated being able to talk without screaming to Jodi, until they started to lower the lights and put some loud music. I think that was the only negative of the whole experience. I should have known had I looked at the history of the place: it was opened in 1998 by acclaimed restauranteur Stephen Starr (Morimoto, Fette Sau...) who is a fan of music and decided to name the restaurant in honor of Nippon Budokan, an indoor venue in Tokyo where artists like Bob Dylan, Cheap Trick and Ozzy Osbourne performed.

 Buddakan in New York, NY

Buddakan in New York, NY

The menu, crafted by Executive Chefs Yuang Huang and Brian Ray is Chinese, but with a twist. We decided to start with some appetizers. First was the tuna tartare spring rolls:

 Tuna tartare Spring rolls at Buddakan in New York, NY

Tuna tartare Spring rolls at Buddakan in New York, NY

This was a very interesting dish, combining the lightness and freshness of the tartare that had a slight kick with the crispiness of the roll.

 Tuna tartare Spring rolls at Buddakan in New York, NY

Tuna tartare Spring rolls at Buddakan in New York, NY

The second appetizer was the hoisin glazed pork belly:

 Hoisin glazed pork belly at Buddakan in New York, NY

Hoisin glazed pork belly at Buddakan in New York, NY

The pork belly was served with soft steams buns that were very light, soft and slightly sticky.

 Steamed buns at Buddakan in New York, NY

Steamed buns at Buddakan in New York, NY

And the pork belly smothered in this wonderfully sweet hoisin sauce:

 Hoisin glazed pork belly at Buddakan in New York, NY

Hoisin glazed pork belly at Buddakan in New York, NY

What we did was to put some pork belly, cabbage and shallots in a bun, et voila!

 Hoisin glazed pork belly at Buddakan in New York, NY

Hoisin glazed pork belly at Buddakan in New York, NY

Then, we got some entrees. Jodi ordered the wild mushroom chow fun that was succulent, the chow fun being perfectly cooked and very tasty, and with a nice quantity of mushrooms.

 Chow fun at Buddakan in New York, NY

Chow fun at Buddakan in New York, NY

On my side, I chose the black pepper beef that was a ribeye steak sautéed in a wok and accompanied with a bird's nest (well more like a cracker than a real nest):

 Ribeye steak at Buddakan in New York, NY

Ribeye steak at Buddakan in New York, NY

The presentation was amazing and the way you eat that dish is by mixing the steak and onions with the nest that you pulverize with your fork. This is a dish I recommend: original, the ribeye was perfectly cooked and tender. Knowing that ribeye is my favorite piece of meat, I could hear angels singing behind me after each bite.

As Jodi loves sugar snap peas, we ordered some as a side:

 Sugar Snap peas at Buddakan in New York, NY

Sugar Snap peas at Buddakan in New York, NY

They were served with soy tapioca and mushrooms. Although I am not the biggest fan of sugar snap peas, I really liked that dish.

Of course, we could not finish our meal without any dessert! We ordered their best seller: the crying chocolate.

 Crying chocolate at Buddakan in New York, NY

Crying chocolate at Buddakan in New York, NY

Served with a Vietnamese coffee ice cream, it was made of malted chocolate ganache and when we ate it, we could see it crying, the chocolate slightly dripping from the top to the bottom.

 Crying chocolate at Buddakan in New York, NY

Crying chocolate at Buddakan in New York, NY

It might have been the most ordered dessert, it was not my favorite. The almond bread pudding, suggested by our waiter, was fantastic!

 Almond bread pudding at Buddakan in New York, NY

Almond bread pudding at Buddakan in New York, NY

Served with a whiskey ice cream, it was topped with caramelized bananas and bathed in a butterscotch sauce. Imagine that Jodi, who does not like almonds loved it (so I had to share...). Not overly sweet, it was divine and I certainly recommend it.

 Almond bread pudding at Buddakan in New York, NY

Almond bread pudding at Buddakan in New York, NY

After this feast, a nice walk was necessary. Despite the night club atmosphere, Buddakan is definitely one of the best Chinese restaurants for that category: the food was delicious and the service excellent. I definitely have this restaurant on my list of must do.

Enjoy (I sure did)!

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