The week before I came home to New Zealand for the holidays, my friend Haydee surprised me with a dinner at Buddakan. Ever since I moved to NYC three years ago, Buddakan had always been on my list of restaurants to try, but I never got the chance to go. The interior is dimly lit, with sleek furnishings and opulent chandeliers lighting up the dining area downstairs. Buddakan is an Asian fusion restaurant and the menu is extensive. I don't think I've ever taken so long deciding on what to get. They have a dim sum menu which is great for sharing, as are the noodle dishes and rice dishes. It's an excellent choice to celebrate an occasion such as a birthday or anniversary, or to take your date to.
From the dim sum menu we ordered the Cantonese Spring Rolls with shrimp, which were fried to perfection, and the King Crab & Lobster Siu-Mai (with shrimp, red pepper & yuzu).
King-Crab & Lobster Siu-Mai
Next we got the Minced Pork Lo Mein (with pickled cucumbers & Thai chili) to share, as well as the Chinese Sausage Fried Rice (with an egg sunny-side up). To balance out all the pork (!) we got the Wok Charred Broccoli (with garlic & black bean). Another veggie dish that we got was the Crispy Szechuan Eggplants (with smoked tofu & pickled daikon). This was a real hit with its crispy shell and delicious flavor; I highly recommend this dish.
Chinese Sausage Fried Rice
For seafood, we ordered the Chili Red Snapper (with silken tofu, enoki mushrooms and brussel sprouts) and the Hot & Sour Scallops (with sweet corn, tofu & black mushrooms) and the Salt & Pepper Black Bass (with ginger & red chili). The snapper had just the right amount of spice from the chili and was extremely tasty. The Hot & Sour Scallops were great, but didn't stand out. Definitely the stand-out fish dish had to be the Salt & Pepper Black Bass, with its amazing flavor and plumpness. I'm not kidding you, this fish may have been the best I've ever had.
Chili Red Snapper
Hot & Sour Scallops
Salt & Pepper Black Bass
After all that food, one must wonder how on earth I had room for dessert. Well, let me tell you. If you go to Buddakan, DO NOT skip the dessert, especially if you are a chocolate lover. They have three different chocolate desserts to choose from, but do the right thing and order the Crying Chocolate (main photo). I just ate the best fish and it needed to be followed by the best chocolate molten lava cake that I've ever had the pleasure of eating. This dessert is a work of art on the plate: chocolate molten lava cake sitting next to malted chocolate ganache, milk caramel and Vietnamese coffee ice cream. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I don't like the taste of coffee. Well this Vietnamese ice cream must be different as I could actually tolerate it. Once you have some cake on your spoon, scoop up a little caramel, ganache and ice cream, and the result is heaven in your mouth. Now I just need to hunt down the recipe for the chocolate molten lava cake and my life will be complete.
Note: make reservations even if you're going early in the week, as this restaurant is hugely popular and fills up fast.
Buddakan: 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011