Truthfully, I had absolutely no interest to ever set foot inside Buddakan but alas, I did.  I am not a big fan of larger than life Disneyland type restaurants.  It isn’t about the food it is about this manufactured vibe being created by an architect, generally David Rockwell. 

I admit, the inner room at Buddakan that has a long table created for communal eating or when the King comes to town, is magnificent.  Around that large room is a variety of smaller rooms that when you walk around, you realize that there are many patrons. 

One you arrive, they take your name and ask you to wait in the lounge/bar.  Although I understand the concept, please enter into our home, it is a silly system.  People dressed in black with note pads with your name on it, and I assume some type of description of how you look, peek around and ask people if you are so and so.  It is as if they are on a blind date.  Eventually, everyone gets seated. 

The menu is pretty large.  Everything is recommended for sharing.  Appetizers to main courses and then of course desserts.  The girls, who we were with that night (Josh was at a friends party) had done some research before and knew what to order.  We stuck with the appetizers and shared everything.  Nothing was stellar but nothing was bad either.  It is hard to describe.  Almost like fake food.  Everything is perfectly displayed in its execution but it is as if someone is following a manual.   Jessica said it beautifully, "there is no love in the food" like going to Little Owl or Babbo or even Morandi.  Some nights are better than others but there is no doubt in my mind that Buddakan will never change.  One can go back and back again and get the exact same meal they had before.  There will be no "off nights".  It is like the architecture.  Calculating. 

My point system is always based on what I feel like the next morning.  I woke up in the middle of the night beyond thirsty with an awful taste of old garlic in my mouth.  The girls had the same experience.  I felt like I had eaten processed food. 

Apparently they are doing great because the place is packed.  But, for me, never again.  It is just what I expected. In a city that has so many fantastic gems, Buddakan isn’t New York, it is a high end suburban fern bar. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. ellen

    Living in the suburbs, I know exactly what you mean. Literally, the best meal is the take out chicken at Whole Foods and they are gone by 7:30 pm. We have so many chains- The Cheesecake Factory, Charlie’s, Paparazzi, Legal Seafood that it is not worth the time to eat out.

  2. Buddkan Fan

    I think the the food is very good, the service is good and all of the other folks in the crowds like it to. It is a fantastic NEW YORK experience. Fun and good! Get over it you whiner! Or just stay away!!!!

  3. C.Edwards

    I find it fascinating how many “foodies” there are nowadays. I like good food too, but geez –how many amazing restaurant experiences has anyone actually encountered, especially in New York. “Love” in the food?! the place seats like a bazillion people a night, how much “love” is expected? Anyone who eats at Buddakan knows what they’re getting. Get over yourselves.

  4. smokedgouda

    ahhhh….Buddakan. I ate there with a group about 6 months ago. Beyond the hellish wait we had in the lounge (they kept telling us “soon, soon” and it turned into an hour and a half). The meal wasn’t very memorable. Lots of greasy chinese food with a little more flavor. Not worth it.

  5. not a foodie

    Why can’t someone write about a restaurant without being a “foodie”? Why can’t people express an opinion without being told it’s wrong? An opinion by definition cannot be wrong, it’s an OPINION: “a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter”

    I’m not even a regular reader of this blog and this is pissing me off.

  6. C. Edwards

    I’m sorry you’re so easily pissed off “Not a foodie”. No one said the opinion was wrong, I just find it amusing what high standards people hold restaurants to nowadays.

  7. Eddie Wilson

    Someone forgets to order entres and then “reviews” a restaurant?

    Give me a break…