Opened just a month after - and a few steps from - Morimoto, Buddakan is likewise a Stephen Starr project and one of the most talked of restaurants in New York. From the outside - an undistinguished looking brick box (next to Chelsea Market); inside it's catacombs of insanity. More than 300 seats, two floors and an interior created by the renowned French designer Christian Liagre. Those who have visited the now somewhat faded Buddha Bar may feel overwhelmed by a rush of nostalgia.
Except the scope is completely different: take twenty steps down, and you will find yourself in the main dining hall; then look up, and you will see a row of giant chandeliers dangling from the almost Himalayan-height ceiling - the name is Buddakan, after all... The rest of the rooms, each with a design of its own, are hidden in a maze of passages like little pockets.
On a slightly critical note - the music is so loud that a friendly conversation is all but impossible even for owners of the loudest voices. And service is the same as in most hip places of the if-you-haven't-dined-there-you-don't-exist sort. Buddakan is like a capricious beauty never short of suitors. Don't expect a personal attitude.
The kitchen, on the other hand, is excellent - a sort of flirt with the Orient going on there as well, but in this case it's more of a Chinese than Japanese influence. Truly moreish dim sum. If you would like to dine in the central hall during the busiest hours, do book a table several weeks in advance.
75 9th Ave., New York, NY 10011
Keywords: New York, restaurant, Chinese, eastern, Asian