Buddakan: Restaurant as celeb? Or am I nuts?
Aaaah the meatpacking district, now home to so many flashy, enormous pleasure palaces. I HEAR. Needless to say…
I tend to hang out in Brooklyn.
Buddakan is the big fat baby of Stephen Starr, who just stepped off the boat from Philly with rolls of blueprints under his arms and a passion for the diversionary needs of fancy young New Yorkers. For some reason I keep picturing Governor Ratcliffe from Disney’s Pocahontas.
Alright, OK, I’m getting a little out of hand here. Maybe they don’t just hire sluts. As for the food, Frank actually liked it. As for Frank’s language, I couldn’t help but feel like much of what he said about the restaurant itself could also be applied to the world of the rich and famous that often circulates in the meatpacking district.
The Count makes Buddakan sound like a sexy celebrity who could get by on her yams alone, but who happens to crochet strategic maps of the Balkans into her thongs and play lots of chess:
“…the real surprise is how good many of Buddakan's alternately faithful and fanciful interpretations of [Chinese cuisine] are. A restaurant this sexy doesn't need to be smart.”
“Buddakan is the apotheosis, at least for the next 60 seconds, of a distinct genre: the post-millennial urban mess hall as supersize cocktail lounge with superstylized dishes, which chart a far-out trip to the Far East.”
Lordy. “Supersized,” “superstylized,” and “far-out trip.” Brought to you by Bill and Ted’s California Press Releases, Inc.
“Fuckin’ rad and kinda Asian!”
“[Buddakan’s ]chef, Michael Schulson, breathes intelligence and creativity into it.” His mao poe tofu is Frank’s prime example: “Cubes of silky bean curd act as crucial moments of calm in a wet, fiery mix of garlic, Thai chili peppers and, well, minced pork. If you want tofu to bust loose like this, you have to give it meat as well as heat.”
IF YOU WANT TOFU TO BUST LOOSE LIKE THIS, YOU HAVE TO GIVE IT MEAT AS WELL AS HEAT. That, my friends, is why I exist.
Photoshop is to me as scissors are to Edward Scissorhands: a blessing and a curse.
Not everything at Buddakan was as stellar as the tofu: “that's the thing about Buddakan — more than a few losers keep company with the many winners.” See? Just like the world of celebrities!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Haylie Duff! Oops, please hold, I’ve got Kristen Cavallieri on line 2.
Frank concludes with some wisdom that to me seems charmingly self-aware.
Again recalling many of the platitudes about Hollywood, “Buddakan won't please diners of all ages equally. It's better suited to the young, and its own youth is crucial to its appeal.”
Buddakan’s place in Captain Starr’s spanking new roster is a draw for sure, and it’s true that no matter how good the spare ribs or the tofu, it’s probably not your first choice for parents-in-town fare. But Frank intends this youth comment in another way, too: the flashiness seems to turn tacky if you squint and look real hard:
“Restaurants like this tend to look junky upon fifth or sixth inspection, and it's hard to believe this kitchen, serving so many diners at such a fleet pace, won't show signs of strain over time.”
Those Olsen twins are really out of control. Zing!
OK, I’m done with my extended metaphor. But don’t worry, more can surely be found in next week’s Dining Out!