42 E 58th St
New York, NY 10022

Recent years there are slew high end Asian fusion restaurants in NY opened (and closed) but I still like this original one better. The big Buddha is unmatched so far. The cocktail girls are prettier. The food is rather authentic (not as delicious and unique as Buddakan). The Buddha chicken is terribly dry tho. The noise level is high. A fun night out yes. A heart to heart talk probably not.

When they first opened in late 1990s we went in, attracted by their door, not knowing what it was -:). One of friends that night later said, her husband was asked to invest as the 4th partner but he declined, thinking it’s too risky. During one of the dinners there with her, the managing partner was there and treated us desserts.

Reportedly, it was first, a 19th century stable for the Vanderbilt family and then a movie theater. The focal point of the restaurant is the 16′ Buddha in the back, on a pool staffed with Japanese carp. It has 300 seats. The “sky box”/private room on the third floor used to be the projectionist’s booth. The visible difference is, we didn’t wait even after a couple of changes to our reservation on a Friday night.

I always feel it’s a little regret that Chinese restaurants, in general don’t serve decent desserts. I think it’s ok to have a few popular items even they’re not Chinese, especially in Sichuan cuisine … oh I’m off the chart here – got carried away. Tao’s desserts are delicious (fusion gives them a big leeway!) compare to other Asian restaurants. I particularly like their molten chocolate cake.

The bathroom maiden or guardian or watcher … not many restaurants employee them (Irene goes to cheap eat – go figure) but so far I find them to be unnecessary and burdensome, except the lady at 21 Club who reminds me of old world grace and charm, a bonus to the restaurant. The bathroom at Tao is not big and have someone station there constantly is just an obstacle.


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