Jessica came to NYC for the weekend and we went out to celebrate her birthday. She had made a reservation at Tao Downtown (in Chelsea), and I had no objections. I’ve been to Tao in Vegas before, and I was curious to see what Tao in New York was like.
From the street, Tao didn’t look like much, but once inside, a giant lounge-like restaurant reveals itself, complete with high ceilings, funky tunes and a big Buddha in ever-changing outfits overlooking it all. Ok, Buddha-themed places is a bit 2003, but I think Tao pulled it off nicely.
Usually the food at those restaurant/lounge places can be a bit so-so, but the majority of the dishes we had at Tao were actually quite good and a few of them even made it to “amazing”.
Among the not-so-memorable dishes was the chirashi salad, which tasted bland and boring, so I only ate the raw fish on top. The crispy chicken also didn’t impress, but I think it would have been great if served with something to wrap it in, Peking duck style. By itself it was a bit sad and boring.
My favorite that evening was the octopus salad. Octopus doesn’t taste of much just being octopus, but when it’s fresh and tender, and mixed with a killer-sauce, like the one I had at Tao, it’s a rock star dish.
Jessica doesn’t eat fish, so she had the Crispy Thai pork as a main and the portion was so large, I’m not even sure she noticed all the times my chopstick were on the prey on her plate.
Jessica doesn’t eat fish, so she had the Crispy Thai pork as a main and the portion was so large, I’m not even sure she noticed all the times my chopstick were on the prey on her plate. The sauce was sweet and sticky, and the pork was crispy and slightly chewy. I liked that dish a lot.
The warm chocolate cake with salted caramel gelato was also to die for. I was already full when it arrived, so I thought I would just have a spoonful to see what it’s like. No way you would be able to stop after one spoonful! I still blame that cake for the food coma, which hit me hard and merciless afterwards, but it sure was worth it.
Tao Downtown Nightclub, 369W 16th Street (between 8th St. & 9th St.), Chelsea, New York, Tel: (212) 888-1440 Visit Tao Downton’s website