Appetizer: Kobe Beef Satay with Vegetable Tempura ($16)Entree I: Asian Barbeque Pork - slices of grilled tenderloin with chinese broccoli and giant panko crusted onion rings ($26) Entree II: Japanese Black Cod with a miso glaze and cream cheese and arugula sushi rolls ($24)
Dessert: "Dip Sum" Doughnuts - five-spice sugar mini doughnuts served warm with blackberry jam, chocolate sauce and ginger cream cheese for dipping ($9)
The Astronomer and I rocked in the New Year at my favorite Philly restaurant: Buddakan. The ambiance at Buddakan is too trendy for my taste (see: giant glowing Buddha statue, waterfall wall, two bars), but the great food keeps bringing me back.
We were seated at 11 PM in the upstairs dining room which I was really excited about because I had never sat there before. The room's lit white curtains created a relaxed mood.
We began our meal with the Kobe Beef Satay; our waiter assured us that the beef was authentic Kobe. The meat was presented on wooden skewers and served with a side of vegetable tempura and a soy sauce-based dipping sauce. The beef tasted really fatty and not nearly as tender as the Kobe beef the Astronomer and I had at Nobu. The vegetable tempura saved the day. Asparagus, potatoes, and shitake mushrooms were battered and fried to a wonderful crisp. My favorite was the mushroom. Although the tempura was perfect in every way, the appetizer as a whole left a lot to be desired.
The portions at Buddakan are generous and served family-style. Our first entree was the Asian Barbeque Pork. The pork was moist, tender, and delicious. The barbeque sauce was flavorful upon the delicate slices of grilled tenderloin. The Chinese broccoli was stir fried to a perfect state and added freshness to the dish. My favorite side was the giant Panko crusted onion rings. The onions were thick and the savory batter was just salty enough. The Panko crusting provided a hearty texture that was fun to bite into.
Our second entree was the Japanese Black Cod with a miso glaze. The dish originally came with wasabi mashed potatoes, but our friendly waiter allowed me to substitute for some cream cheese and arugula sushi rolls. The fish was very good, the flesh was buttery and melted in my mouth. The carrot-slaw was quite flavorless so I mixed them with the pork's broccoli, which made them much tastier. The sushi rolls were awesome! Cream cheese and arugula are a great combination.
My favorite dessert at Buddakan is the Banana Tower. Sadly, the Astronomer is not a fan of bananas so we compromised and ordered the Dip Sum Doughnuts and they were fabulous. The doughnuts were warm out of the deep fryer and evenly coated with sugar and a little spice, but mostly sugar. All of the sauces were great, but my favorite was the cream cheese with bits of crystallized ginger. Yum!
Here's to a delicious 2007!