The Sweetness of the Temple
Opened in April in the sizzling meatpacking neighborhood, Buddha Bar seems to take the saying “one can’t make a first impression twice” seriously. The entrance in the restaurant is made through a round shaped “tunnel,” made of stripes of exposed bricks, and dark shiny wood. It feels like an underground passage to a different world. And Buddha Bar is a different world. Designed by the same people who created the sister restaurants in Paris and Beirut, Buddha Bar is the most authentic Japanese restaurant I’ve ever seen in the city. The imposing statue of Buddha, overseeing the whole place, the pond with colorful fish, the beauty of the wooden architecture, and the magic lights provide the peaceful and spacious atmosphere of a pagoda. The design of the three large dining rooms has the exclusive structure and balance of a Buddhist temple. All this and more, topped with a glass DJ booth and a cross shaped skylight, is the modern vision of the rising sun’s land.
I was so anxious to find out if their desserts are as fancy and decadent as the place itself. The menu looked promising. I ordered the Warm Fudge Cake. They brought me a chocolaty tower cake (like the one in the picture) with a solid disc of vanilla ice cream on top. The ice cream started melting as soon as I cracked the cake’s crust with the spoon. The cake has the consistency of a brownie on the outside, with a rich, warm, and creamy inside. The ice cream balances perfectly the unsweetened rich chocolate flavor, and adds a new dimension to the whole presentation. Guilty as charged: I’ve finished the cake before even thinking at taking a picture. Oh well, it was irresistible. And there are even more deserts waiting to be discovered. Buddha Bar is the place you want to return to over and over again, and try “everything on the menu.”