Buddakan is the quintessential Steven Starr restaurant. The food is goodish, and the atmosphere is great. The price is more than it should be, especially for drinks, but the majority of your money is going to decor and ambiance.
Nonetheless, I have been looking forward to dining here for a while. I was treating myself, and really wanted to enjoy the whole experience. I made my way to the bar and ordered a cocktail, awakening. It was made with Jose Cuervo, a thai chili, and pineapple juice, and was well made. Still, cocktails here are 10-13, plus tax and tip, which seems to be a bit much. There are some decent beer options available, I remember 60 IPA being $6. I was out with my friend Lena, and once I got to the table I split a pitcher of sangria, which was good an lasted the whole meal. Our server was attentive about filling up our glasses through out the night.
The service over all is good here. All of the dishes come out with good timing and are set in the middle for sharing. For starters we ordered the Kobe beef skewers and dumplings. Both of these were fine, nothing amazing, didn't have incredible flavor. My favorite part of the whole meal was my entree. I ordered the sea bass; it had great flavor, and was served with butternut squash. Lena ordered the Asian Pork BBQ, which was served medium rare and was good. The BBQ flavor was light but tasty. The weird thing about this dish was it was served with huge onion rings, and they seemed out of place.
For dessert we both went with a dish called Crying Chocolate. It was a small lava cake served with a dollop of Vietnamese coffee ice cream. We both really liked the dessert, Lena said the ice cream had a really authentic flavor; it was strong. I liked the cake a lot and it was a great way to finish out dinner.
Bottom Line: Service is decent, and atmosphere is great. The food isn't going to amaze you, but like all Starr restaurants, it's a nice experience.