Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Asian dining on another level
So it was Feb. 8, the second day of the Chinese Year of the Rat, and there I was ordering dinner in one of New York’s trendiest Asian restaurants.
Tradition suggested that you celebrate by decorating your table with inexpensive chopsticks. The pair on my table at Tao Restaurant in the city’s theater district was pretty fancy. For a brief second, I thought about taking them home, and besides knowing that stealing would have been wrong, I have never really mastered the art of handling sticks to put food in my mouth. (I swear some people can eat broth with chopsticks)
Instead, I ordered a bottle of Tsingtao beer and began the New Year celebration in the same restaurant where Madonna has been known to dine. The place has a nondescript facade lit by a giant hanging wicker chandelier that looked like something a hypnotist would use to put someone under his spell.
A 16-foot Buddha served as the main attraction inside, just beyond a noisy and lively bar. After being seated among intimate tables in the second-floor lounge, I ordered sea bass and soft-shell crab rolls. The food was fantastic, as was the service. Don’t believe the nasty things people have been saying online about the restaurant, such as the food isn’t especially Asian, the waiters were rude and the menu's too pricey. My bill came to $58, far less than what I was expecting to pay in such a joint.
Another bottle of Tsingtao and it was time to visit the men’s room. Located inside the tiny room was one beautiful urinal, so pretty in fact that it was almost too nice to soil. A waterfall cascaded down a large pane of blue-green, back-it glass into a black granite troth filled with river rocks.
What a way to mark the new year………