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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Buddakan NYC

When I first moved to New York City I intended on going to Graduate School at Pratt. Actually, Graduate School was the reason for me moving to New York City. Because I had my Undergraduates Degree in Interior Design, I was exempt a semester and did not have to start school until January. However, after all of my summer weddings I still moved to New York City in the Fall of 2006. Wow. I can't believe I have been here this long. 

Anyway, during those three months I was here with nothing to do.  I decided I should get a job. Actually, that is a big fat lie. My parents decided I should get a job. Therefore, my Mother flew to NYC with me and stayed one week with one intention only, to make sure I got a job.

So, being the good girl that I am, I applied for jobs at Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn. I figured I would stay in my career field since I did have a degree in interior design. I could put my four years of schooling to use! Of course both places offered me jobs and I choose Crate & Barrel because they were going to pay me more. Who wouldn't? 

That night my Mom and I decided to celebrate my big move and my first (did I not mention that before?) job. We had reservations at Buddakan. The one and only place my Mom had heard about in New York City. Of course it was from Kelly Ripa on Regis and Kelly. We figured since Kelly said it was the new hot spot we should try it out. 

We had an early reservation since we didn't have time to book one month in advance like the rest of New York. All I can remember was how amazing and spectacular the interior design and architecture by Christian Liaigre was. I kept gasping. I had never seen anything like it in Oklahoma. The use of space is unbelievable. Actually I should say the amount of space is unbelievable.

You definitely feel the Asian vibe when you enter. The use of the colorful take on the Chinese cutout panels adds great color in the space. The Chinoiserie, also known as the Main Room, Big Room, Center Room, is an unbelievable site. You almost want to pinch yourself to make sure it is real. 

The oak wood paneled walls with matching stained hard wood floor make the space glow with the ambient lighting from the four wood carved chandeliers above the "Communal Table". The stairs stand out from the use of the dark slate, although hard to see, really make an impression and statement. This whole room just screams WOW and grand. 

The use of the mirrors on the wall parallel to the staircase wall make the large space seem that much larger. The space could have been designed to seat more guests but the grand feeling would then be lost. The banquettes around the perimeter really opens up the space and makes each and every table important. Especially the corner tables! 

We sat in what is now my favorite room, the Library. You know, since most restaurants have different rooms within the restaurant...

This room is quieter, calmer and doesn't have as much of a grand feeling as the Chinoiserie but some people don't always need or what that. I love the golden glow of the faux books, lounge seating in the center and banquettes around the perimeter. This space is definitely more private and romantic. 

I remember exactly what we ordered, where we sat and how much we spent, $96.00. I will admit it is a little odd that I remember. Half way through our dessert (Which is still to this day one of the most amazing desserts I have ever had. Sadly, they do not have it anymore since it was a pumpkin soufflĂ© with cinnamon ice cream and pumpkin is seasonal.)  this attractive, amazingly dressed guy came up to our table and asked how everything was. Well, the proud Mom that she is went into our celebrating. She told him about my new residency and job and definitely bragged like Mom's are supposed to. 

In the middle of this conversation the attractive amazingly dressed man, who happened to be the General Manager Michael, said "Why don't you come work for me? I'll pay you more!"

...and that's where it all started. My first job, a hostess at Starr Restaurant Organization's Buddakan New York City. This might be where the obsession began. Now, I have to admit, I didn't have this obsession when I worked there. Maybe, with the Edamame Dumplings, but that's another story. This obsession has lasted three years and is still going strong. 

It turns out Graduate School is very much like Undergrad and not needed for Interior Design. So I believe anyway. I lasted a good two weeks and quit withdrew from the semester. This sparked my relationship with Buddakan to a whole other level. It turned out to be my only means of income. Eeeks!

This 10,000 square foot well oiled machine which employed some ridiculous number like 250 employees with at least ten managers on the floor at all times was what paid my rent and lifestyle. Yes, the lifestyle had to be edited to what I was used to. But still, to think about that now is really kind of scary. No wonder my Dad had a minor heart attack when I called him to let him know I had quit withdrew from the semester. Yes, I'm pretty sure at that moment quit was all he heard. 

But, to this day, Buddakan is still one of my favorite restaurants to take outsiders to. Not only is the food always consistently delicious, the decor is something not many people have seen. Yes, it is over the top for some but for what it is, an amazing Asian-French Fusion restaurant in the Meat Packing, it is pretty darn spectacular. It makes you feel special and important. 

I must love Buddakan a lot because I even celebrate my birthday there this year with some of my best friends. Of course I blogged about it in this post. We had a wonderful time as always. 

So, when my good friend Britt told me she and her boyfriend were making a detour to the City, I immediately planned a night for them! This is Corey's first time to really see the City. It is also a very important trip because it is going to help decide their next move. I had to make it awesome, obvi. So, how does Cuban Sandwiches from Cafe Habana, the Highline, Chelsea Market, Buddakan and Times Square at night sound? Pretty awesome for a first night in NYC huh? I think he agreed.

Next on the list...

Bianca, Dumbo, Grimaldi's, Grey Dog Cafe... 


  1. Talk about luxury. What a beautiful place, it must have been incredible to work there.

  2. what an inspirational story! loved every bit of it like a good novel. Thank you for the post and enjoy the magic carpet ride.