This is the FEVER cocktail - with pomegranate juice and jalapenos amongst other things, like a hard alcohol. It's delicious - slightly sweet with a lingering heat that you savor seductively. This can be had at the Buddakan, but I hope you have a cocktail dress to go with it and someone who has some sway because it's hard to get into the Buddakan, especially if you have a party of 6. Fortunately, my gal pal is incredibly resourceful and knows the "it" guy. And that's all it takes. To know that one "it" guy.
Buddakan is a beautiful space that's beautifully decorated, yes the inanimate objects are nice, but I'm talking about the pretty people. I was wearing what I thought of as my Manhattan outfit - a hip little number - until I walked in and people were dressed as if they were going to the prom later that night... expect they were clearly in their 30s. And suddenly, my hip little number felt more "nice" than anything else, and the only comfort I could take was the fact that my shoes were comfortable and theirs weren't, so there.
As far as the food goes, it's modern Chinese, and it's absolutely good food. The Edamame Dumplings are truly special - I was not expecting an edamame puree, but when it oozes from its rice wrapped shell, it's decadent, flavorful, and not to be missed. Their cod is expertly prepared, but I've had some pretty amazing cod in my lifetime - see my post on Seattle's Steelhead Diner. And in fact, everything else is disappointingly familiar. It's not disappointing because it's bad, it's disappointing because I'm fairly certain I've had that dish somewhere in California or a big city Chinatown, only it cost me a quarter of what Buddakan was charging.
To be fair, the Buddakan versions were delicious and every single dish was beyond reproach. But the real question is whether you would rather have a 10 in flavor and in cost, or whether you're willing to have an 8 in flavor for a 4 in cost. Is that a good tradeoff? Okay, okay, so there's the Hollywood atmosphere and the stellar service. How to account for that? I mean, when you eat in Chinatown, let's be honest - you're lucky if you get a server who doesn't look upon you with scorn and serve a dish with his finger in the food. So what is that worth?
And then I go back to the FEVER. Ahh, for that alone, I would go back to the Buddakan.