On the recommendation of two friends, I went to Tao for dinner in New York City on Saturday night. I Must say, I was more than impressed by everything.
Tao is a converted movie theatre located in 42 E 58th St in Manhattan. One could say it's PF Changs meets 28 Degrees. It was a loungy, fun, hip restaurant with great atmosphere and superior service. We arrived 15 minutes ahead of schedule, and our host just smiled and led us upstairs. We passed a large open area with a 16 foot Buddha in a coy pond. Other tables were spread around an upstairs balcony, and there was also a third level even higher has a glassed in “Sky Box” for private dining. There was traditional Tibetan decorations around the whole restaurant, and a small sushi bar was located to our left.
Our service, though late when greeting us, remained constant, professional and fast all night. Not a single napkin or toothpick remained on our table more than 2 minutes.
For drinks, we ordered an apple martini, pear martini and something called a Tao #9, which was vodka, cranberry, and energy drink. All were great.
For appetizers, we got a Satay of Chicken with Peanut Sauce, Crispy Tuna Sashami Roll with Edaname, and Bamboo Steamed Vegetable Dumplings with Crunchy Cucumber. Everyone enjoyed their appetizers. I LOVED my sashimi. It was the thickest chuck of tuna I’ve ever had in a sushi roll. Kristine loved her dumplings, but said they were too spicy for me to try.
Dinner arrived right after appetizers. Jon and I got Pad Thai, which put every restaurant in Boston to shame. Kristine got the Red Curry Coconut Chicken, but was not a huge fan of the amount of coconut milk used. Jed decided on a medley of appetizers, and got a side of steamed vegetables with and a small plate of lacquered Roast Pork.
Interesting story about the men’s room. I walked behind the Buddha downstairs to the restrooms. The stairwell was decorated like a Tibetian monastery, with chant music playing softly. I went downstairs and saw two doors. “Ying” and “Yang.” That’s it. No man or woman picture to help. Just “Ying” and “Yang.” I had to stop for a full 20 seconds weighing my option and trying to remember anything I remembered on the careful balance of the universe. I choose “Yang” and was gratefully correct, since a bathroom attendant greeted me instantaneously. The sink was cool, as it was a huge empty steel barrel with a ton of polished stones to collect the tap water. Fun. Although bathroom attendants almost always make me nervous. A quick poll of my dining companions found that one person would have in fact went in the wrong room, while the other would have waited until they saw someone else either come or go.
I didn’t take pictures, because I was told I was sitting 2 feet from a famous baseball player named AJ Something, and didn’t want him to think I was snapping photos.
All in all, GREAT restauarant. We had a fantastic time, good food, and I just loved the loungy Tibetan atmostphere. I would recommend this place to anyone. Try the Sushi, and just avoid the coconut curry chicken!
And yes, this was also featured in Sex and the City.