Last week, I made my first visit to meatpacking district sensation Buddakan. Joining me was one of my dearest friends and most favorite people on planet earth, Morty, for a belated celebration of his birthday.
As soon as we entered Buddakan, I knew immediately why the producers of Sex and the City chose it as the location for Carrie and Big’s rehearsal dinner. The cavernous 16,000 square foot space – formerly a Nabisco cookie factory – manages to feel grand yet sublimely intimate, thanks to a labyrinth of softly-lit dining nooks around every corner.
Morty and I started off in the bar area, where our perky Aisha Tyler-lookalike waitress Jasmine debriefed us about Buddakan’s celebrity quotient. In the house that night were a Project Runway contestant along with my former Fox News colleague, anchor Rick Folbaum. Earlier in the week, Lionel Ritchie and Depeche Mode had dropped by.
I asked Jasmine if the restaurant has seen a bump in visitors because of SATC. While Buddakan already does brisk business, she said the fanfare leading up to the movie’s release definitely brought in new customers. And yes, I will admit it was Carrie and Big who prompted me to make my long-awaited visit.
Over a pair of perfect cosmos, Morty and I caught up on our own version of current events. He told me about his relaxing jaunt to Northampton, Mass with his longtime beau. I shared the scoop on my recent Facebook connections with more than one old flame.
When we were escorted to our table, I was delighted to discover we had a perfect view of the Chinoiserie – the majestic two-level grand hall seen in SATC. The chandelier-lit space and banquet table seating 30 are even more spectacular than they photograph, and the perfect focal point for people watching when you’re dining upstairs.
Morty and I turned our attention to Buddakan’s sumptuous nouveau Chinese menu of shareable dishes. For appetizers, we feasted on chili rock shrimp, pork potstickers and duck spring rolls. Next up, steamed red snapper with black mushrooms and ginger-glazed veal cheeks so tender and flavorful, I couldn’t stop myself from mmmmming aloud. We satisfied our sweet tooths with a banana-laced millefeulle and chocolate peanut butter bombe, decorated with a candle of course in honor of the occasion.
Morty is someone I celebrate not just on his birthday but every day – a man of such irresistible charm and wit that he can melt the heart of the most hardened journalist (no small feat when you work in PR). More than that, he is the epitome of a true friend. It is with good reason that I have affectionately referred to him as my rock – because on more occasions than I can count, Morty has been the person I’ve leaned on to carry me through the darkness.
The night before my father died, Morty managed to do what no one else could have – he made me laugh. A heartfelt laugh that helped me believe I could somehow survive my second parental loss.
I couldn’t have picked a better place than Buddakan to celebrate Morty’s birthday. With its dramatic ambience, first-class service and delectable menu, Buddakan delivers a dazzling dining experience. Sharing it with one of my best friends only made it even sweeter.