Taoism is a philosophy, a religion, and a way of life; Tao Restaurant in New York City could be considered the same. Opened in the Fall of 2000, Tao has been cranking out some of the best Asian food in all of New York and is still generating the same buzz today as it did nine years ago. Frequently visited by celebrities and athletes alike, Tao makes you forget about everything else when you walk in the door. You are warmly greeted by a giant statue of Buddha upon entering the restaurant, and the restaurant invites you to try a lot of what they are offering with small plates, large plates, noodles, sushi and more.
I was alone for my first visit to Tao, working in New York City and eating out every night. I sat at the bar upstairs in what used to be the balcony of an old movie theater with a great view of the entire restaurant. I was immediately greeted by a friendly and very helpful bartender who quickly poured me an Asahi and helped me decide what I should order. After discussing several of the amazingly delicious sounding menu options with the bartender, I settled on the following three small plates (no pictures, I didn't have my camera!)
Crispy Tuna Sashimi Roll with Edamame
This roll was excellent. Four pieces atop hot, steaming edamame served with a spicy edamame wasabi dipping sauce. The roll was crunchy on the outside and deliciously soft and rare on the inside.
Satay of Chilean Sea Bass with Wok Roasted
This small plate came with two skewers of Chilean sea bass sitting on top of four spears of roasted asparagus and it was fantastic. The sea bass was cooked perfectly, no teeth necessary. The rich and buttery fish simply melted in my mouth and the roasted asparagus was peeled for presentation and provided great balance to the entire plate.
Lobster Wontons with Shitake Ginger Broth
This small plate included 6 wontons in a shitake ginger broth. The shitake ginger broth was great but the the wontons were definitely missing something. They were good, sure, but were pretty flat on flavor and definitely lacked any significant lobster flavor. It would be fair to say this was just another wonton served in a fantastic shitake ginger broth.
I can't wait to get back to Tao New York to try some more things on the menu. Everything sounds so great and the few things I have tried tell me that the kitchen at Tao knows how to crank out excellent food that looks AND tastes great.
If you find yourself in New York City, find your way to Tao for some Asian enlightenment.
Tao New York
42 E 58th Street (between Park and Madison Avenues)
New York, NY 10022
Ph. (212) 888-2288