There is one thing about Tao that is really undeniable, the entrance is truly impressive, as you walk into the dining area and find yourself face to face with a towering 16 foot tall buddha you suddenly feel transported to a majestic Asian temple.
The hubby and I were escorted to the second floor to a small table for two with great views of the enormous buddha below. This was P’s first time at Tao, I had been here before but it had been about five ago so I was curious to see how the cuisine had held up. I had heard that it had gotten very touristy and real New Yorkers wouldn’t set foot in here anymore.
I started off with the Lychee Martini, a staple that all trendy Asian fusion restaurants should have, and I was very pleased with it. It was made with real lychee puree which is what defines a good lychee martini in my humble opinion.
We of course had the obligatory edamame which we were offered by our server along with the drinks. (Though it was not complimentary).P and I shared the Spicy Tuna Tartare on Crispy Rice to start which in retrospect I should have known exactly what it was going to look like since it was exactly like a dish I frequently used to order at Ra Sushi in Palm Beach Gardens. But it was not as I had expected… I’m not a huge fan of the spicy tuna “paste” that is frequently created when ordering such a dish. I had pictured more of a “tartare” look with pieces actually resembling fish instead of just mush. With that said, it wasn’t bad, it just was not at all what I had envisioned. The tuna was tasty and the rice was very crispy, but nothing I hadn’t had a million times before at average restaurants. Now perhaps it was my fault for not ordering more exciting options… Next I had the Tao Lo Mein with Roast Pork. I know I should have gotten something more interesting, it was kind of a cop out, but I was in the mood for some lo mein! It was actually good, you could really taste the smoky wok flavors, but it just wasn’t anything too special. P got the Wok Seared New York Sirloin with Shiitake Mushrooms and Szechwan Potatoes – I know big surprise there! It wasn’t a huge portion, so I decided not to ask him for a bite. He enjoyed it (as he always enjoys his steak), but he said it wasn’t anything too extraordinary. Now, I do regret not going with a larger group so that we could have tasted more plates and done the “family style” dining which is so popular at these sorts of restaurants. And although I was not at all blown away by the food, it is very likely that I would return merely due to the great ambience and amazing decor, and most likely with a large group of friends. It’s no wonder that Tao does so well and continues to have long wait times, it’s a very cool place!
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥
Tao | www.taorestaurant.com | 42 E. 58th Street