Specialising in mouthwatering pan-Asian cuisine, Tao Uptown is revered on the New York dining scene for its club-like vibe and high-end clientele. The space – found near the southeast corner of Central Park – was once a movie theatre, with the former projectionist’s booth now home to the Skybox. This much-coveted private dining area offers views out over Tao’s multi-storey expanse, which is filled with artifacts from Thailand, Japan and China, not to mention the 16-foot beneficent-looking Buddha at the heart of it all, poised above the indoor Japanese carp pond. In short: Tao is a staggering sight.
This temple to Asian cuisine offers a full menu of dim sum and small plates, sushi and sashimi, BBQ and grilled dishes. We’re talking crispy pork potstickers with a chili sesame glaze. Lobster wontons with shiitake ginger broth. Crispy orange chicken. Imperial Wagyu beef cooked in a heady broth of ginger and spring onions with a potent wasabi dipping sauce. And ‘Angry Dragon Rolls’, which come served with eel and kabayaki sauce. Even the side dishes here grab the imagination and tantalise the tastebuds; the fantastically-named ‘Buddha’s Harmonized Vegetable Feast for the Minor Gods with Udon Noodles’ is a case in point. Who wouldn’t want a taste of that? Incidentally, such a feast is best washed down with of their speciality cocktails or a glass of sake of which they have a great selection.
But save room for dessert, if you can. Tao’s signature Giant Fortune Cookie, filled with rich chocolate mousse, or the delicious Crispy Fuji Apple Blossoms (served with a Tahitian vanilla ice cream) would round off the meal nicely.