The TAO of Firsts

TAO, this hip and happening Asian Fusion restaurant that celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Robert DeNiro, Madonna, Beyonce and Jay-Z frequent, sure was packed so luckily I went with someone who knew the secret of getting a seat right away. Otherwise, we would be waiting an hour, at least (even with reservations). We made our way upstairs, and headed all the way to the back where there were a couple of seats available at the intimate sushi bar (where you can order from the regular menu).

Tao is spacious and beautiful, made to look like a majestic Asian temple. There is a huge 16-foot Buddha on the lower level that “floats” above a virtual reflecting pool and artifacts from China, Japan and Thailand accenting the entire space.

We shared our starter of salted edamame which was delightfully addicting, until we were served our customized smoked salmon roll. Normally I wouldn’t touch sushi (you will learn I am not an adventurous foodie and I do not do raw fish) but since I was famished, decided to try it. Now if you aren’t a sushi fan, Tao New York is definitely the place to have it. Inside the roll was caviar, avocado, crispy onion with this amazing sweet and spicy sesame sauce. I actually enjoyed the roll and the flavors came together nicely, and could tell that everything was fresh.

Our main course was the Peking Duck which I’ve had numerous times in China, but never in New York City so I was very excited to finally try it here. There was plenty to go around for the both of us and the duck skin was extremely crispy, the way it should be. I wrapped the skin, a couple of pieces of duck, cucumber and onion strips, along with hoisin sauce which was a little salty but utterly delicious. The flavors came together nicely, however the pancake itself was a little too thick and the vegetables didn’t have enough crunch to them. Also, the duck meat was hidden underneath the skin and there wasn’t enough of it… For the price of $36 a person, they could’ve been more generous with the duck meat.

Though I enjoyed the experience of Tao, to be perfectly honest, I would only go if I knew my bill would be taken care of (and it was this night). The service, quality, and taste of the dishes were not high enough to qualify the expensive costs. However, it would be worth it to try during special deals such as Restaurant Week.

Address: 42 E 58th Street.

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