Vegetarian: Buddha Bodai

Date: 1/1/2017

Borough: Manhattan

Address: 77 Mulberry Street

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What we ordered: 

  • BBQ Vegetarian Meat
  • Pan-fried Turnip Cakes
  • Steamed Sticky Rice Shumai
  • Steamed House Dumplings
  • Bee Chi Mushroom Rice Rolls

Cost (post-tax, pre-tip): $25.86

The scores:

Ratings (1-10) Rob Missy
Taste 6.5 6.75
Presentation 6.5 7
Setting 7 7.5
Value 8.5 8
Overall 6.75 6.5

Ryan comments:

This was Ryan’s first time in a restaurant. She was sleeping and good at first, but then she woke up and started crying. Mom gave her a quick snack in the bathroom, but we rushed out and left earlier than we would have otherwise. This possibly cost us each a fortune cookie. Not cool.

Ryan’s Report Card (1-10): 6.5

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General Comments:

When doing our initial research on the restaurant, we were very confused by the fact that there are 2 Buddha Bodai restaurants within a block of each other with the same name and same exact menu. Turns out there is some controversy with the landlord, and the initial owner and the staff decided to re-open separately. We went to the one on Mulberry with the apparently nicer staff.  It was well-located for us from home, around a 20 minute walk and just outside the heart of Chinatown. It happened to be a very mild New Year’s Day, and the restaurant was very quiet at 11am. We were the only white people inside.

While Buddha has an extensive menu of other dishes and even sushi, they’re primarily known as a dim sum spot. Dim sum dishes are ordered by checking off boxes on paper menus.

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Our waiter was courteous and helpful with recommendations. The restaurant is a decent size with a good number of tables. There’s nice artwork on the walls and a funny sign in the downstairs bathrooms. There’s also a large bathroom upstairs which a waitress told Melissa to use when she needed to feed Ryan – she even offered to bring in a chair for her to sit in.

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Each table is served skin-on peanuts and hot tea upon being seated, but no water. We asked for water and were also offered hot sauce.

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The first dish to arrive were the turnip cakes. They were gelatinous and very oily, not that that’s a bad thing (according to Rob, not Melissa). Rob definitely enjoyed these more.

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The mushroom rice rolls were too bland and too thick.

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The BBQ vegetarian meat looked like real spare ribs. This had great flavor and texture and was by far the highlight of the meal. We’d probably return just to have this.

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The rice shumai were well-presented and were full of sticky rice, as expected.

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The vegetable dumplings were okay.

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Overall this meal was a good value for the price. The restaurant took credit cards. The staff seemed happy to have the baby around and kept coming over to look at her and ask how old she was. They were very understanding when she was fussing and didn’t seem at all annoyed by her presence. Later into the meal a Chinese family came with three kids came in, which made us feel less bad having the baby there.

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Overall we enjoyed the experience but only gave the restaurant a 6.5 each, mainly due to not being too excited by the food, except for the great BBQ veggie meat.

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