Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Philadelphia Eating Frenzy - Second Stop: Buddakan

Buddakan, another restaurant in the STARR Restaurant group (Pod, Alma de Cuba) has a wonderfully dramatic ambiance.  I grow increasingly appreciative of  Stephen Starr’s talent as we try more of his restaurants and look forward to trying as many as possible of his 27 of so locations in Philly, NYC, Atlantic City and Florida.  Buddakan must be one of his most successful undertakings as he has opened Buddakans in NYC and Atlantic City.

Tuna Tartare Spring Rolls, Kobe Beef Satay, Edamame Ravioli, Black Cod and Wasabi Mashed Potatoes are some of the dishes we shared.  The “Dip Sum” Doughnuts were a sinfully delicious dessert.

I suppose we could try out NYC's Buddakan for lunch tomorrow.  Train travel in this north-east corridor of the U.S. is astounding.  We could walk to Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, also known as Penn Station, and get to NYC in 1 1/2 hours max.  Arriving at New York City's Penn Station we would take a cab or an easy walk to the Meat Packing District and Buddakan.  Then back to NYC's  Penn Station and return to Philly by late afternoon in time for another great dinner in Philadelphia.


All of these Penn Station names cause confusion for me.  Because the Pennsylvania Railroad company was the owner of the DC to Boston line, there are many northeast cities with a "Penn Station",  including New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore.  The Philadelphia station, completed in 1933,  is quite beautiful inside and worth visiting even without a train trip.  (The opening scenes of the movie "Witness" were filmed in the station.)

New York's original Penn Station is no longer.... The original structure (1910-1963) was, according to my husband, and from all the pictures I have seen and articles I have read, a breathtaking and monumental entrance to New York City.  Today there is still much angst over the demolition of the terminal building.  Where there was once a beaux arts masterpiece and an architectural jewel, there is now a boring office complex and the Madison Square Garden arena.  Penn Station is now completely underground.   On the positive side, the controversy that resulted from this tragedy prompted immediate conservation efforts and probably saved NYC's Grand Central Terminal from demolition.

The history of New York's Penn Station is a compelling story -  from its beginnings (check out this interesting NPR All Things Considered episode), to its heyday and eventually demise:



So we do not make the train trip to New York this time - we must leave for home this afternoon.  And alas, now I would be too depressed on arrival into New York's Penn Station.  So we instead opt for brunch at Farmicia; and try to pare down, just a tiny bit,  my son's food expectations with a simple but delicious goat herb omelet, breakfast quesadilla,  and bagels with lox and eggs.

8 comments:

  1. Farmicia was such a great brunch place with an old french country side feel. Another great restaurant that is very similar, if anyone is in the providence area, is 'Rue de l'Espoir' for brunch.

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    1. Thank you for another great restaurant tip in Philly! We will try it on our next visit.

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  2. I love the part about new york's penn station-so interesting! Lisa

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  3. Ate brunch at Dandelion on 18th and Sansom--a "british gastropub" housed in a lovely old townhouse (another Starr restaurant). Lived up to it's repuration--a British influence on the selections and many great cocktails, beers, ales to choose from (even Pimm's Cup). try the eggs with bubble and squeak or the scotch pancakes. A bustling place. ALso heard it was great for other meals, too.

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  4. Thanks for your suggestions at Buddakan Travel Size Mom! We are NJ refugees from Superstorm Sandy (no power now for a week) and lucky enough to take refuge here in Philadelphia. Buddakan, a large space with a supesized buddha holding court in the restaurant,did not disappoint! We also ate the tuna tartare spring rolls and edamame ravioli (wonderful flavor). Also, the sea bass with butternight squash and five spice duck were excellent, as was the newly added shrimp lo mein (quite a surprise). "Dip sum doughnuts" were light cinnamon doughnuts and the caramel chocolate dessert were delightful. Enjoy..

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    1. I hope all is well with you and you are back in your home. The rest of the country can't quite comprehend but we we know what a tough time everyone has had in New York and New Jersey.

      Thank you for your comments - they make me want to go back to Buddakan asap!

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