38-40 Carmine St,
New York, NY 10014
Official Site

A la carte tasting is what I often refer to as small plates or tapas style dining. To be able to sample a variety of dishes is a pure joy to the palate. Along Carmine Street in the West Village, Carma, an Asian tapas and wine bar allows guests with such experience. Their modern Asian fare with Western influences was created by the same executive chef of the Michelin starred DinTai Fung. The food was such hit for New Yorkers that Carma expanded to the East Village with Carma Dim Sum Bar.

The restaurant has two separate dining rooms filled with smooth wooden top tables and Danish designed chairs. It has exposed brick walls, herringbone pattern oak floors, and light bulbs that drop down from the ceiling illuminating the whole space. During good weather, an outdoor area in the back is available for al fresco dining. The vibe in the restaurant is chill and is equaled by a tremendously friendly service.

One menu is offered all day at Carma that consist of mainly small plates made for sharing. Many of the dishes are moderately priced, none exceeding more than $20 (except for the whole fish which is market price). Dining in a group allows everyone to easily sample the whole menu.

Highlighting Carma’s “Signature Dim Sum” was the Foie Gras Soup Dumpling. Decadent foie gras infused soup trapped inside the dumplings is released in one bite. This was probably the best dumplings I’ve ever had.

The tapas selection of Tempura Fresh Water Eel…Burrata Cheese, Cucumber, Served with Bun, was nicely done in putting together the richness of the Burrata cheese with the eels graininess. Mexican inspired PEKING DUCK TACOS – Shredded Peking duck marinated in homemade Hoisin BBQ sauce came in three small hard tacos. The combination of the flavorful shredded duck meat and the homemade guacamole created a terrific filling.

Fresh White Fish Cakes looks more like Chinese mini buns than a cake. Cooked pan fried, giving top and bottom a burnt crust, and in the middle of the cake was the delicious grounded white fish stuffing. Five Spice Beef…Served with Pickled Radish were slices of sweet marinated cured beef served in room temperature. It had dry texture similar to beef jerky but is also tender and is easily chewed.

The Kung Pao Organic Chicken Breast…Hot Chili Pepper, Peppercorn, Spinach Sauce was not your typical Kung Pao chicken. The sauce was made from spinach sprinkled with pepper corn and nuts that surprisingly went extremely well with the all fieriness on the plate. This was an ingenious reinvention of classic Chinese fare. The Organic Chicken Lettuce Wrap on the other hand was the weakest and the most uninspiring dish I had here. Yet it still managed to please my palate with its flavorings.


Vegetable dishes such as The Spicy Hunan Chinese Celery & Smoked Tofu had a good blend of spiciness and smokiness. The mixture of the contrasting texture of the tofu softness and the crunchiness of the celery worked well together. Roasted Japanese Eggplant with spicy garlic sauce was served piping hot in a cover bowl. Once the cover was removed it yielded beautiful savory aromas. Eggplant served like a sponge absorbed all those fantastic flavors from the sauce.

“Carma House Special” like the Baked Miso Cod, was a sumptuous piece of cod coated in sweet sauce. Fresh sautéed Chinese broccoli and eggplant on the plate serve as a terrific accompaniment to the cod. The fried Coconut Milk Calamari has a beautiful crispiness and the distinct coconut milk can be tasted in the batter.

The kitchen’s creativity in reinventing Asian cuisine and incorporating global ingredients was impressive. On every plate there was an assortment of flavor combination that worked well with one another while also keeping the taste of the Far East intact. To pair perfectly with their food is their decent drink list that consisted of an eclectic wine selection, imported beer, Asian inflicted cocktail, and an assortment of sake.

New York City is full of “Modern Asian” or “Asian Fusion” restaurant, which have its unique differences. This can cause some confusion on the plate which type really is. At Carma, they are able to blend East and West cooking that produces a successful “Asian Fusion” cuisine.

Asia Dog

No one thinks of America’s staple, the hot dog, dressed up other than with mustard, onion sauce, or sauerkraut. When most people think of this favorite quick bite, it’s of baseball games, Coney Island, or those many push carts that we know are housing “dirty dogs”. A hotdog for the Manhattanites on the go or hipsters on the move has just rolled onto Kenmare Street in NoliTa section of Manhattan. Its name is Asia Dog.

Asia Dog has taken a role that will test the diehard hot dog fans. Here is where you won’t find toppings associated with one of the favorite “on the go” meals of New York. Instead you will find a mixture of julienne vegetables seasoned with chutneys or Ethnic sides toned down to accommodate their new mates all mixed together to combine different flavors that go with your hotdog of choice. Not only does Asia Dog cater to the beef eaters, but the Vegetarians, and non-red meat eaters. They definitely want their customers to feel satisfied.

Asia Dog is a cool, yet tiny spot where the wood breakfast bench style forms an “L” shape upon entry. They have a stand up counter also and behind a wood counter are two people that have that relaxed young artsy look, one taking your order and the other preparing it. Above them is a huge menu that is concise and clear. Each topping choice is listed with their ingredients. The prices aren’t that bad either. For $8 you can enjoy two dogs with topping of your choice.

A few of my favorite hotdogs are the “Ginny”, a house made Kimichi with Nori flakes. The Kimichi with the chicken hotdog combination is something that I never thought would work but it hits to the point on this one. The “Sidney” topping consist of a Thai mango relish (cucumber, red onions and cilantro) with crushed peanuts that compliment the smoky flavor of the hotdogs. The “Vinhn a Bahn Mi” topping, made out of spicy aioli, pickled carrots and daikon, jalapeno and cilantro, comes with a pâté that can be ordered as pork or veggie. This topping is usually made for Vietnamese sandwiches but this also works very well with the hotdog. A side order of Korean Yam Fries is a good compliment to go along with the hotdogs. Sweet fries that are deep fried and served with a tangy, yet spicy mayonnaise sauce complete the meal at Asia Dog.

Combining East Asian flavors on an All-American comfort food was genius. The concept behind this eatery may have never been thought about, but in a city like New York where diners are exposed to all kinds of cuisine and are more adventurous, Asia Dog is perfect for New York.

Asia Dog
66 Kenmare St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 226-8861
Official Website


75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
(212) 989-6699
Official site

Located in the fashionable and hip area of Chelsea that borders the Meatpacking District is Buddakan, one of the trendiest, hottest and chicest of New York City’s restaurant scene.

The look of the restaurant alone is awesome. Buddakan’s interior is a brave new world – the fusion of French royalty and Chinese dynasty with a modern twist. Upon entering you are immediately blown away by a huge European styled painting behind the concierge wall. After the concierge experience you are directed to a cool and very impressive bar lounge/waiting area. The Asian themed space is full of beautiful and fashionable people waiting to be seated.

From the waiting area you are escorted like royalty to your table by a tall gorgeous and elegant hostess. While walking downstairs to the dining area, you can’t resist being impressed by the aerial views of the French 18th century styled Grand Dining Hall. At the hall’s center sits a very long communal table which can seat several guests. The table is complemented by 4 stunning chandeliers hovering directly above. My guest and I were seated in the dining section at the left of the grand hall called the “Golden Library.” Walls inlaid with bookshelves filled with glowing golden books, the Golden Library is also complete with its own small lounge. A third dining section, “The Buddha Room,” is situated directly opposite the Grand Dining Hall and near the restroom. This Asian inspired room is decorated with many pictures of various interpretations of the Buddha, a change in ambiance from the modern “Golden Library” and the French styled Grand Dining Hall. Buddakan is huge, dark and loud but that’s the beauty of this amazing restaurant.





The food is Asian fusion served family style. The last time I was here I started out with the deviled tuna tartare with chilli mayonnaise and scallion, one of my favorite Buddakan dishes. For my entrée I had the whole crispy fish with napa cabbage, apple and water chestnut; and my guest had the broken chilli chicken made with Chinese thai basil. Both entrées were very tasty. We also ordered a side order of vegetable fried rice with coconut foam, the best vegetable fried rice I’ve tasted so far. The food here is delicious and very savory. The average appetizer price is about $15, entrees are $25-$40 and drink prices are pretty average for New York City. I spent $65 (excluding gratuity) per person for a three course dinner and 2 glasses of wine.



Service was top notch from the concierge personnel, the hostess, our waitress and even the bus staff and security. Our waitress was very attentive, friendly and answered all of our questions. It seemed as though she knew how every meal was cooked and all the ingredients included.

Buddakan has a great look and feel and if that wasn’t enough the food is also great. The soft lighting and cool music added just the right finishing touches; a great place for a date or to just to have a night out with friends.