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We had a lunch reservation at Tao in New York City last week. Our host and tour guide for the few days we were in town suggested Tao and took care of the reservation. We had an incredible lunch at Tao. The theme was fantastic. The food, the table settings, the decorations and the layout of the restaurant were all very impressive.
My lunchmates split a sushi dish that I was clearly too afraid to branch out and try. I liked that they ordered one dish and the server actually recommended they try something else. He was very adament in his recommendation and said he stood by it without undermining their original choice. I would hate to speak for them, but they seemed very pleased with their decision to follow his suggestion. I am a big fan of a knowledgeable wait staff, especially when the servers interact with the table more than for just taking an order and refilling water glasses.
During the week Tao offers a prix fixe menu for lunch. Apparently it used to be under $20, but it is now $24.07. The menu (pdf) offers a variety of pan Asian dishes. I ordered the Peking Duck Spring Rolls with Hoisin Sauce, Kung Pao Chicken and the Chocolate & Raspberry Wontons with Vanilla Ice Cream.
I traded one of my duck spring rolls for a skewer of chicken satay from one of my lunchmates. I definitely made the right choice with the duck. The spring rolls were moist and delicious. The hoisin sauce added a nice light flavor if used, but I opted against for the most part.
I was expecting a spicier dish in the kung pao chicken. Believe me, I was not at all disappointed to find it was not spicy. I would have eaten and enjoyed it had it been spicy, but it was great mild. It was plated with very roughly chopped bell peppers and cantaloupe. I am a big rice fan, so I could have eaten more than the single scoop at the center of my plate, but there wasn't really any room in my stomach for more.
The chocolate and raspberry wontons were delicious. They were a little too big for one bite and a little too hard to cut to make into smaller bites, but that has never stopped me before and it didn't stop me at Tao. The ice cream was drizzled with caramel and chocolate sauce. Any time ice cream is involved I am happy.
I was incredibly impressed with the amount of food we got and how much I enjoyed it for a $24.07 three-course lunch. I highly recommend Tao in New York City. I'm glad we were able to go while I was in town.
If you happen to be out west, Tao Las Vegas is located in the Venetian Hotel.
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