When entering the massive Tao establishment, one can easily be overwhelmed. Tao -- part nightclub, part beach club, part restaurant -- is a 40,000-square-foot mega complex that always has a lively crowd.
The restaurant is a two-story space, with tables overlooking a wall of candles and a giant Asian statue. Tao has no shortage of things to discover. It seems as though every time you turn a corner or look a different way there is something new. Tao's owners have ensured a stimulating experience, as they constantly bring new artifacts back to the restaurant.
Tao's cuisine is good -- but mixed with the vibrant pre-party ambiance, it's even better.
Speaking of cuisine, there are a few especially noteworthy items on the menu. The spicy tuna over crispy rice is a great way to start your meal. With the crunchy rice cake on the bottom, it's both flavorful and texturally pleasing.
One dish I was surprised with was the lobster wontons. Usually, some sort of crispy fried triangle gets plopped on your table with overly dried out shreds of what once might have resembled a lobster. But at Tao, the lobster wontons come in a clay pot and are soft and tender. Meaty chunks of lobster fill these house made dumplings and are nestled in between shitake mushrooms in a sweet, creamy sauce. The dish is a bit on the heavy side but is perfect for sharing.
Something you may not want to share is the marinated sirloin. Served with crispy potatoes and tender shitake mushrooms, this perfectly seared sirloin is delicious. Pair it with the tender Japanese eggplant (one of the best side items on the menu) and you've got quite a meal.
For dessert, the giant fortune cookie is surprisingly crisp and good, with filled with chocolate and white chocolate mousse and garnished with fresh fruit, this fortune cookie comes with a giant fortune.
While Tao is large, it still effectively creates a comfortable dining scene with good food and intriguing ambiance.
-- Review by Nikki Neu