Sun–Wed, 5pm–1am; Thu–Sat, 5pm–2am
A, C, E at 14th St.; L at Eighth Ave.; 1, 2, 3 at 14th St.
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Tao Downtown’s bright red entranceway peeks out from below the Maritime Hotel, and behind its doors, a wood-paneled cave awaits. Inside, you’ll be greeted by women who are dressed in short, body-con reinventions of the kimono. It's a lot to take in, but feels almost subtle when compared with the 400-person bi-level dining room, which features a humongous statue of the Buddhist goddess Quan Yin drenched in an aquatic light show with projection-mapping technology. Depending on how many drinks you've had, Tao’s most recent iteration can seem like a cavernous temple, a highly stylized club, or just one panda short of a pan-Asian Rainforest Cafe. Though the menu includes some reimagined favorites from Tao Uptown, it also features sushi and barbecue options, as well as a large variety of dim-sum-style plates in single portions recommended for sharing. Though some of the entrée-size dishes, like the $29 crispy Thai pork, are decidedly not worth their marked-up prices, there are a number of gems in the eight-page menu booklet. Start with the Chilean sea bass satay, which is sweet and moist. Choose other small dishes such as the well-marinated chicken-wing lollipops, or the juicy five-spice short ribs. Just be sure to save room for sweets, as your waiter might tell you before handing over a dessert menu, “The pastry chef has just whipped up some cotton candy.” Of course there is cotton candy at the theme park that is Tao Downtown, but served with honey-milk powder over strawberries and orange blossoms, sugar in this light and fluffy form almost feels like a mandatory indulgence.Recommended Dishes