Buddha completes the trifecta of posh restaurants sharing the same North Mesa radius, as well as owners (Bogart’s and Brunch Club). Elegant and reminiscent of a restaurant on the Vegas strip, Buddha offers refined Asian fusion flavors and plenty of high-quality fresh fish offerings flown in frequently from L.A.
The hot small plates section sets the pace with offerings of lamb lollipops with fig, red curry mussels, goat cheese edamame quesadillas with corn ragu and zucchini blossom empanadas with blueberry chili gastrique that more resembled crab rangoon. The raw bar features fresh fish options of tartare, oysters, sashimi and red snapper ceviche. Fifteen sushi rolls are offered, but the Duck roll (duck confit with orange sauce) and Mexico City (snapper, cream cheese, tempura fried guacamole and crispy chipotle shrimp) are notable.
Lunch items include an endless pad thai bowl, a four course bento box with choice of protein, sandwiches and burgers that range in toppings from pork belly to Corona cheese sauce. High drama descends during dinner service with a pork tomahawk glazed in tamarind, served alongside Asian beans and an edamame cake with Brussels sprouts and bacon. Decadence is choosing between a ribeye or tenderloin steak that’s served in a curry chocolate stout sauce with confit potatoes, cipollini onions and sweet potato puree atop shiitake soil. Tempura shark, miso chipotle lobster and tandoori quail also showcase the kitchen’s creativity.
Nouvelle cuisine infused with Asian ingredients is an intriguing addition to El Paso’s fine dining scene. Buddha provides a captivating backdrop, whether it be for a celebratory meal or a happy hour meet-up for Sapporo on draft, wine or a specialty cocktail, like strawberry ginger-infused sake garnished with fresh mint and a chili rim. Buddha has also begun to offer champagne sushi brunch and live music.