Lexington’s downtown scene for lunch is a wonderful collection of delis, home cooking, fried chicken, and sandwiches. If you’re in the mood for something from the Far East, Buddha Lounge is your place to be.
A recent addition to the scene, Buddha Lounge is located at 109 North Mill Street, filling a spot that is skinny street width but depth in interior and flavor. I have a hard time keeping all of the businesses straight in this area but you probably wouldn’t recognize the interior anyway which shows evidence of extensive renovations.
When you enter the restaurant, find a seat in the long dining area or in the nice alcove to your right. The tables are easily moved to fit your party’s size. There is a large bar area that I assume is quite busy in the evenings.
We arrived for a late lunch. There were only a few tables taken so we had our choice in seating. We each got miso and a small cucumber teaser before the lunch was served.
Lunch was chosen from the daily menu offering the usual favorites of sushi neophytes (spicy tuna and california roll) as well as appearances being made from the broader range of Asian cuisine (Korean short rib tacos with kim chi, Thai panang curry). At $9 for the bento, this is extremely reasonably priced, although my choice of sashimi increased the bill by $2.
The stand-out for me was the chicken karaage. The light batter and the sweet ponzu sauce were delicious. The batter was something completely different in style to the usual deep fried chicken but I will never be one to turn down deep fried chicken thighs. I’m not sure what the seasoning was on the rice. I have furikake but Buddha Lounge’s tasted more fish and less sweet than the one I have.
I wasn’t a fan of the spicy tuna which was a tuna roll with a spicy mayo dolloped on top. The flavors were not intermingled so there was the spice then there was the tuna and rice.
The service was a confusingly, a bit slow. I don’t know if they assumed that people coming in at 1:30 for lunch were there for a slow meal or if the regular chef had already left but we waited for longer than what is appropriate for a lunch meal.
Luckily, Buddha Lounge has a decent beer selection (West 6th, Country Boy, Blue Stallion, Kentucky Ale), and like any respectable Lexington establishment, an extensive bourbon selection.
Buddha Lounge is also open for dinner with a larger sushi menu available. Hopefully, I’ll be back soon to review that offering, like I need an excuse to eat more sushi.
Overall, a very pleasant experience with trying a new restaurant and trying a new dish.
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” -Buddha. Always a good message when enjoying sushi.