FYIDC: Buddha-Bar DC to Open in May

by John Arundel

Bringing along lavish chandeliers and its 18-foot signature Buddha, New York’s venerated Buddha Bar is coming to town in May.

One of Buddha Bar's signature Pan Asian dishes.

One of Buddha Bar's signature Pan Asian dishes.

On May 8, Buddha-Bar DC throws open its doors in a city with a bustling dining scene known for its kindred appreciation of Pan-Asian fare.

Washington Restaurants LLC, a Maryland-based ownership group with high-end restaurants in Europe, is opening the 9,500-square-foot space at 455 Massachusetts Avenue, NW,  just steps from Chinatown. This is the group’s first restaurant venture in Washington, and the second of nine Buddha-Bar locations open around the world.

Buddha-Bar DC will feature traditional Pan-Asian cuisine with a dollop of French influence, along with an extensive wine and sake collection and artisanal cocktails.

“My partners, Michael Don, Beni Golani, Dov Kliger, and I are excited to have the opportunity to open a Buddha-Bar in the nation’s capital,” said Eran Gorev, the CEO of Washington Restaurants LLC.  “We spent the past two years looking at dozens of possible locations for the restaurant, but had a hard time finding a venue with ceilings high enough to accommodate our  chandeliers and 18-foot Buddha.  We love the location at 455 Massachusetts Avenue, with the 22-foot high ceilings in an up-and-coming part of town, close to the Convention Center, Chinatown and the Capitol.”

Korean-born Executive Chef Chul Kee Ko is spearheading the menu which will offer Pan-Asian cuisine with a touch of French influence.

Among the highlights planned for the menu are Curry Shrimp in Banana Leaves; Roasted Black Cod; Five Spices Chicken; Lacquered Pecking Duck; Wok Fried Beef with Bail along with an assortment of sushi and sashimi rolls for sharing.  A comprehensive wine list, premium sakes and artisanal cocktails are also planned to complement the pan-Asian fare.

A signature seared tuna dish at Buddha-Bar DC.

A signature seared tuna dish at Buddha-Bar DC.

Shelly Galloway has been appointed Buddha-Bar GM and will oversee the day-to-day operations at the soon-to-open hot spot.  Galloway brings an extensive amount of experience to her new position having spent the past eight years at the Little Buddha in Las Vegas.

DWA of Paris, France created the look for the Buddha Bar in DC.  The company collaborated with local design firm Gensler to help adapt the 170-seat restaurant’s design concept to meet DC’s strict codes and building standards.  The restaurant’s interior will feature an Asian-inspired aesthetic fused with elements of French opulence.

Asian tattoo murals created by Tanuja Bora are displayed throughout the restaurant with its lofty 22-foot high ceilings.  Rich colors of burgundy, gold, brown and black create an opulent scheme, setting off the focal point of Buddha-Bar: the signature 18-foot Buddha statue with black onyx finish, created by Mambo Art.

The towering Buddha traveled 10,613 miles from the jungles of Indonesia to serve as the backdrop for the main dining room.

Buddha-Bar DC will be open for lunch Monday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. as well as dinner Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday and Saturday form 5:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.  A bar menu will also be available daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.; and happy hour is served daily from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

For reservations or additional information please call (202) 337-5555 or visit

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