In an ideal world, we'd love to surprise our valentine with an impromptu trip to some exotic, romantic locale. But the reality is, most of us will not be waking up on the 14th on the beach in Phuket, or in an elegant Kyoto ryokan, so we'll have to settle for the next best thing. To get a bit of international flare (without needing a passport or a substantial line of credit), head to Buddha-Bar to try the new Asia-by-way-of-Paris experience.
The lavish D.C. location follows in the footsteps of its far-flung cousins in London and Dubai, showcasing global style in the ambiance and the food. Even the newly-installed chefs hail from intriguingly diverse backgrounds: Michael Doss is an expert in French and Asian cuisine and comes to Buddha-Bar from Wolfgang Puck's The Source; his colleague Sandra Celeste brings the flavors of her Haitian and German upbringing to her cuisine; and Tetsuya Nakata oversees the sushi program with a resume that includes stints at Kaz Sushi Bistro and Murasaki. Their new creations include a tasty monkfish with okonomiyaki and a Mongolian-style flat iron steak Doss describes as a tribute to his Midwestern "meat-and-potatoes" childhood.
Once you've arrived (sans jet lag), you can settle into the dimly-lit dining room for a leisurely dinner of lemongrass-crusted mahi mahi or five-spice barbecued organic chicken. If your date (or your pack of friends) is more the drinks-and-DJ type, hang out in the bustling lounge with your cocktails and a side of the brand's signature global lounge music, played here from a glowing, elevated DJ booth. Either way, you'll definitely feel transported — at least for a couple hours.
Where: Buddha-Bar, 455 Massachusetts Avenue NW; 202-377-5555.
Photo: Courtesy of Buddha-Bar