Out of every contemporary culinary trend, Fusion resonates best with the current pulse of what is culturally relevant in 2012. Much like the different creeds that make up the global human race, Fusion binds together different regional cuisines into one glorious stand-apart flavor profile.
Fusion is harmony - it marries the striking and dissimilar. Distinctly regional flavors are mixed together in a melting pot cuisine, ultimately infusing unique individual personalities into one cohesive, flavorful explosion. Whether combining the tastes of Italy with those of Asia or the best local produce with a culinary movement overseas, fusion promises to excite and inspire the palate in new and enriching ways.
However no fusion cuisine movement has developed momentum quite as speedily as the fan favorite Asian Fusion. There is something about eating classic Asian favorites with a Western spin that has us flocking to the cuisine in small stampedes.
We believe that innovation trumps tradition in this realm, and that the best fusion restaurants are those that seamlessly unite wildly different tastes into one signature flavor pallet. Here are Exec Digital’s favorite picks for the best fusion eateries in the nation.
Buddakan is undoubtedly one of New York City’s sexiest restaurants. The massive 16,000 square foot restaurant is nestled in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, and has appeared on Bobby Flay’s ‘Best Thing I Ever Ate’ and on the first installment of the Sex and the City film, atmospherically serving as the chic location of Carrie’s engagement party. While Buddakan serves some of the tastiest fusion cuisine in the world, it is its über -glamorous décor that wins fans’ hearts by creating an unbeatably eclectic ambiance to luxuriate in.
Taking the fusion trend to heart, the restaurant’s decor blends styles from different time periods and design movements, creating a hodge-podge of allure and panache. Mead hall tables that fabulously appear to be plucked out of a legendary scene in Beowulf run the length of the restaurant’s main room, allowing diners to experience a ‘family style’ dining experience reminiscent of the golden celebrations of yesteryear.
In another room aptly titled ‘the library’ gold gilded books line the walls, creating a very tangible feeling of learned opulence perhaps never before incorporated into a dining experience. Hovering above these monumental rooms are oversized glittering chandeliers, and rows of neatly arranged Buddha portraits, providing the allusion that the entire experience is being looked over by a luminous, transcendent, authority.
Executive Chefs Brian Ray and Yang Huang serve up the restaurant’s trademark Asian cuisine to a wildly appreciative crowd (Buddakan has 5.5 stars on Urban Spoon.) The restaurant’s famous items include their Peking Duck, and the beef tartare which is mixed in all its fusion glory with chile pepper and tapioca.
Crustacean, Beverly Hills
On the west coast, there is no better Asian Fusion eatery than Crustacean. Celebrities have flocked to the Beverly Hills location since its glamour-struck opening in 2007. Acclaimed by Esquire magazine as the nation’s ‘best new restaurant’ upon its debut, this hot spot has served the mega-famous, rich, and attractive including stars as iconic and large as Warren Beatty, Will Smith and Lady Gaga.
Founded by Vietnamese refugee Helene An, the restaurant was the first location in her now mini-empire ‘The House of An’ which has spread to six restaurants in LA, Orange County and San Francisco. Chan’s daughter Elizabeth decorated the restaurant which offers diners one of the most dramatic views in Los Angeles. A long curving stream bustling with black, white and gold carp runs through the restaurant, separating the eatery by the presence of nature. The furnishings are all of a ‘French Colonial’ splendor, and are routed in familial sentimentality. The interior décor recreates the mansion the An family lived in originally in Vietnam before becoming refugees.
Crustacean is most famous for their signature garlic noodles which Esquire food critic John Mariani claimed, ‘could make you cry.’ Their Chilean sea bass, grilled calamari and crispy rice paper rolls filled with chicken, black mushrooms and vermicelli are also hot items on the menu and have garnered loyal fans including Mel Gibson and Jeff Bridges. While the prices are reserved for the exclusive, the much-buzzed about restaurant will surely be an experience worth investing in.
Juvia has what other Miami eateries do not: a pristine view of the ocean, which creates an unprecedented atmosphere that is dually intimate and festive.
On the penthouse floor of a seaside building, Juvia’s dining experience is located on an exquisite oceanfront vista that offers sweeping views of the Atlantic ocean that will delight the industrial-weary spectator’s eyes before the eateries’ food wows their palate.
Opened this year, Juvia has taken the upscale Miami culinary scene by storm. Partially encased in retractable roofs that offer versatile protection from Mother Nature’s varying moods, the restaurant has a renowned amethyst-topped bar that serves up delish cocktails. The refreshing drinks, such as their smash hit Ginger Juleps - made of whiskey and ginger liquor - while new to the Miami drinking scene --are already legendary amongst locals.
Some of the hot spot’s best food items are their cold-smoked scallops with Bloody Mary moose, and beef tenderloin which is both assertively grilled and yet succulently tender and wonderfully juicy. Another hit option is their new $85 all you can eat, all you can drink breakfast buffet.
Wherever you decide to get your fusion flavor fix, the culinary sensation is bound to thrill. Boundless times call for boundless measures, and nothing fortifies the eclectic and hungry soul quite as wonderfully as Asian Fusion cuisine.