By Erica S. at 2016-10-24
This was my second time at Buddha Lounge. The first was within a few months of their opening and was decent. That visit prompted me to buy a Groupon when I saw it offered and make this second visit.
I read up on the reviews to see how things had changed since I'd been there last and, to be honest, was a little concerned. There was good, not so good and what will bring me back - no bad though.
Good: service. I was greeted promptly upon entering and given my choice of seats. Water was brought right away. My server was friendly but not intrusive. Also good was the spicy tuna roll that came in the combo platter off the sushi menu (10 pieces of sashimi, 5 nigiri & the spicy tuna roll). It was HUGE and decently tasty. The salmon and tuna sashimi and eel nigiri were also good. Not great, but good - for Milwaukee.
Not so good: the rest of the sashimi was grainy, stringy and never identified for me. It was a chef's choice platter and I've always been told what the chef chose at regular sushi restaurants. Not here. I would've been really disappointed had I paid the full $30 (without the Groupon) for it. Not so good was getting my appetizer a few minutes after my entrée, though my server did apologize. And, on my part, I was fine eating everything together so it was no big deal, though I get how it could be to some people. Also not so good was the fat on the Tacos de Buddha appetizer but that's an aside.
What will bring me back: those Tacos de Buddha appetizers! Yes, some pieces of the pork (choose pork, beef or chicken) had excessive fat but it didn't even matter because they were so good! I don't know why I even ordered tacos at an Asian fusion place but I'm so glad I did. The pork was perfectly marinated and caramelized. The onions and cilantro added the perfect kick. Topped with a squeeze of lime and a dollop of tomatillo-looking salsa and it was perfection. Plus, it was happy hour so instead of 3 for $6 it was 3 for $3.17 including tax! This may be my new go-to taco spot.
Bottom line: service may be spotty but they have good nights. Sushi is hit or miss but the spicy tuna roll is a safe bet. Prices are on the high side except for the happy hour deals. You gotta try the tacos!
By Leigh J. at 2016-10-09
Took the family for lunch today after buying a Groupon. We all loved it! The decor is nice, the setting is intimate. It would be a great place for a date! Our server was a sweet young man who did a great job. We started with the egg rolls and the crab rangoon. I thought they were both really good but my kids didn't like the crab rangoon. It was a little different, but I enjoyed them. The egg rolls had a nice crispy crust.
My husband ordered the orange chicken, and my son got the beef stew. They both loved it, I had a taste of both and they were good. My daughter and I ordered sushi. We got the Budda Roll, because you have to try the house roll! We ended up taking off the jalapenos because they were just too hot. We both thought it was actually a little bland, but it was better with the dipping sauce it comes with than soy sauce. We also got the spicy salmon roll, that one was our favorite! Just really great flavor. And I can't remember the name of the third one, but it had tempura shrimp in the middle and green fish roe on the top. It was pretty tasty too. I was really surprised at the size of the less expensive rolls, they were huge!
It was an overall great experience and I look forward to going back!
By Celeste L. at 2016-10-08
I have been here twice for food and once for the Bloody Mary tasting.
Their food tastes great! I have not been disappointed. I tried the spring rolls for an appetizer, Pepper Steak w/ forbidden black rice(that's what it's called and yes it's black :) ), and Thai Curry w/ chicken. Nice dark lounge ambience, lots of buddha figurines and decorations. Used a Groupon which made the check an awesome deal!
Friendly staff. Could use a little more speed on the service, but overall great experience.
By J J. at 2016-12-18
Their Thai red curry is soo creamy and flavorful and they give such generous portions for the price. I cannot wait to go back and have it again. I was also very pleased with the House Fried Rice special, which was also incredibly generous portions and great flavor.
By Pamela M. at 2016-06-27
Buddha Lounge, you're cool but could also use a bit of fine tuning. My first visit here was for a viewing of the County Executive debates, which I though was very cool for Buddha to be involved and a place to watch as a group.
Lucky for my friends and I we also had the special treat of arriving in time to partake in the happy hour specials (4-7pm daily). Half off appetizers and rails/taps work for me!!!
I had the most delicious mango salad. It was not the orange mango we might be used to, but a green. Refreshing and so good.
When I returned back for a second time for the UFC fights (another reason I like Buddha, they show the UFC fights!) I was sure to get that salad again. It was still good, but the mango was cut completely differently and I think I like it the first way more, but still good.
My biggest issue with the menu is the size. Please, you guys, major faux pas, do not have an oversized menu. Do the things only that you can focus on and execute perfectly, consistently every time. Creating so much complexity is going to make your food, flavors and execution only suffer. There's no need for so many items. You're shooting yourselves in the foot with this.
I also tried the Bloody Mary (see pic) with a shrimp and egg roll on it. It was decent.
My biggest issue the second time was the sushi roll. It was called Naruto Roll, tuna, salmon & king crab wrapped in a peeled cucumber instead of the common seaweed paper. Sounded unique and interesting, so I had to try it.
MAJOR PROBLEM: the cucumber was not thinly mandolin sliced, but instead showed inconsistent knife work that basically just took out the cucumber seeds leaving the thick, cumbersome cucumber flesh to be my wrap for such delicate, raw sushi grade fish. Really bad food presentation and I am quite surprised that a $16 roll would be served this way. Needless to say it was near impossible to pick up the sushi pieces without the light fish falling out of the heavy, thick cucumber that didn't even tightly, neatly overlap around to form a nice seal. Fix this now. If your cooks will not execute, I recommend taking it off the menu.
No MSG is used in the food, per the menu. I fully support this!!!
I'll be back to try more and would like to check out the Pho.
I hope they stop with the Groupon. It's only a sign the place is struggling to get people in the doors. The staff usually don't like Groupon shoppers, either, who sometimes don't fairly tip off of the total bill.
Fix your menu.
Execute & do it Consistently!
Ditch the Groupon.
By Heather W. at 2016-09-27
Haven't written a review in a bit, but had to after the experience I had tonight.
Wanted to keep this short, but it wasn't possible. Here's a summary, full experience below:
-slow service, even early on a weeknight
-app comes at same time as entree
-overall unappetizing - left w/o eating.
We had a Groupon. Got there, waited 5 or so minutes to be seated, got water waited another 20 to order. We ordered an app, pad Thai and Buddha Pho. Asked the waitress a few questions - Q.does the app come with dipping sauce? A. Probably, Q. What do you think, chicken or beef broth? A. Idk, never had it.
Wait another 30-40 minutes, app and entrees come out at the same time. BF entree not what he ordered. Asked the waitress if that was correct, she wasn't sure, I finally realized it was the buddah bowl, not the pho. Sad that the waitress could not even identify the dish. She said "hold on", left, and then for 20 minutes we waited. During this time I start getting ready to eat my pad Thai.... and there's a hair. At first I thought "nah, probably mine"... then, another hair, more buried in my dish. Gross. Then, another, smaller hair on the app! We were grossed out. Then finally, when the waitress comes back, she has the pho. Never told us what was going on but okay. It looked unlike any pho I'd ever seen. It was grey, the meat looked nasty and foamy and overall it looked awful. At this point we just sat there in disgust trying to decide what to do. BF took a bite or two of the pho, said it was bland and just tasteless and he just couldn't eat it. The two bites of pad Thai i took tasted nothing like pad Thai. Instead it was like a thick, sticky, sort of sweet store bought type sauce. We ended up leaving without eating, we offered to still pay but they fortunately were very understanding and apologized as we want on our way. We have never left a restaurant without eating. This was unbelievable.
I hate giving such a poor review, but this is what we actually experienced. Driving to the restaurant I saw similar reviews but figured there's always some bad reviews, so I was optimistic, even excited (I was starving and had such high hopes!) I could not believe that almost all of these other items I had read happened to me as well. I think that's the worst part is that this appears to be a trend. Not sure how these issues haven't been addressed due to other reviews but we will not be back.
By Chadrick J. at 2016-06-15
OK Buddha Lounge here's the scoop. You could be a really great place. The service isn't bad and the atmosphere is solid. What let me down is the food. If your a restaurant then the food should be the star of the show. No matter what it will always come down to the food.
That said here are the reasons I give the 2.5 stars which is actually a 2 because you aren't just A-OK your barely OK. If it wasn't for Groupon I wouldn't have come and I'm not sure if I'll ever be back.
1. Menu is too large, trim it down and stick to a few great dishes and appetizers
2. Is this place an Asian food specialty or something else because there are more than a few items i had to scratch my head on. Burgers and fries and many other odd items on the menu
3. Sushi - if your going to serve sushi it better be good. Yours is highly subpar. Rice was way to sticky and it was just awkward eating it. Plus our waiter gave us a plate for the soy sauce not a ramekin. Again just odd all around.
I have a feeling you may not stay here on the Milwaukee food scene long. There are so many better options out there especially for what one would pay for to eat here. May be because your wedged between RC's and college dorms you don't think stepping it up is required. Either way I'm starting to believe that Groupon is the place businesses go before they die.
By Siva M. at 2016-10-04
Went to try this Thai/ Chinese/ Japanese place for lunch. Waitress was courteous and seated us right away.
Menu has three cuisine sections and we tried Thai food as usual. Food lacked flavor and it was way expensive than other places.
For example we were charged 12 dollars for red curry , 2 dollars for picking chicken and 1 dollar for fried rice..so a red curry was 15 bucks in total. Although we were given 20 % off as lunch special, I am not sure what this would have been for dinner.
We also ordered their bubble smoothie mango flavor as waitress recommended it , they forgot to put tapioca in it, had to ask for it..
Tapioca (bubbles) was so stale and bad that we have to throw away the drink.
Over all not a great place and will not be going back again.
Only saving grace was good ambience and people were nice. Food was awful and way expensive...
By Carly M. at 2016-10-31
Went on a Sunday night for dinner. Ordered the crab Rangoon as an app. The wonton was a little too cooked and the filling was lacking crab and that creamy texture. I then ordered the Buddha bowl, and my friend got the General Tso's chicken. My bowl had a great presentation but was lacking in flavor. I added the entire side of spicy sauce and a hefty amount of soy sauce. Tso's chicken was tender and flavorful. The lighting was a little harsh in the corner, but they had cool Halloween decorations up!
By Damon R. at 2015-11-23
I am not a fan on Asian cuisine however I was surprised with the Buddha Lounge. It was a weekend and they were showing the Cotto vs. Canelo fight. I was surprised they were showing it at all. Walking into the side entrance not the front it was mad crowded at the door.
The decor is really intimate, it resembled a date night type of vibe. Im unsure if they are normally crowded this way but the space is kind of small. You can tell that thought was put into everything from the color scheme to the plates and forks. This type of attention should be noted.
We walked around and tried to find a spot to sit to no avail. After waiting and lingering around we were about to sit on in the dining room area after a couple had left. This is where they lose points from me.
We weren't met with a waiter/tress. The young lady who did attend our table gave us a glass of water each and didn't come back. I literally chased her down asked her for a menu and let her know that we wanted to order. I figured I would go to the bar to order drinks since the waiter was taking such a long time. This didn't end well either. I will admit that it was crowded and people were standing at the bar. Some of the people were drinking some were just watching the game. But the bartenders kept they backs to the bar the entire time that I was there.
I tried waving them down, flashing money, nothing worked. a gentleman asked if I were being helped as he walked by a couple of time I had no idea who he was, had I have known I would have asked him for a drink. I was able to get my drink at this point some 21 minutes later. I counted, the drinks were about 6 or 7 bucks. Very reasonable.
The food came out at a reasonable time. The best thing that was ordered would have to be the Curry Chicken Skewers. The chicken wings were also great. They aren't breaded which usually means blandness. Not this time they were seasoned and they were only 50 cents. The fries which were battered were not good.
I would go back with or without the specials and the fight viewings. I really liked this place.
By Angie O. at 2015-11-05
This is a semi-live review:
Us: "I'd like to place an order for pick up."
BL Waitstaff: "Ok, have you been here before?"
BL: "Go ahead."
Us: "We'd like an order of the chicken pad thai."
BL: "What kind of pad thai?"
Us: "Chicken pad thai."
BL: "What kind of pad thai?"
Us: "Chicken. Chicken pad thai."
BL: "Ok, okay anything else?"
Us: "The beef green curry."
BL: "Ok, did you want that one with chicken?"
Us: "No. Beef. Beef green curry."
BL: "Ok, The Chicken Green Curry."
Us: "Beef! Beef green curry."
BL: "Anything else..."
Us: "Spicy tuna rolls."
So, needless to say, ordering takeout was quite a challenge. They assured us it would be ready for pickup in 30-40 minutes. We went to get our order in that time period.
Walk into Buddha Lounge. There are 4 or so college kids sitting at the bar drinking and eating Asian food. The dining room is somewhat hidden past the bar. Parking is somewhat of a nightmare Buddha Lounge is on Cambridge along with the UWM dorm building.
We were the only takeout order so it was ready immediately. Brought it home asap for consumption.
Chicken Pad Thai: large portion, flavorful, delicious, love it!!! Recommend! We didn't ask for a spicyness level and it was perfect however they made it. Yes!
Green Curry w/Beef: Amazing!!! Again, large portion (however I always desire more rice). The fresh bamboo shoots in the curry are wonderful! I love all the veggies (no onions - yay!!). Spicy but not overwhelming. Yes, yes, yes!
Spicy Tuna Roll: The BIGGEST roll I've ever seen. I love the fact that the fish was marinated in the spiciness rather than adding spicy mayo on top of the roll. It wasn't overly spicy either. The pieces are insanely huge, fresh, and delicious. YES!
The menu is diverse with various Asian dishes, sushi, and American favorites (burgers, chicken sandwiches, and a very intriguing loaded french fry dish). It's relatively close to my Shorewood residence and I foresee myself ordering takeout often. They also deliver!
Despite the slight headache ordering, I overall LOVE Buddha Lounge. Hope to update my review soon :D
By Mandy C. at 2016-05-02
It's hard to commit a high rating to a place that is never busy, gives hit or miss service, and has an unwelcoming atmosphere.
The first time I tried Buddha Lounge out, I ordered the Lemongrass Chicken and Peach Smoothie for delivery. The lemongrass was great, and I had zero problems with delivery. I should have just stopped there.
I decided to eat in the restaurant for a second experience. It was displeasing. The restaurant's layout is an interior designer's nightmare. The layout of the restaurant is backwards. It made my date and I very uncomfortable sitting in the table that should have been the hostess stand. EDM has blasting. What? The service went from disappointing to regretful. Our waters were unattended to the whole dinner. Our entrees were brought out five minutes from each other; one was incorrect. The waitress was disconnected from us. Our meals were okay, but not great enough to remember what we ordered.
I decided to give Buddha Lounge third shot, which led me to write this Yelp review. Disappointed and overwhelmed. Delivery order gone wrong. Late. Forgot our drinks. Food was okay.
It's hard to commit to a restaurant that is American, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese cuisine. Might as well had Indian food added to the menu. Would I go back? Not intentionally. If I got dragged along, yes. I am hopeful that my next encounter will land a three star.
By Rocco R. at 2016-11-17
Broccoli was old, orange chicken was dry and burnt, I would not recommend for the price
By Elliott B. at 2016-06-25
When we arrived it took a few minutes before anyone acknowledged us. The place was not very clean...food on the ground, cloudy cheap wine glasses, TONS of dust on black marble counters, chairs had crumbs on them, and dirty plates. The food was awful. I had the birds nest which was lacking any flavor and stunk like old fish. The wife had the Pad Thai which was a pile of slop and unbelievably salty. This place wasn't worth the $16 Groupon we used. Spring Rolls were okay but nothing special. Would not go back.
Visited 6/23 at 5:30pm
By Tia B. at 2016-08-10
Tried Buddha Lounge last week for the first time. The waiter was very helpful in showing us which dishes could be made vegan. Came back today and had a complete opposite experience. We ordered everything vegan, and I was surprised when the Buddha bowl with tofu had a sauce because we didn't have sauce the time before. Right as I was about to pour it on my food the waitress commented that it had fish oil in.... Which makes sense why the helpful waiter last time didn't give it to me if I said I was vegan.
We got the appetizer at the same time as our food, which is a huge pet peeve of mine.
My boyfriend ordered green tofu curry, but got a red curry. She did apologize, but I'm absolutely shocked we'd get charged for something we didn't even order. He didn't like it, so we didn't take it to go either. Judging by how long it took to get our food, I would have been done eating before he got his correct food if we asked them to make the green curry we ordered, so we didn't bother.
The most disgusting part, was biting into a veggie spring roll and immediately tasting something awful that I've never tasted in my life. I don't think I've ever spit out food in a restaurant because that's gross, but I spit this out immediately because the taste was so horrible. We looked inside and seen it was definitely some type of meat, my boyfriend says it was shrimp. I've never had any seafood in my life, so the second I bit into it the taste really stood out as something nasty. For all I know I could be allergic to it. I told the waitress and she insisted it was vegetables, but we seen the meat in it so she was wrong.
She never came to check on us or give us the bill, so we had to go find her and ask for it.
Then to top off the bad service she gave us two chocolates "here this is for the inconvenience".... they have milk in them and we've already stated that we were vegan. Gee, thanks.
First time ever leaving a 10% tip, honestly didn't want to tip at all but I'm not that rude.
I definitely won't ever be eating here again.
By Alyona K. at 2016-08-24
This place looks really fancy inside, almost intimidating, especially if you just casually go in there for lunch, but don't be freaked out, it is worth the stay.
Their pho is to die for! Meaty, salty, and so rich. I know all these can be viewed as bad descriptors for food, but not in this case. Their sushi is amazing too, even though you would not think so, considering how sad-looking the sushi menu is. But the fish is very fresh and you definitely get your money's worth. I have never been to Vietnam, and therefore do not know what an authentic bahn mi really tastes like, but when eating theirs, that is what I would describe it as.
By Brandon Y. at 2016-10-30
Delivery took almost 1h 30m
Food was barely warm
Potstickers had wrong sauce
Forgot item in order
By Steve N. at 2016-07-06
Pad Thai thoughts...great flavor tho I prefer noodles that are a little more wet. The fresh lime and other veggie garnishes helped a bit but I'll probably order extra sauce on the side next time. I did order takeout so maybe that was a factor too.
The ingredients really tasted fresh and I totally back their choice to use grass-fed beef (free-range chicken too). Very neat presentation so you can tell the kitchen cares. Also, the portion size was very generous.
All in all, there definitely is value in the food here given the quality ingredients they use which are not so easy to find at other Asian places around town. Also, other reviewers have complained about the big menu but it's quite common for fusion restaurants and nowhere near some hardcore authentic ones--Be brave!
By Holmes R. at 2016-09-15
We went here last night. Had potstickers, chicken curry, beef pad thai and a side of fried rice. Everything was delicious and perfectly timed. Our waiter was friendly and gracious. We will definitely be back. I just bought another Groupon today.
By Maggie E. at 2016-09-01
I took advantage of their groupon today and I left feeling bad for not paying the full price. The food was amazing. The wait was a little long but it was nice to visit with my sister who went with me. They cook all the food from scratch which you can taste in every bite. No gmo and their meat is all grass fed and you can taste it. I would recommend this place to anyone and everyone. So impressed!