WesStuffed is delighted to introduce Buffy Van Frankenhoefer, who will be contributing reviews of New York’s hottest new restaurants.

Tah Blûh

A Franco-Continental Asian Fusion Raw Brasserie in the Heart of Brooklyn


By: Buffy Van Frankenhoefer

After an excruciating weekend of skiing in Gstaad, I returned famished for a classic Franco-Continental Asian fusion raw dinner to cleanse my palate. And as all savvy New Yorkers know, there’s no better establishment for this kind of cuisine than Chef Lincoln Chang’s Williamsburg hotspot, Tah Blûh.

Yes, the wait is long, and reservations impossible to come by, but the moment the raw steak tempura touches your lips, you might as well be back in grandmother’s kitchen. Speaking of grandmothers, I had to race mine to the emergency room last time we ate here, which only heightened the deep thrill of the Tah Blûh experience.

The moment you walk into this picturesque Asian shack meets French brasserie, you’ll be seduced by the pungent fumes. Imagine a kerosene Sharpie-like element, mixed with the scent of raw fish fresh from the nuclear bays of Japan, and accentuated by the perfumes of the elite clientele.

The waiters are dressed in charming Indian headpieces, adorned with live serpents. Their torsos are decked in saran wrapped kilts, so their glowing franco-continental asian physique is visible through the material.

I started with the sea-urchin martini- delicate, but dangerous choice. It comes served in a flaming miniaturized model of the Titanic. How adorable. As I downed my martini, the sea urchins were scrambling for the life boats below. Darling little creatures! The whole experience was rather authentic, and quite thrilling, indeed.

As for appetizers, I couldn’t decide between the alpaca sashimi or the chilled tiger lily bisque. My kind waiter, Jean-Wang, recommended I order both. So glad I did. The sashimi, a delicately seasoned alpaca hoof served over a bed of uncooked rice, was remarkable. The delightfully tooth-breaking crunch of the grain was complemented by the thick fur of the hoof.

Tiger lilies, when in season, are sweet and succulent. Out of season, they have a somewhat morose flavor, which, in this case, created a wonderful palate cleanser for the beginning of the meal.

Of all his dishes, Chef Chang is most famous for his delectable beef cheek à la mode, which is served in little silver spoons atop a bed of live snails. Not only is the presentation exquisite, but the flavor is remarkable. The beef cheek has been marinated for two weeks in wasabi and Dannon coffee yoghurt. The à la mode, which changes nightly, featured a prawn-goat cheese-seitan sorbet, topped with a small dash of Spam. I’m still dreaming of this ingenious concoction. My mouth waters at the mere thought of it.

tantalizing beef cheek

tantalizing beef cheek

As a mid-meal amuse-bouche, Jean-Wang delivered a mussel tart. I was terribly surprised to find that it was actually a muscle tart, made up of chicken biceps in lemon curd. The tough, gamey meat contributed a delightful savor to the raw, creamy lemon.

If being stranded on a desert island interests you, then you must try the coconut éclair, a wondrous blend of shaved coconut hide and saffron. The “éclair” consists of maple leaves infused with artichoke oil. It’s incredibly indulgent, yet I couldn’t put my fork down. Every bite was a mix of dry, crunchy, tangy leaf and flaky, resilient hide.

Overall, an absolutely splendid night. I left with my hunger completely satisfied, and my body literally illuminated by the nuclear energy buzzing through my veins. And to top it off, who could be checking his coat as I left but George W. Bush, himself! What a thrill!

Join me next week as I visit lower east side “it” restaurant, “Porte-a-Pâté”

Tah Blûh


51 East 5th Street; (718) 634-0202; www.tahbluh.com

ATMOSPHERE Both conservative and a bit radical; with carvings of enlarged male genitalia artfully decking the walls.

SERVICE Classic French charm mixed with linebacker speed.

SOUND LEVEL A mix of blasting Euro-trash and Peking opera.

DRESS CODE For men, kilts. For ladies, kimonos.

RECOMMENDED raw steak tempura, alpaca sashimi, chilled tiger lily bisque, muscle tart, beef cheek à la mode, coconut éclair.

DRINKS AND WINE Any of the live seafood martinis.

PRICES Appetizers, $18 to $32; main courses, $37 to $79.

HOURS Monday to Friday, 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Monday to Saturday, 5:30 to 11 p.m.