I was downtown the other day again, back on Mass Ave, but wanting to try something new. Or at least sort of new. I have been to Bu Da Lounge before for dinner, and honestly didn’t even know they were open for lunch until I checked it out at a friend’s suggestion. He has also repeatedly told me about how good their shrimp wonton soup is, and it was kind of a grey day, so it seemed a perfect opportunity to give it a try.
They open at noon, and I was a few minutes early, so I ended up spending time browsing (as well as more money than I intended) at Mass Ave Toys. I know I have mentioned it before, but how cool is it that we still have such a nice independent toy shop? But then I walked in to Bu Da right at noon, hoping to avoid any potential crowds (really any potential cigar smokers) and succeeded at least at first. I was the only one there for the first little while, and I quickly ordered my soup ($7.95). It is a large bowl, and it was so hot (as in temperature) that I may have singed my tongue a little on that first bite. Seriously, it was hot. Once I let it sit a bit (and blew on a few spoonfuls), I got to the flavor and I really enjoyed it. The base is a flavorful broth, one of the more flavorful Asian broths I have had—it was dark in color and deep in intensity. In it were not just the 4 or 5 large shrimp-filled wontons, but a bunch of egg noodles as well. The combo made it more filling than a lot of wonton soups. There were also several large pieces of pork and some bok choy. They gave me a little bowl of chili oil to add in for more spicy heat, which I did. But I appreciated regulating it myself.
My only complaint about the soup was (and I can already hear people gearing up to tell me how to properly eat soup) was that the wontons, the bok choy, and the pork pieces were a little big for me to eat in one bite and since I only had one of those little Chinese restaurant spoons and chopsticks, it was hard to get them into a more manageable size without either taking a bite of only half or attempting to cut things with a spoon that looked like this. So I basically pretty much made a mess. (Hey you know me, I notice these things). But the flavor of the soup was really good. I truly enjoyed it. I would really like it if I were eating it without anyone looking and a knife. The egg noodles I didn’t mind sort of slurping up, but especially with the heat of the dish, the wontons were more challenging, although quite delicious and packed with shrimp meat.
As I ate though, a few more people came in including one who lit up a cigar (it is a cigar bar after all). So I quickly finished up and paid. I did overhear the owner (I am assuming) tell others he was going to be relocating into a much larger space here sometime soon. I am hoping for a smoking and non-smoking section in the new place—because the food is worth going for, but I hate cigar smoke (or really any smoke, unless it is being used to smoke the food). But this is a restaurant worth checking out for the food if you can deal with the smoke. And a nice lunch alternative I didn’t know was out there.
Bu Da Lounge
429 Massachusetts Ave