Bu Da Lounge is not only a cigar bar with exotic cocktails and live cabaret shows; it is one of the best places in Indianapolis to eat sushi. The small lounge located on Market Street, a block from the Monument Circle, has everything you would expect from an upscale urban restaurant. The interior is sleek with modern flare but also has a splash of Asian decor, including a beautifully ornate bar. The food at Bu Da Lounge is stylish, inventive, and above all delicious.
Start off your meal at Bu Da with a cocktail and an appetizer. The spring rolls were good, as were the edamame which is served either salty or spicy, but the tacos were the star of the appetizer menu. If you are thinking, "should I get tacos at a sushi joint?" The answer is: probably "no", but Bu Da Lounge is, after all, a cigar bar. Served inside of a cigar box with house made seasoned potato chips, this dish’s presentation alone was striking. The slow cooked pork melts in your mouth, and the fresh cilantro adds a touch of brightness. The list of cocktails seems endless. Ask your server for recommendations, or go Khaleesi and try the Dragon's Throne. This libation is as potent as it is refreshing. Who knew cilantro in a drink could be so good.
The rolls here are simply brilliant. All the sauces are made in house and reduced for hours. As one server said, "we start with about a buckets worth of sauce and bring it down until there is not much left but flavor." Highly recommended was the Four Treasures Roll, consisting of marinated crab that has been tempura fried, and topped with tuna, salmon, and a radish & onion slaw then finished with a cilantro-unagi sauce. Each bite was a harmonious blend of texture and flavor that left you with complete satisfaction. If you like a little heat in your roll, go with the Bu Da Dragon roll. A spicy blend of crab and cucumber is rolled and topped with a spiced tuna tartar, sliced fresh jalapenos, and is finished with a spicy aioli and their unagi sauce. Packing more of a punch than the Four Treasurers, the Bu Da Dragon roll finishes hot. The heat is counter balanced nicely by the cucumber so as to not send you running for a drink of water after each bite. Even though a good portion of the rolls contain only cooked meats, the old playground myths of “sushi being raw fish”, die hard. For the squeamish eaters in your group, Bu Da also has a small selection of cooked entrees. The sesame chicken was well done. The same pride in sauce making can be seen. A sauce similar to a General Tso’s covers the crispy bits of chicken that are peppered with sesame seeds and served with a side of white rice. If rolls aren't your bag, and you want the full on experience, get the sashimi. Nothing is better than expertly cut raw fish.
Bu Da Lounge is one of the premiere restaurants in downtown Indy, even though it is first and foremost a cigar bar. The prices are very fair, with drinks running around $8 and rolls near $15. The crowds on the weekends can get large and somewhat smoky. If you want to have some fun, get loaded on top shelf cocktails, and smoke a few stogies with your pals, the weekends are for you. If you just want to have a quiet dinner of top shelf sushi, try hitting these guys up on a Monday night when the place is a bit more relaxed. Reservations are accepted, and good food will be had.