Small Bites: Buddha Sky Bar

I popped into the new Buddha Sky Bar (217 E. Atlantic Ave., 561/450-7557), the way-slick space above the new Atlantic Ocean Club in Delray, for a drink the other night and got a pretty good eyeful of what this urbane and urban watering hole is all about.

It’s definitely not a Cheers-type bar where you go to listen to loud music and pound down cold beers and strong shots. Buddha goes for a more sophisticated, cosmopolitan vibe, with a roster of mixological-type cocktails, a small but well-chosen wine list and a menu of Asian-esque nibbles that’s a long way from the usual pub fare.

The sleek, contemporary space is not large, and can probably feel pretty claustrophobic when it gets crowded. Probably the best seats in the house are in the cozy lounge area off the bar, where a long bank of windows affords an impressive view all the way down the avenue.

As for the food, we tried one of the dim sum dishes-a variation on the classichar gow, open-faced little dumplings filled with shrimp paste, here also topped with a slice of scallop and tiny mound of tobiko. With a trio of sauces for dipping, it’s a nice light bite. Skewers of Kobe beef (more likely Wagyu, but who’s counting?) had one tough, chewy piece but the rest were as tender as this designer beef typically is.

One thing the food here isn’t, though, is cheap. With a couple of drinks and appetizers, the bill can add up pretty quickly, so it’s probably more of a special occasion, night out on the town place than an everyday hang. Still, if-like me-you’re not a big fan of the loud music-cold Bud kind of bar, the Buddha could be you’re kind of Sky Bar.