SCANDALS: Bitter Rijsttafel

The Ramayana, which opened six years ago as one of Manhattan's few Indonesian restaurants, boasts a striking decor: a pedicab parked in the lobby, menus bound in batik, hostesses in flowing Indonesian gowns. At night, when native dancers perform, the restaurant's prices are high, but the buffet lunch is a bargain: for $5.50, guests can take their pick of dozens of spicy (skewered beef) or sweet (banana soup) dishes. For some executives from nearby oil-company offices, however, the food must have a bitter taste these days. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the restaurant was built largely with...

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