When Stuart Davis opened the first City Wok in North Hollywood in 1990, he had already been honing the restaurant’s concept for three years. He envisioned a stylish, casual restaurant where chefs created fresh, healthy versions of authentic Chinese dishes to order in an open kitchen. The problem? Davis lacked a background in traditional Chinese cooking. Enter Hing Fan Chan, a professional chef trained in Kowloon, China. “It was a 50-50 collaboration,” Davis told Restaurant Hospitality magazine in 2003: Chan brought traditional recipes to City Wok, and worked with Davis to create healthy, MSG-free versions of authentic dishes. Their collaboration paid off: in 2011, City Wok earned Palm Springs Life’s award for the area’s Best Chinese Restaurant.
Today, flames surge as chefs tend woks in chrome-lined open kitchens. In the dining room, customers relax as they wait for servers to arrive with dishes such as a spicy kung pao combo or house lo mein. A breakfast menu features creative wok scrambles and moo shoo burritos, bringing Chinese flavors to morning meals without the hassle of stealing a Concorde.