The cooks at Masala Wok specialize in flavorful, aromatic Hakka-style cuisine, blending together Indian and Chinese culinary techniques. Pan-fried dry chili chicken, Singapore-style hoisin shrimp, and golden-fried cauliflower dumplings are a few popular menu items. Patrons can order carryout or stay to eat in the casual restaurant.
The epicurean experts at The New Jade Palace twirl noodles, pyramid rice, and simmer seafood to construct a menu replete with traditional Asian favorites. Spoons dip into roast-pork wonton soup ($2 for a small, $3.50 for a large) to warm up for the tang of thai red snapper ($16) that, like the charge of an incompetent pet groomer, bathes in sweet chili sauce. Noodles knot around each other to hold beef or shrimp hostage ($5 for a small, $9 for a large), and the crispy skin of peking duck ($30) crackles inside a wrapping of scallion pancakes. The sushi bar encourages patrons to savor combinations of spicy maki ($14) or dive chopsticks-first into 12-piece tricolor sushi plates of tuna, salmon, and yellowtail ($20). Vegetarian taste buds linger on eggplant lathered in garlic sauce ($8) long enough to be accused of loitering.
Green Leaf's cuisine craftsmen chop, slice, and stir-fry traditional Chinese and Thai dishes. Diners whet their palates with a pair of crunchy egg rolls before selecting dishes from Green Leaf's menu of 21 chef's specialty entrees to fill out their meal. Morsels of crispy chicken breast march lockstep across a plate of General Tso's chicken, coated in shining hot-sauce armor ($12.95). Sizzling shredded beef nestles next to hot pepper in a warm bed of spinach ($13.95), and Twinkie and Pinkie, a combo of shrimp and scallops ($15.95), fight villainous hunger like a seafood substitute for Batman and Robin. Green Leaf's prompt and friendly staff will also accommodate vegetarian requests.
Yellow lanterns sway above a burbling indoor waterfall, whose murmurs mask the sound of keen knives slicing through flanks of fish behind Water Moon’s sushi bar. Inside the bustling kitchen, pinches of spices culled from Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai culinary traditions grace dumplings and spring rolls as thick or glassy noodles entwine with vegetables, duck, seafood, or pork beneath a sprig of leafy herbs. Above the dining room’s black lacquered chairs and curved, orange banquette seating, wallpaper inspired by antique scrolls teems with classical characters and the definitive lyrics to “Louie Louie.”
In 1979, Sam Chan arrived in New York City from his native Hong Kong. He quickly set to work moving up the ranks of the restaurant industry chain—from dishwasher to prep cook to chef maitre'd and finally to owner of his own establishment, Sichuan Pavillion. Chan poured his heart and soul into his restaurant, painstakingly developing a menu of freshly made authentic cuisine from all the distinct regions of the China. In time, Sam's son Ricky joined his father to help run the business, drawing on years working there to help create a new menu as an ode to Chinese-American culture and cuisine.
The restaurant’s seasonal tasting menus feature morsels of exotic treats such as marinated jellyfish or fivespice-salted Peking chicken. Made-to-order dishes include steamed pork dumplings and slow-simmered spicy Sichuan tofu. In addition to whipping up traditional delicacies, the restaurant's chefs also show off their skills with plates of Americanized Chinese fare enlivened by unexpected touches, such as General Chan's chicken made with succulent dark meat or surf and turf of filet mignon and sea scallops stir fried in a zesty black pepper sauce.
Lucky Cheng's — whose décor was immortalized in lush photos printed in NY Magazine — has billed itself as "the Drag Queen Capital of the Universe" since its inception 20 years ago, when it was still located in the East Village. Today, it sits amid the bustle of Times Square, but many aspects of the business still remain: lively drag cabaret, menus of pan-Asian fare, cocktails made with house-infused vodkas, and an ever-growing list of outrageous celebrity antics to make even the most seasoned tabloid reader blush. Under the soft, pink glow of delicate paper lanterns, Ashley Olsen allegedly threw a tantrum. On a break from filming The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McConaughey were rumored to carouse on Martin Scorsese's dime at a late-night bash. Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton were spotted here shooting scenes for an upcoming flick, and Ethan Hawke allegedly escaped here to nurse post-breakup wounds. And, enveloped in an all-red cabaret room, Britney Spears is said to have stormed the stage and plucked off the clothes of patrons competing in a boxers-or-briefs contest. Lucky Cheng's has also appeared on iconic small-screen shows, making cameos on favorites such as 30 Rock and Sex in the City.
But for all its association with Hollywood stars and Page Six-level shenanigans, Lucky Cheng's boasts plenty of drama of its own. The establishment's famed drag performers adorned in jewels, shimmering embroidery, and sharply contoured cheekbones bring their most incandescent selves to the stage every night, as diners enjoy pre-fixe meals and sometimes even join in on the act.