A banner printed with tiny white fish flutters above Ma Soba's sushi bar, where chefs in pert white hats tuck ribbons of fish atop rice and seaweed. In the kitchen, stovetops sizzle with Chinese, Korean, Thai, and other Asian dishes, such as bulgogi, tempura-battered seafood and vegetables, and entrees spiced with chili-and-ginger general tso's sauce. Wine and water goblets moor maroon tablecloths in the softly lit dining room, where potted orchids and bromeliads complement a Japanese screen painted with branches and cherry blossoms. Ma Soba also packs entrees into tidy containers for carryout and delivery orders to offices, homes, and tree houses.
In the building that is home to other shops, there’s no mystery when finding Café de Lulu. With a huge sign with a ramen noodle bowl outside the building, the subsequent red visually stimulating signs sporting the café name and logo points visitors towards the basement. Even without the signs, the fragrant tones of stir fried calamari with spicy salt, braised beef brisket with curry sauce and spicy ground pork with diced tofu beckon you to the subterranean lower level of a small food court. That’s where you’ll find über-casual Café de Lulu, where Asian chefs whip up hearty fare that ranges from dumplings and Kung Pao beef to baked chicken. Others have already found their way inside as well, taking up seats in the limited dining area, while still more queue up for take-away plates that can be eaten on the go.
Victoria Seafood Restaurant, a favorite of Boston University college students as well as locals looking for a great deal on Chinese food, isn’t going to win any prizes for décor, thanks to pink tablecloths, small booths and a few live fish tanks in the back. The otherwise bare bones spot is packed at lunch, when specials like General Gau’s Chicken and Moo Goo Gai Pan are just $5.50 and include soup, an appetizer and rice or scallion lo mein. You’d think such an inexpensive meal would be skimpy, but even those with a hearty appetite often have enough leftovers to take home. On the regular menu, all of the Chinese food standards can be found, from whole Peking duck to beef with broccoli. And there is certainly plenty of namesake seafood on offer, including shrimp, squid, jelly fish, clams, sea bass and more.
The intermingling aromas of ginger, coconut, lemongrass, chilies, and basil is pretty typical of most Asian eateries. But Grasshopper Restaurant isn’t like most Asian eateries. Rather than stick with one regional specialty, it borrows recipes and flavors from Chinese, Japanese, and Thai cuisines. The chefs also distinguish their menu by avoiding any meat, opting for stir-fried seitan and tofu as protein-packed alternatives. However, the Zagat-rated restaurant mostly relies on fragrant herbs, piquant seasonings, and fresh vegetables to concoct its animal-friendly, plant-hostile versions of classic dishes such as beef lo mein, barbecued pork, and steak with spicy black bean sauce.
Imperial Kitchen's chefs have prepared authentic Chinese cuisine for more than 35 years, searing seasoned chicken, roast pork, seafood, and assorted garden pluckings in vegetable oil. Classic dishes such as cashew chicken and satay beef arrive fresh and made to order so that diners can customize the heat level of each dish, turning the dial from mild to extra spicy to hotter than a pile of burning fireman calendars. Combo dinners bolster favorite entrees with pork-fried rice, whereas chef's specialties add inventive flair with lotus flour and flavorful ginger sauce, spicy orange sauce, or the chef's signature sauce.:
All Seasons Table Restaurant serves up pan-Asian cuisine that integrates influences from Japanese, Thai, and Malay traditions. The chef crafts gourmet versions of familiar Chinese-American fare, from spicy General Gau's chicken to mongolian sesame shrimp. Diners can sample filets of meat and fish hot from the grill and coated in the Asian-style sauce of their choice. The kitchen also works wonders with lamb and duck—including a marinated half peking duck, which is roasted until tender and served with a feast of pancakes, vegetables, and hoisin sauce.