Culinary connoisseurs May and Eddie Chan whip up their pan-Asian and Hunan-styled eats in a chic eatery adorned with modern lines, exposed brick, and exotic floral arrangements. Midday grazers can settle into the sleek dining room for lunch before slapping on a hardhat and constructing their meal from two courses served with brown, white, or fried rice. Kick off gastronomical jaunts with a choice of appetizer, including fried cheese wontons, a crispy Buddha egg roll, and miso tofu soup. Then pair starters with comestible choices such as sesame-crusted chicken or chinatown roast duck. Hot-tempered tongues are cooled off with a vietnamese iced coffee before getting riled up once more with pearl jasmine tea.
During dinner, diners can warm up for a marathon meal with wonton-dumpling soup. Giant plates of honey-walnut shrimp and grilled teriyaki salmon placate more carnivorous appetites and can be sacrificed to the family of hungry bears prowling the restaurant. Kick off a mouth party with beef chow fun or inspire taste buds to hit the flavor dance floor with Asian BBQ baby-back ribs and steamed Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce.
To sample Peking Cuisine's signature Peking duck dinner, it's best to call the restaurant several hours in advance. That way, you won't be disappointed if the popular dish sells out before you arrive—which it often does—and you'll allow ample time for the chefs to prepare the soft pancakes and tender duck that reporters from Houston Press lauded as some of the best in the city. The dish serves about three people and arrives with scallion, sweet bean sauce, and a simmering duck soup, making for a sizeable feast that's well worth the extra effort of ordering in advance. When they aren't whipping up Peking duck, Peking Cuisine's chefs extend their culinary expertise towards a sweeping array of traditional dishes from across China—from the chili prawns popular in the areas north of the Yellow River to the garlicky shredded pork of the Szechuan province. They also whip up western favorites such as General Tso's chicken, as well as less-familiar dishes such as stir-fried pork kidney and spicy tofu with sea cumber. Servers bear each order out to the elegant dining room, where golden dragons beam down from archways and spinning table centerpieces make it easy to share items or strengthen your spinning arm for an upcoming game show appearance.
The legacy of Kim Son restaurants owes its origins to the memory of its matriarch, Kim Su Tran. When "Mama La" and her husband fled Vietnam in 1980, she brought with her more than 250 recipes, each stowed safely in her mind. She also brought her seven children, four of which—Tan, Tri, Tony, and Tao—now watch over the business and coveted family recipes. Among their shared vision is Kim Son Cafe, which breaks from its predecessors by way of a simplified menu and the inclusion of sushi. Though the menu is simpler, the flavors are just as complex, showcasing ingredient orchestration in dishes such as coconut curry shrimp wound up in strands of spinach linguini. The menu even boasts a Vietnamese take on fajitas, giving guests rice paper with which to wrap marinated meats and veggies or write love letters to their mouths.
Tan’s Hunan Chinese Restaurant on Dairy Ashford Road is one of many Energy Corridor takeout eateries that cater to the burgeoning office workers nearby. Located between Westheimer and Briar Forest, it’s convenient to most offices in the area and provides free delivery for most orders, making Tan’s a natural destination for diners looking to eat well quickly. Their brick strip mall location sports a vibrant green awning, colorful walls and enough space to accommodate the lunchtime masses. A lunch menu features over a dozen American Chinese takeout favorites, like Kung Pao chicken, chow mein and Moo Goo Gai Pan. Lunch comes with an egg roll, fried rice and soup, usually for less than $7.
Dragon motifs and red paper lanterns welcome diners to Oriental Gardens Chinese Restaurant and transport them to ancient China. The menu at this family-run eatery includes the expected egg rolls and fried rice dishes in addition to chef specialties such as sizzling steak and Hunan-style lobster tails in a spicy sauce. There are plenty of meatless dishes too, for visiting vegetarians or Bengal tigers eager to know how the other half lives, as well as a handful of kid-friendly finger foods on the children's menu.
The executive chef at Imperia emblazons an Asian menu full of fresh seafood and ingredients with a personal flair that has amassed seven Austin Chronicle reader accolades. Inside the stylish urban restaurant, pendant lights illuminate a marble bar winding past Asian decor, and cool slabs of bluefin sashimi stretch out on platters in the arms of attentive servers. Candles flicker across tables, as guests enjoy three-course omakase meals creatively orchestrated and handcrafted by the chef and catapulted directly into awaiting mouths.