Behind the kitchen doors, flaming pans roast orders of meats, seafood, and seasonal vegetables to reflect the culinary traditions of Chinese culture. In addition to the sweet, sour, and savory sauces that coat the dishes' steamed white or brown rice, the cooks can create entrees with enough fiery spice to bring tears to the eyes of a potato. To accompany each meal, the restaurant's bar slides over domestic and imported beers, and glasses of wine from a California-centric list that features fruit-forward reds alongside palate-cooling whites.
Inside an environmentally friendly dining room outfitted with fast-growing bamboo floors and eco-safe paint, patrons sup on sustainable, authentic Chinese dishes made from organically grown ingredients. Intricate lighting fixtures cast patterned shadows over diners as they tuck into aromatic platters of stir-fried smoked pork belly, wok-tossed seafood, or braised tofu prepared from recipes brought over from China 20 years ago and furnished with organic meats and produce from local farms and markets.
Praised by reviewers from the Contra Costa Times and Diabolo Magazine for its freshness, skillfully assembled flavors, and perfectly cooked seafood and duck, Zen Restaurant has been making a splash since it opened. Chefs are adept at fusing a variety of culinary influences culled from across Asia, resulting in dishes such as Vietnamese shrimp-avocado rolls, Thai red curry sauce, Mongolian beef, Chinese crispy pork, and Singapore noodles. Diners enjoy their food in a warmly lit space, featuring hardwood floors, a bright red accent wall, and contemporary furnishings.
Spicy Town's culinary conductors orchestrate a variety of sophisticated and exotic ingredients, and compose an extensive menu of authentic, traditional Sichuan dishes. Dress up customizable hot pots, beginning with a broth base ($3) and adding edible accessories such as tender sliced beef ($5.95), quail egg ($3.50), napa cabbage ($2.95), and any of seven varieties of noodle necklaces, including egg, shrimp won ton, and friendship ($2.95–$3.50). Midday lunch specials silence grumbling bellies with pan-fried duck tossed in chili and ginger ($7.99) or eggplant in a sweet and spicy Sichuan sauce ($7.95), all served with steamed rice and soup. During dinner, taste buds can elect comestibles, such as brown beech mushrooms stir-fried with smoked pork ($12.95), into mouthy office to rewrite flavor policies and outlaw the presence of Legos.
Since 1989, the chefs at Great Wall Chinese Restaurant have prepared an unexpected menu of authentic Chinese cuisine. The surprise lies along the pages of the menu, where the vast majority of dishes are strictly vegetarian?even those listed as "chicken" contain a faux-meat version. Dotted with little chiles to indicate a fiery level of spiciness, the menu lists favorites such as vegetarian "pork" with spicy garlic sauce, and Szechuan-style mapo tofu.
Nestled inside Quickly's in Newark, King of Dumplings showcases sleek decor to parallel a host of authentic Chinese dishes. Blue and gold lights hang from the ceiling by cords almost as thin as the restaurant's hand-pulled chinese noodles. Starters encompass unique ingredients such as crispy lotus roots, as well as popcorn octopus, pork elbow, and 12 types of dumplings. Patrons can also enjoy a host of shrimp, beef, and pork dishes in the glow of the King's flat-screen TVs or order dim-sum pancakes and buns to be delivered to their home or kiddie pool.