At Cee Fine Thai Dining, chefs assemble stunningly arranged plates of authentic Thai fare, separating meals and sauces for an interactive dining experience, or arranging disparate components in an artful stack to create a new twist on a familiar dish. This culinary runway show honors Thailand's cooking traditions at every turn, earning kudos from the Washington Post for serving "food that tastes as good as it looks." Flavors such as sweet yellow pineapple complement the spicy red sauce of a roasted-duck curry, and tableside clay pots throw aromatic steam diners’ way to announce a mélange of shrimp, mussels, and rice. Whether enjoyed on the patio or amid the dining room's ripe orange walls, luscious desserts including key-lime pie conclude meals on a tropical note. The restaurant also hosts live music, wine tastings, and cooking classes, helping diners liberate inner chefs and pent-up running men.
Within a casual, family-friendly atmosphere, Yen Cheng serves contemporary Chinese dishes among a variety of settings, from fresh dining-room tables and carry-out containers to steaming buffet trays. Waiters ferry specialties such as crispy shrimp drenched in spicy Hunan sauce and Sichuan crispy beef sautéed with with carrots and celery. Items rotate daily at the 10-course lunchtime buffet, where soups, appetizers, and diverse entrees allow diners to practice spinning an unending parade of plates atop their chopsticks.
If Mighty Khan's Mongolian Grill had a menu that listed every possible combination for its stir-fry creations, it would literally be thousands of items long. That's because the restaurant puts diners in the driver's seat, letting them hand-select and painstakingly interview each ingredient that goes into their meal. Dishes typically get built around top-grade meats and fresh seafood. Then, more than 20 vegetable options further customize creations, as do sauces that Mighty Khan's staff makes fresh daily. When diners aren't feeling creative, the restaurant also provides instructions for building their time-tested specialty bowls, such as the spicy cilantro lime bowl and the mild tangy citrus bowl.
Celebrities and politicos alike—including former residents of a little place on Pennsylvania Avenue—flee from the District to the Virginia suburbs for one thing: Peking Gourmet Inn’s peking duck. Founder Eddi Tsui decided to make the bird the centerpiece of his eatery way back in 1978, when the Falls Church spot first opened its doors. To set his peking duck apart, the chef eschewed store-bought hoisin for his own recipe, perfected his homemade pancakes, and even began growing his own jumbo spring onions. Prepared tableside, the meal is truly this spot’s—and perhaps Falls Church’s—claim to fame, and even made an appearance on the The Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate”, where it was interviewed by chef Duff Goldman. Though the duck has stolen Peking Gourmet Inn’s spotlight for the past three decades, the chef's other dishes still manage to hold their own. Items like sea scallops sautéed with roasted garlic, peking-style lamb chops, and singapore rice noodles round off the menu of Northern Chinese specialties, which also includes tried-and-true standbys such as szechuan beef and chicken chow mein.
Traditional Asian dishes such as egg rolls, pad thai, and crab rangoon may be among the most popular at Hunan Village, but they represent only a small portion of its menu. Other sections are devoted to chow fun (a flat rice noodle), poultry- and beef-based dishes, and scallops and shrimp. Plus, there are dishes that accommodate vegetarian diets—think bean sprouts and eggplant—as well as Weight Watchers regimens.