While it takes prodigious skill to man the 600-degree, 7-foot grill that is the center of bd?s Mongolian Grill?s dining room, the chefs running it don?t have any secret recipes. Instead, customers fashion their own customizable bowls of stir-fry according to their taste preferences, dietary restrictions, and desired portion size. Guests wander, nearly overwhelmed as they choose from an array of meats and veggies and ladle sweet, spicy, and herb-filled sauces into a cup. Chefs saut? the meal in front of their eyes, swords flicking skillfully across the grill to entertain and build anticipation like a mime about to jump buses on an invisible motorcycle. The resulting stir-fry dishes are accompanied by brown rice, white rice, tortillas or lettuce wraps.
The fusion of robust Malaysian spices and smooth coconut milk erupts with each bite of beef rendang. Sweet and spicy notes infuse the syrupy glaze coating each morsel of general tso’s chicken. A conical seaweed wrap imbues its saltiness in slices of spicy conch. Within the red and yellow walls of Hin Lee Malaysian Chinese Restaurant, the talented chef forges a synthesis of flavors from Malaysian and Chinese traditions. On the weekends, a rice artisan rolls cuts of fresh grouper, salmon, and spicy scallop into seaweed-encased slices at a small sushi bar, where diners can sidle up to watch the master work and shout names of current events to inspire the wasabi's improve-comedy routines.
Lee House executive chefs Michael Lee and Thanh Uong inter-weave Chinese and Vietnamese cooking techniques, decades-old family recipes, and years of restaurant experience to craft a menu of dim sum and authentic Chinese fare. A team of culinary air-traffic controllers guides the peking duck’s half-bird in for a landing on plate runways next to a stack of steaming pancakes ($16.00). Savory spare ribs simmer in a clay pot alongside a tart tuft of bitter melon ($8.50), and the specialty beef-chow-fun coils house-made wide rice noodles alongside seasonal vegetables ($8.95). A separate dim-sum menu stocks bellies with classics such as pork dumplings, spring rolls, and black-tie spring rolls in noodle cummerbunds, as well as introducing appetites to exotic meats such as steamed chicken feet ($2.95–$10.95/dim-sum dish).
At China 3, chefs use Zabiha hand-cut meats to build a menu of halal Chinese and Indo-Pak dishes. Szechuan style shrimp, broccoli simmered in garlic sauce, and sweet and sour chicken showcase the culinary flavors of the far east. Meanwhile, South Asian classics include goat biryani and kabobs galore, all served with naan cooked in a traditional clay oven.
At Splash! An Ocean Grill, sounds of satisfaction emanate from guests nibbling on seared lobster, fish, or steak just like the sounds of the sea lapping the shore. A bar, located in the middle of the dining room, glows blue as soft lights evoke an under-the-waves mood and guests sip on a sweet cocktail or full-bodied wine while checking out the wall-mounted photographs. It's these details that inspired the Tampa Tribune to exclaim, "…Seafood done so well," Tampa Bay Illustrated to say, "Splash! shines like a spinning lure," and a mermaid off the bay to lament, "Why can't I grow legs?"
Chip Roehl and Lenny Terlaje, the former management team of award winning restaurant Splash! An Ocean Grill, don?t believe that there's only one way to prepare seafood. At their award-winning restaurant, this culinary duo draws upon cooking styles from around the world, from saut?ing mussels in scampi sauce to coating sesame-crusted tuna in ponzu. And those are just the appetizers?for entrees, Tom and Lenny crown crab-cake sandwiches with lemon-dill aioli and vampire-proof lobster tails by broiling them in garlic butter.
Alongside these maritime meals, the twosome also showcases ingredients from the land, such as fire-grilled filet mignons and sirloin burgers topped with roasted bacon. Beer, wine, and classic cocktails complement the feasts, which unfold inside a roomy dining room awash in blue lights reminiscent of the sea.