The menu at Lucky China features many familiar dishes, from egg foo young to sweet and sour chicken. The chef's specialties section highlights favorites such as orange beef cooked with mandarin orange peel, golden crispy shrimp, and the Four Seasons—beef, shrimp, chicken, and pork with a vegetable medley. One corner of the menu departs from tradition, however, offering "lite," low-calorie fare that has been steamed instead of fried. The Triple Delight, for example, mixes chicken, beef, and shrimp with white rice and no salt.
Outside, flames blaze within a set of stone cauldrons atop towering tripods. The vessels, known as dings, have been symbols of power in China since ancient times, when dynasties ruled the empire—making them a fitting façade for the Emperor’s Palace. Within the restaurant’s high ceilings, a dining room takes inspiration from the Suzhou Botanical Gardens, with tables sitting among waterfalls, ponds connected by bridges, and an open, four-sided Chinese-style pagoda with red and gold accents and pointed eaves.
Amid the traditional Chinese décor, aromas of sizzling meats and piquant sauces waft from an open kitchen, where chefs perform as they sear, broil, and stir-fry more than 200 dishes in full view of patrons. They craft traditional and American-Chinese dishes such as roasted peking duck and walnut shrimp, American-style charbroiled steak, sushi, and Korean-style kimchi. Contributing to the restaurant's international focus, seafood dishes incorporate such ingredients as New Zealand blue mussels and Alaskan crab legs complete with miniature snowshoes.
The chefs at Lucky Sushi House reach beyond the borders of their eatery's name by serving a menu that not only features sushi, but also Japanese teriyaki dishes and Chinese staples such as orange chicken. Behind the sushi bar, chefs stack morsels of eel nigiri and roll combinations of crab, avocado, and tuna into cozy cocoons of rice. While admiring the decorative fans on the walls or peering into the restaurant's aquarium to check for messages in bottles, patrons can also crunch into squid-tempura rolls, split a plate of pot stickers, and swig Harbin Lager imported from China.
On weekends between 10:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., a cart laden with plated dim sum rolls through Lu Lu Seafood, delivering handcrafted treats such as pork shu mai or spare ribs in black bean sauce. Patrons can also dine on regional Chinese seafood such as live lobsters with ginger and scallions or hot pots simmering with fresh scallops, washing it all back with cocktails, smoothies, and milk tea laden with pearls of tapioca. The opulent crimson-and-gold eatery also houses private karaoke rooms with bottle service where guests can sing in English, Chinese, or Korean.
Though Altai Mongolian Grill has built a formidable reputation in Russia, Mongolia, and China, its St. Louis location is the first in the United States. Here, diners craving authentic, flavorful Mongolian dishes can sample recipes straight from Mongolia. They pick a protein—such as beef, lamb, chicken, or scallops—spiced and cooked with their choice of herbs and vegetables. For a finishing touch, they can drizzle on one of a variety of signature and international sauces, including Asian ginger root and Ulaanbaatar spicy sauce.
Though it sits squarely in St. Louis, Broadway Oyster Bar might as well inhabit New Orleans. Even from the outside, the 150-year-old building exudes the revelry of the French Quarter, as an art-deco neon sign emblazoned with music notes joins colorful string lanterns to form an illuminated invitation for patrons to come in and live a little. Of course, inside is where the Cajun atmosphere is most apparent, especially in whiffs of dishes named the favorite Cajun/creole cuisine of the Sauce Magazine readers’ poll every year since 2003. Chef Brad Hagen's acclaimed recipes include marinated alligator with homemade tartar sauce, shucked oysters topped with spinach cream sauce, and fresh-baked Gambino's bread filled with traditional po' boy fixings, such as fried catfish and shrimp. Feasts unfold in a cozy dining room or an open-air patio enclosed and heated in winter. There, local and national musicians grace the stage seven nights a week to play funk and blues tunes, just like Mom used to.