When diners see fire erupting inside Dai Bai Dang, they needn't panic. Those flames are under the control of Chef Anna Wang and her fellow chefs, who whip up a bulk of the eatery's cuisine in open woks. The fire show is the first visual treat for diners, who then receive gorgeously plated Asian-fusion dishes. Said cuisine includes shrimp tossed with caramelized walnuts, duck smoked in tea leaves, and japanese eggplant braised with ginger and chili paste. To complement feasts, bartenders not only serve plenty of wine, cocktails, and liqueurs, but also showcase their barista skills by making cups of the house roast with a french press.
The Chinese dumplings that arrive at Zen Dumpling's tables are like small, edible treasure chests. Inside awaits a bounty of savory fillings: veggies, pork, chicken, and beef, all hidden within the dumplings' soft dough exterior. Along with serving food, the staff also enjoys sharing their knowledge of Chinese cuisine. If asked, they may recount how dumplings––which traditionally symbolize wealth––are often served around holidays, potentially indicating gifts of good fortune or durable socks. Their culinary expertise extends to other types of Chinese cuisine, as they also cook chow mein, fried rice, and hot soups filled with the likes of beef tenderloin or spicy fish.
In the natural glow of large picture windows, Chinese and Thai rice and noodle dishes clatter on Chong's Cuisine tables. Curlicues of steam rise from shrimp, vegetables, and chicken, generously slathered in ginger and zesty szechuan sauce. Guests can quickly judge spiciness by spotting a tiny printed pepper beside hot menu items and an invisible picture of Harry Houdini beside mild ones..
Panda South Chinese Restaurant mingles the complex profiles of Szechuan and Mandarin cultures into an array of Chinese comfort cuisine. For ease of perusal, the menu is also divided into general categories such as vegetables, chicken, pork, seafood, and historical autobiography.
Head chef Scott Sauer oversees a rotating menu of inventive cuisine catered to discerning Fresnan tongues fluent in gourmet. The dinner menu raises the curtain with an appetizing aria of jalapeno-enhanced sweet-potato fries ($9) or calamari ($10) dotted with roasted sweet peppers. The feta-cheese and poppy-seed dressing of the strawberry and spinach salad ($12) likewise provides a sweet counterpart to savory evening entrees such as the osso bucco–style short ribs ($27), served with braised greens and polenta cake, and the Peruvian potato-crusted salmon ($27). Dining dates, meanwhile, can keep their busy hands doggy-bag-free for a romantic evening of casino implosions and roller-tango with light entrees such as the petite filet mignon ($26) and the crab cakes with house-made tartar sauce ($16). Before capping things off with a dessert of cinnamon-raisin bread pudding ($6) or crispy boysenberry pie ($5), be sure to take a scenic detour among Max's extensive list of wines by the bottle or glass, draft beers, and specialty martinis, including the Pretty Woman ($11), which blends Stolichnaya strawberry, orange juice, and strawberry puree with a champagne float and a lock of Julia Roberts's hair.