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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After bringing menus to each table, servers ask if anyone would like to sign a waiver. Without endorsing one of these forms, diners can't order the devil's chicken or vegetables, two formidable entrees made with fiery ghost chilies.
On request, chefs can tone down the heat of various entrees, which combine the culinary traditions of India and China. Relying on locally sourced ingredients when possible, cooks prepare each dish for family-style serving, which encourages diners to split piles of poultry with visiting friends or every member of the Channel 5 news team. Though braised beef and sautéed chicken are prominent on the menu, the kitchen also creates vegetarian- and vegan-friendly dishes that rely on the same regional sauces for their piquant flavor.
On one side of the main dining room, red vinyl booths add a splash of color to the restaurant's sleek gray walls and modern décor. The restaurant's bar keeps tables full of libations, including craft beers and glasses of food-friendly wine from winemakers on both sides of the equator and the center of the Earth.