The Tan brothers grew up in the restaurant industry, as their father was a renowned chef of China. At Rong Tan's, this trio of siblings brings its family traditions to the states with a menu honed overseas. Diners can savor sichuan-spiced lobster stewed with veggies or order the Empress chicken, lightly fried and served on a throne of pure gold. Rice and noodle dishes, house specialties—including the orange-flavored beef—and vegetable options round out a menu with dozens of entrees.
The carved bodies of fierce dragons, their eyes aglow with neon red lights, corkscrew about Magic Wok’s foyer as if awakened by the aromas of Sichuan, Hunan, Mandarin, and Cantonese dishes. In the dining room, lime-green walls come alive with red tapestries, accented by canary-hued Chinese pictograms. After polishing off a Thai-style fish fillet, guests retreat to the bar to sip plum wine, elixirs wrung from apples and pineapple, or champagne with all the bubbles picked out.
Though the chefs at Mandarin revere classically prepared Chinese dishes, they aren’t afraid to add a dash of inventive flair with internationally inspired twists. Hawaiian-style preparations of sweet-and-sour chicken join other Chinese comfort food, such as Chinese- or Singapore-style me fen, a mix of thin rice noodles with vegetables and meats such as pork and beef. Rice and noodle bowls from the Tour of Asia menu cull flavors from Osaka, Seoul, and Hong Kong, and traditional Chinese dishes such as chicken with snow peas and sesame beef round out the menu. Staffers pour martinis into curvy-stemmed glasses or help guests pair wines amid the dining room's mandarin-orange walls, bamboo placemats, and geisha statuettes.
Chefs at Happy Panda use crunchy vegetables, sweet pineapple, and lots of Asian herbs and spices (but never MSG) to create flavorful Szechuan and Hunan dishes. They fry egg rolls, wontons, and origami swans to a crisp in 100% vegetable oils and offer a number of vegetarian dishes in addition to the roast pork, chicken, beef, and seafood options. The restaurant runs a bustling dine-in and carry-out trade, particularly during the lunch rush, when diners can choose from 30 specials served with fried rice and an egg roll or soup.
Now entering the fourth generation of familial ownership, Ding Ho continues its 55-year tradition of prepping and polishing plates stacked creatively with savory meats. Although many delectable dishes compete for top honors, regulars often launch off from the safe, satiating platform provided by an order of crispy egg rolls ($1.50 each). The char sue bok toy arrives steaming with barbecued pork with Chinese greens in a hot pan ($7.75 dinner only), and the kung pao beef engulfs taste buds with beef, diced vegetables, and peanuts glazed with a hot, spicy sauce ($9.50 dinner only). For eclectic forkfuls of flavor, noodle mavens can indulge in orders of lo mein with pork ($5.75/lunch, $8/dinner), vegetables ($5.25/lunch, $7.50/dinner), or beef ($5.75/lunch, $8.50/dinner) or dig through the curry-splashed Singapore rice noodles in search of buried teeth treasures such as shrimp, chicken, and barbecued pork ($9.95 dinner only).
A part-time college job turned into a career when John Ko married the daughter of China Dynasty's original owners. John, his wife, and his in-laws are content with maintaining the same traditions that have lasted more than 25 years. John's mother-in-law continues to work in the kitchen as head chef, cooking a familiar assortment of classic Chinese dishes that draws inspiration from various regional styles throughout the country. Chinese eggplant in garlic sauce, Cantonese-style roast duck, and spicy Szechwan green beans with chicken represent just a handful of dishes that have endured at China Dynasty over the decades.
A golden statue of a jovial, laughing Buddha greets diners as soon as they enter the restaurant's expanded space, which features two dining rooms as well as a full-service bar area. Lipstick-red chairs surround the tables that fill the intimately lit space, and red accent walls similarly add a splash of color amid the rooms' pale green and tan color schemes. In addition to the Buddha statue, China Dynasty features a small collection of traditional Asian artwork and artifacts on its walls, including silk clothing, oversized Chinese hanzi, and baby pictures of the restaurant's first lo mein noodle.