Bright spotlights shine down as the doors swing open. Grinning faces look up in recognition. Dishes emerge from the kitchen at Panda Buffet like celebrities, draped in boas of steam and mantles of honey-garlic or bourbon glaze beneath the lemongrass-hued walls and wood paneling. Waiters toting traditional concoctions such as General Tso’s chicken scoot past mirrors painted with bucolic Eastern scenes that let diners experience exotic locales without hiding in a shipment of pith helmets.
Lauded by the Sun Sentinel for its “expert sushi with eye candy presentations” and its “nice medley of cuisines,” Red Ginger Asian Bistro presents several star Asian cuisines. Chinese classics such as egg drop soup, moo goo gai pan, and moo shu pork mingle on a menu with Thai fare including red-curry shrimp and thai beef salad. The staff also prepares Japanese-inspired food, curating selections from the sushi bar such as unagi sashimi, shrimp-tempura rolls, and Sexy tuna rolls packed with white tuna, cucumber, asparagus, and the power to make people stare at them with mouths agape. Even drinks from the bar run the geographic gamut, from hot and cold sake to lychee martinis and Asian, European, and North American beers.
Dragon Pearl's chefs mince, steam, and stir-fry a vast array of Chinese and pan-Asian specialties. Appetizers such as crab rangoon and eggrolls come armored in crispy coatings to withstand chopstick lances. Steaming bowls of soup, including egg drop and roast pork with noodles, whet appetites for oncoming entrees of chicken, steak, and seafood. The Cantonese-style lobster bathes a still-shelled crustacean in egg sauce, and the classic Happy Family ensemble unites shrimp, scallops, pork, and chicken for a series of awkward photos in matching outfits. Health-conscious options such as the steamed scallops and vegetables eschew oil and MSG. Finally, desserts such as pistachio ice cream or exotic lychee fruit sweeten sated palettes for the ride home.
Mirrors and ornate paintings surround diners at Lily Garden with a serene atmosphere as they sample a menu filled with Hunan, Cantonese, and Sichuan dishes. Each white-clothed table in the dining room supports a crescent vase of flowers, and red paper lanterns dangle above the booths along each wall. Delivery and catering services are also available.
Tender pieces of chicken, beef, shrimp, and pork simmer in a variety of aromatic sauces, including curry, savory black bean, and fiery sichuan. The Triple Crown In Bird's Nest specialty holds chicken, pork, shrimp, and vegetables in a crispy potato basket, and the seafood straw mushroom combines succulent lobster, scallions, and scarecrows used to frighten away hungry pelicans. Lily Garden also serves beer and wine and curates a gluten-free menu for patrons who swear off the wheat-based protein.
Though you can always drive up to the Historic Downtowner Saloon, that's not the recommended way to arrive. Instead, customers might want to take the water taxi right up to the downtown stop to get a preview of the river views granted by the restaurant's riverfront patio. Here, guests can enhance their waterside experience with expertly prepared American fare and 20 new craft beers waiting to quench to the most discerning drinker.
While new owners now helm Historic Downtowner Saloon, its chefs tend to their culinary labors, be it slow-roasting prime rib or turning out seafood specials, sandwiches, and appetizers. In the kitchen, they grill slabs of sizzling sirloins and pair them crab cakes drizzled in a Cajun remoulade. Once delivered to guests, ancho shrimp tacos do flavorful dances across palates, while a raw bar, stocked with bowls of littleneck clams and Caribbean jerk shrimp, puts appetites on ice. Most nights of the week, a live band serenades guests with tunes as relaxing as surfing on a waterbed—unless there are sharks inside the waterbed.
16 Handles’ rotating selection of toppings and frozen-yogurt flavors gives health-conscious dessert fiends an excuse to indulge their insistent sweet teeth. Like a precision team of mathletes, the 16 non- and low-fat flavors are constantly rotating, with possible tastes on tap including peanut butter confession, cookies and cream, Strawberry Fields and NY Cheesecake. The dessert den also offers no sugar added (Chocolate Eruption and Vanilla Sky) and dairy-free (berry medley, Mango Tango, and kiwi strawberry) options to satisfy sensitive bellies. Bedazzle unadorned scoops with seasonal fruit toppings, such as blackberry, mango, and kiwi, or more sweet-tooth-friendly fixings, including chocolate-covered pretzels, Butterfingers, cookie dough, or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Combinations of the 40-plus toppings and 16 flavors are as endless as a colony of ants in a kaleidoscope. At $0.49 per ounce, the average serving is about $5, so ravenous eaters have the overindulgent option of building a behemoth 32-ounce empire or sharing the fro-yo wealth with kids, coworkers, or a yogurt-fueled robodog.