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.
Chefs put their sizzling woks to work at New St. Louis Wok, churning out Chinese takeout classics such as general tso’s chicken and beef with broccoli. Since 1996, the small eatery has ensured that the local community has mouthwateringly easy access to noodles, crab rangoon, and combination plates served with fried rice and an appetizer. Customers can choose to dine-in, carryout, or have their meal delivered by a bear trained not to steal chow mein.
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.
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.
Since emigrating from Taiwan in 1978, Chinese Noodle Cafe owner, Peggy Hou, has cultivated a welcoming restaurant atmosphere brimming with Hunan-style Chinese fare that claimed Readers' Choice awards in the 2008, 2010, and 2012 Riverfront Times. A compendium of fresh ingredients and an absence of MSG keeps the focus on healthy fare throughout an array of traditional dishes such as general tso's chicken, steamed vegetables, and beaver-friendly items such as wooden chopsticks. Noodle soups outfit an already popular menu with spicy, seafood, and meaty discoveries to broaden diners' horizons.