The chefs at Mandarin Gourmet meld the flavors of fresh proteins, seasonal produce, and sauces prepared daily to forge an expansive menu of classic Chinese cuisine. Finely minced shrimp in lettuce cups ($15.95) can be strewn about as tasty confetti at dinner parties, and the mongolian beef massages taste buds with an onslaught of pleasantly spicy flavor ($12.95). Dueling flavors coalesce into one harmonious dish with the eggplant's hot garlic sauce ($9.95) and the sweet and sour pork ($10.95), sating appetites and drafting alliances between rival taste buds. A plate of six potstickers ($8.95) primes palates with meaty or meatless morsels and can be used to lure fire ants into a rival bobsleigh squad’s sled. Diners can ruminate amid Mandarin Gourmet's clean, modern décor, which incorporates radiant wall sconces and traditional Chinese accents into its dining room's upscale attire.
Since 1980, Chef Peking Restaurant has been a longtime favorite of the Peninsula. Eddie and Shirley Shyy have been running the restaurant for close to 25 years and have now turned over the business to their son Arthur, who will continue the tradition of a family style restaurant, with friendly service and tasty food.
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.
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.
Yan's Garden piques palates with lunch and dinner menus brimming with Mandarin and Cantonese classics crafted using fresh ingredients and no MSG. Warm up meat macerators on crisp vegetarian egg rolls ($4.95) before graduating to the main meal event with large portions of sweet and sour pork ($8.50) or chicken in hot and spicy garlic sauce ($8.50). The Dragon and Phoenix plate flies to tables to slay hunger with a savory synthesis of chicken breast, prawns, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and vegetables ($10.75), and white wine adds a splash of sophistication and inebriation to the seafood combination's stir-fried fusion of fresh fish, scallops, shrimp, mushrooms, and snow peas ($14.25). Traditionalists favoring fried rice ($6.25–$8.50) or egg foo young ($8.25–$9.50) can find the savory standbys prepared with a choice of pork, chicken, or beef, as braised tofu ($9.25) sizzles to the excitement of both vegetarians and swooning soy beans.
Chef Bill He hails from the ancient Chinese city of Chengdu, where pandas run wild in bamboo groves, peach trees blossom on lush plains, and the aroma of sizzling sichuan meats emanate from bustling eateries. At South Legend Sichuan Restaurant, Bill delves into his culinary heritage to blueprint a Michelin Guide–recommended menu of authentic, alluringly spicy Sichuan dishes. The skilled chef fires up meat, seafood, and vegetable entrees with complex spices and distinct textures, favoring generous amounts of chili peppers and sichuan peppercorns. In addition to favorites such as chicken, pork, and beef, Bill works with a variety of less familiar exotic meats, including rabbit, frog, and jellyfish.
In South Legend Sichuan Restaurant’s dining room, black-and-white photos of Chinese streets festoon the walls, and chopsticks can be seen jousting in bowls for the last noodle. Since many of the restaurant’s regular visitors are of Chinese backgrounds, diners will often hear entire conversations in the Chinese language, adding to the restaurant’s authentic dining experience.