Tasters Wok encourages diners to sing during dinner. Well, maybe after it, and definitely not with their mouths full. Along with serving steaming plates of deep-fried oysters, Indian vindaloo, pad thai, and teriyaki chicken on an iron plate, the Pan-Asian restaurant houses a full bar equipped with karaoke sound system and library of songs that's updated monthly. After finishing a plate of sweet basil beef, diners can stop at the nearby bar to lubricate their vocal cords with a chilled beer or cocktail before heading to the stage to attempt mankind’s most daring feat: singing with the karaoke prompter turned off.
Although Hunan Palace embraces the recipes of its namesake region, the chefs also draw inspiration from other culinary traditions throughout China to create their menu. This liberal adoption of inspiration can lead to dishes such as shrimp saut?ed in spicy Szechuan-style sauce appearing on diners' tables alongside mongolian beef with hot peppers and a bed of crispy noodles. As further proof of their dedication to traditional Chinese flavors, the chefs also glaze crispy whole fish with spicy, Hunan-style sauce and roast entire peking ducks, which can be shared by the table.
A handful of tables line the floor of Hunan Palace's carpeted dining room, providing each guest views out the restaurant's plate-glass windows. Small lamps cast a gentle glow throughout the space. Spirits become livelier on Friday and Saturday nights when guests can stop in for karaoke and enjoy a drink from the bar while waiting for a chance to belt their favorite power ballad or deliver their favorite William Jennings Bryan speech.
Regent Bakery & Cafe's authentic Chinese flavors couldn't be contained to just one meal. The restaurant started as a bakery specializing in Chinese pastries and cakes. As its popularity grew, so too did its menu—the staff began serving beef-stew and salted-fish hot pies, roast duck, and ma-pao tofu. Regent Bakery & Cafe now sports two full locations; the newest features a full bar that mixes up a selection of adult beverages and bubble teas, served inside a restaurant whose modern decor is lit by chandeliers and neon track lighting.
The Vibe: Canton Wonton House emanates a casual, no-frills vibe with simple tabletops and a few pieces of Chinese artwork on the walls. A long window looks in on the kitchen, so customers can see the chefs at work.
Congee: a thick rice porridge prepared with meat, fish, veggies, and other add-ins.
Bok choy: this vegetable looks like a thick stalk of celery with a white stem and large, green leaves; it's also known as chinese white cabbage.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Take a stroll through the not-too-distant past at Pink Gorilla (601 S King Street), which specializes in old video games.
After: Get all the essentials for a home-brewed cup of post-meal tea at New Century Tea Gallery (416 Maynard Avenue S).
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: King Noodle (615 S King Street), where you can build your own Chinese soup.
The broad, straightforward name of Lee's Asian Restaurant heralds a menu that visits just about every corner of its namesake continent. Prawns are cooked in an Indonesian-style marinade, eggrolls and sea scallops get Vietnamese treatment, udon noodles hail from Japan, and other meat and veggie entrees are dosed with the fire of classic Thai or Szechuan cuisine. The wide reach seems to be astoundingly successful. Among other satiated reviewers, the Seattle Times praised the "sophisticated and worldly" menu, whose text can be unscrambled into a helpful travel guide; they just about promise that Lee's will leave guests "smiling and munching all the way to the bottom of the enormous platters." Beyond the unassuming awning, red paper lanterns and teacup lights cast a honeyed glow on a large wood bar backed by wine racks. Warm sake offers an appropriately Asian alternative.
Korean and Chinese dishes mingle on Red Lantern’s eclectic menu. Under the glow of those namesake red lanterns, guests can order Chinese classics such as General Tso’s chicken and sichuan peppercorn shrimp, or try something new with traditional––and not often seen––Korean dishes such as kkanpunggi (fried chicken with red chilies), or fermented black miso noodles, otherwise known as ja-jang. When it comes to dessert, though, chefs often combine eastern flavors with contemporary western techniques, creating sweets like a crème brulee flavored with black tea, or a vanilla sponge cake delivered by a runaway stagecoach.