Hunan Taste packs empty stomach suitcases with authentic Chinese cuisine distinguished by sour, spicy tastes and slow-cooked, tender textures. Skip the cumbersome rental of a tabletop cement mixer and lay an appetizing foundation with steamed or pan-fried dumplings ($4.95) or crispy shrimp egg rolls ($2.75). Chopstick skeptics can play to strengths by spooning hot mouthfuls of braised baby cabbage in superior soup ($10.95) and getting paws sauced with sweet-and-sour spare ribs ($13.95). Otherwise, mouths can make a deliciously daring choice by ushering in a steamed fish head with diced hot red peppers ($23.95).
Jesse Wong was born in Taiping, Malaysia. In 1984, he left for Washington DC, where he discovered a passion for the culinary arts and began his training to become a chef. Over the next 14 years, he worked his way up through the industry—from a dishwasher to an executive chef. He has since lent his name and know-how to Jesse Wong's Asean Bistro, where he evokes Asia's diverse cultures and customs through atmosphere and food. At the full bar or inside a bistro-style dining room, visitors can sample his Atlantic salmon, pan-fried and sautéed noodles, Burmese-style pork, and chicken simmered in green curry or teriyaki sauce. On most nights, this dining space also features live entertainment such as piano music or—on the weekends—performances from solo jazz vocalists, trios, and quartets.
Though Chopstixx Café specializes in authentic Chinese street fare, its menu also charts out an edible map of Thailand, Japan, and Mongolia crisscrossed with sweet tributaries of bubble tea. An array of soups, salads, and appetizers, such as the steamed or pan-fried gyoza dumplings ($3.25) starts your meal off with the culinary equivalent of an exciting parkour chase through Tokyo before diving into the main plot with a plate of honey-sesame shrimp ($9.99), Malaysian kway teow ($9.99), or chicken yaki udon ($9.99), a Japanese-style noodle dish. Herbivores, meanwhile, can skip the hassle of assembling a salad out of parsley garnishes and bitter tears with the café's bevy of vegetarian vittles, such as General Tso’s crispy tofu ($7.99).
When laid out item by item, Lucky Inn's lunch and dinner menus could possibly span the entire length of the Great Wall of China. The lengthy lists keep the eatery’s chefs busy crafting favorites such as general tso’s chicken, beef with broccoli, and shrimp in garlic sauce, as well as noodle dishes of the lo mein, chow mein, and chow fun varieties. Meat-free fare arrives in the form of orange-flavored tofu and sautéed snow peas, harvested by ski instructors during slow days.
Since 1987, Seven Seas has served the Washington metropolitan area with authentic Chinese cuisine, featuring a number of entrees that go well beyond the standard offerings. Browse the lunch or dinner menus for a variety of savory seafood selections, such as the fresh squid, sautéed in a black-bean sauce, then garnished with green peppers, onions, and jalapenos ($12.95). Or try the lightly battered shrimp topped with premium walnuts ($16.95). Those leaning toward chicken can keep leaning, eventually falling face-first into the string bean Szechuan, which features minced chicken stir-fried in a light brown sauce ($9.95). With chefs who have experience with Mandarin, Cantonese, Szechuan, Taiwanese, and American methods of cooking, Seven Seas’ massive menu will satisfy even the pickiest of diners. To drink, Seven Seas offers a hodgepodge of Oriental and Californian wines, plus premium sake, such as the Sho Chiku Bai Organic Nama ($16), a libation that’s as balanced as a tabby-cat gymnast.