Tiny hanging tea lights cast orange orbs onto the lavender-hued walls. Thatched wicker chairs gather around tables, round and tapered like the heels of giant boots. Though these decorative embellishments may seem bold, the Martinez family wants them to be fixtures of a much greater statement—a culinary statement, one that won Los Equipales the title of 2011's Best Mexican restaurant according to Weekly Alibi.
The Martinez family changes the menu every three weeks to focus on the specialties of a different state of their native Mexico. Homemade sauces such as sweet mole and spiced tequila cream marinate fresh fillets of red snapper, salmon, and spice-infused chicken. While waiting on sizzling plates of fajitas to cool, patrons can also ask servers about their private rooms, which accommodate up to 110 guests or 500 tapped telephones.
At Asian Restaurant, chefs carefully prepare colorful, flavorful Chinese, Thai, and Japanese cuisine from fresh ingredients. Dishes range from delicate morsels of sashimi and sushi to savory plates of lo mein, pad thai, and egg foo young. A stately dining room with stone Buddha statues, dark hardwood floors, and wraparound booths hosts diners as they feast on meals of peking duck, kung pao shrimp, and singapore noodles.
The crafty culinarians at Umami Sushi and Asian Restaurant blend fresh veggies, meats, and sauces to create a menu populated with flavorful classics from Thailand, China, and Japan. The lineup features rice and noodle entrees, as well as items free of gluten and sushi rolls free of heat. The restaurant’s hardwood floors, tall potted plants, Asian décor, and absence of fire-breathing dragons work in tandem to create a relaxing and cozy dining experience.
The aromas of sizzling fajitas and marinated shrimp mingle in Mariscos Altamar?s dining room while hosts welcome diners with charming Spanish greetings. Along with the Aztec paintings, Owner Hector Hernandez?s menu, with seafood as the primary focus, hearkens back to northern Mexico where he grew up. Along with grilling steaks and spooning ranchero sauce over chiles rellenos, chefs also stuff saut?ed crabmeat into enchiladas and fry platefuls of breaded shrimp.
The dining room maintains an airy ambiance with its light wooden tones and neutral-colored walls, and an aquarium full of small fish and adorable baby Poseidons catch diners' eyes at the entrance. On Thursday and Saturday evenings and Friday afternoons, the restaurant regales guests with the lilting melodies of live musicians.
Steam drifts from the hot kitchen, where the family moves swiftly amid pots that clamor metallically for attention. It is 1942 in the Sichuan province of China, and the cooks are working together in the new restaurant, Chow’s, to perfect the recipes and earn money for their family. Today, three generations later and on the other side of the world, Chow’s Asian Bistro fills with the spicy bouquet of scents that still hint at those same recipes, which have taken on influences from other culinary traditions over time. Chicken, beef, shrimp, and tofu steep in coconut-curry or kung pao sauce and twist among garlic-festooned sprays of broccoli. Additionally, pad thai, lo mein, and chow fun dishes call chopsticks into action like an orchestra conductor whose luggage is missing.
Pacific Paradise merges the flavors of the Far East and the Pacific Islands into an extensive and far-reaching lunch and dinner menu. Placate palates with the spicy Thai eggplant ($6.95 for lunch, $8.50 for dinner), tenderly sliced Mongolian beef ($8.50 for lunch, $11.95 for dinner), vegetable tempura ($7.95 for lunch, $9.95 for dinner), or Pacific Paradise's signature seafood-rice pizza ($15.50), a smattering of the sea stir-fried with jasmine rice, egg, and pineapple, all baked and served with soup and a salad. The Malaysian sautéed scallops ($8.95 for lunch, $13.95 for dinner), finished off with mushrooms and coated in a curry coconut sauce, will have taste buds rising up and high-fiving each other in victory, while the Hawaiian golden crisp chicken ($8.50 for lunch, $10.95 for dinner) evokes nostalgic memories of the decade you spent whittling wooden teddy bears on a desert island. Spicy options also abound at Pacific Paradise, with heat-bringing dishes such as the marinated Tibetan lamb kabob ($12.95), the Mongolian beef roll with asparagus ($12.95), and the kung pao tofu ($10.50), which consists of crispy, deep-fried tofu in a spice-laden kung pao sauce. A full sushi menu is available, as is a monsoon’s worth of wine and beer options.