It's in a posh shopping center in the suburbs, but don't let the location fool you—Bernard’s Restaurant could give any spot in Chinatown a run for its money. The Improper Bostonian once called this Chestnut Hill hot spot—known for drawing lively crowds nightly—the best Chinese American restaurant in metro Boston.
Visitors to Tom Can Cook quickly confirm that Tom, whoever he is, isn’t just feigning confidence. He's a master of Asian cuisines, fusing Thai, Korean, Szechuan, and Vietnamese influences for a menu with dozens of different sauces and proteins. Spicy kimchi fried rice hosts morsels of chicken or beef, and the similarly Korean okdol bibimbap mixes meat with veggies and an egg in a stone pot or sturdy top hat. Cooks sauté roasted duck in curry sauce before adding in snow peas, pineapple, and basil sauce to make it siam duck choo chee, and boneless pork loin enjoys a dressing of spicy basil sauce and bamboo shoots in the wild boar basil dish.
Inside the dining room, patrons nourish their bellies at white tablecloths while casting glances at Asian screens, decorative floral gewgaws, and oblong hanging lamps stationed throughout.
Mandarin Cuisine's expansive menu is filled with classically made Chinese dishes. Break in your chopsticks with an order of crunchy crab rangoon ($4.95) or Peking ravioli ($5.50). Flavorful Far East imports include crispy orange chicken ($11.50) and Mongolian-style beef with scallions and onions ($12.75). Like Penn & Teller, the honey-glazed chicken with chili garlic ($12.75) is an irresistible combination of sweet and spicy. For a meal worth untangling, try the house specialty rice noodles with chicken, pork, shrimp, and veggies ($9.25). Mandarin Cuisine also offers a range of low-calorie dishes ($9.25–$13.50).
For more than 15 years, Dragon Star has lit up the Chinese food scene in Brookline. The staff has built an extensive menu with more than 160 selections, including chop suey, eggplant with oyster sauce, beef in black-bean sauce, and a quintet of egg foo youngs. But starring among their many traditional dishes are Dragon Star’s specialties. Slices of duck served Mandarin-style are sautéed with pea pods, water chesnuts, and bamboo, and the flavors in the Happy Family dish—jumbo shrimp, chicken, scallops, beef, and pork—work together so harmoniously they often burst into renditions of “The Brady Bunch.” Regardless of the lunch or dinner entrée chosen, guests can rest assured that the staff has prepared it as healthily as possible: they use fresh and natural ingredients and constantly seek out new cooking methods to get the most from their nutritional content.
Imperial Kitchen's chefs have prepared authentic Chinese cuisine for more than 35 years, searing seasoned chicken, roast pork, seafood, and assorted garden pluckings in vegetable oil. Classic dishes such as cashew chicken and satay beef arrive fresh and made to order so that diners can customize the heat level of each dish, turning the dial from mild to extra spicy to hotter than a pile of burning fireman calendars. Combo dinners bolster favorite entrees with pork-fried rice, whereas chef's specialties add inventive flair with lotus flour and flavorful ginger sauce, spicy orange sauce, or the chef's signature sauce.:
At House of Chang, you can just as easily find a happy family sitting at one of the restaurant’s cozy tables as you can find one on a plate. The Happy Family, of course, is one of House of Chang’s specialty dishes, a reunion of shrimp, beef, chicken, pork, and broccoli in brown sauce. It shares menu space with other house dishes, including plum duck and sesame chicken. The rest of the menu has everything from lo mein and chop suey to moo shi, which wraps mushrooms, scallions, eggs, and meat in a pancake, much like the severance package that an omelet gets after it leaves its kitchen job. A review of House of Chang in The Boston Phoenix lauded the eatery simply for its “swell food at moderate prices.”