Though the chefs at Mandarin revere classically prepared Chinese dishes, they aren’t afraid to add a dash of inventive flair with internationally inspired twists. Hawaiian-style preparations of sweet-and-sour chicken join other Chinese comfort food, such as Chinese- or Singapore-style me fen, a mix of thin rice noodles with vegetables and meats such as pork and beef. Rice and noodle bowls from the Tour of Asia menu cull flavors from Osaka, Seoul, and Hong Kong, and traditional Chinese dishes such as chicken with snow peas and sesame beef round out the menu. Staffers pour martinis into curvy-stemmed glasses or help guests pair wines amid the dining room's mandarin-orange walls, bamboo placemats, and geisha statuettes.
Chefs at Happy Panda use crunchy vegetables, sweet pineapple, and lots of Asian herbs and spices (but never MSG) to create flavorful Szechuan and Hunan dishes. They fry egg rolls, wontons, and origami swans to a crisp in 100% vegetable oils and offer a number of vegetarian dishes in addition to the roast pork, chicken, beef, and seafood options. The restaurant runs a bustling dine-in and carry-out trade, particularly during the lunch rush, when diners can choose from 30 specials served with fried rice and an egg roll or soup.
The Tan brothers grew up in the restaurant industry, as their father was a renowned chef of China. At Rong Tan's, this trio of siblings brings its family traditions to the states with a menu honed overseas. Diners can savor sichuan-spiced lobster stewed with veggies or order the Empress chicken, lightly fried and served on a throne of pure gold. Rice and noodle dishes, house specialties—including the orange-flavored beef—and vegetable options round out a menu with dozens of entrees.
The carved bodies of fierce dragons, their eyes aglow with neon red lights, corkscrew about Magic Wok’s foyer as if awakened by the aromas of Sichuan, Hunan, Mandarin, and Cantonese dishes. In the dining room, lime-green walls come alive with red tapestries, accented by canary-hued Chinese pictograms. After polishing off a Thai-style fish fillet, guests retreat to the bar to sip plum wine, elixirs wrung from apples and pineapple, or champagne with all the bubbles picked out.
Regatta Seafood and Grille sates seafaring tongue buds with its lunch and dinner menus of oceanic offerings and its nautically themed charm. Take a relaxing seafood tour sans dimwitted skipper and buzz-killing professor with bites of jumbo fried oysters ($9.99) or succulent tridentfuls of grilled swordfish florentine with dollops of bacon-infused creamed spinach and mashed potatoes ($19.99). Pasta patrons can twirl up fiery forkfuls of seafood fra diablo, a linguine-based concoction mingled with shrimp, scallops, mussels, and calamari and glazed with a spicy red sauce ($18.99), and wee eaters can gulp down kid-appropriate orders of filet mignon (8.95) or fish ‘n’ chips (4.95).
Growing up in Louisiana, Tommy Walters spent a lot of time in the kitchen, learning the ins and outs of Cajun cuisine from his father, Chef Roland Walters. So it's no surprise that when he grew up, Tommy opened his own Cajun restaurant. He even passed down that love of cooking to his daughter, Emilee, who now runs Furlongs Crazy Bout Cajun alongside her father. The pair fry up cuts of catfish, toss shrimp in a buttery garlic sauce, and marinate crab legs in garlic sauce. They serve a lot of traditional Cajun cuisine, but they've also created their own unique takes on the region's dishes and ingredients. They stuff quail before serving it over a bowlful of spicy jambalaya, and they top new york strip steaks with roasted tomato relish, lump crab, and blue-cheese crumbles. To offset these spicy dishes, they also offer a range of mixed drinks, housemade root beer, and ladlefuls of imported bayou water.