Large wooden doors—not unlike those used to secure Medieval-era tree houses—grant entry to a multilevel, pagoda-style building designed to resemble a Chinese temple. Within its walls, classic furnishings reflect Chinese traditions, including decor that celebrates the Chinese New Year and elegant curtains that drape among the small, softly lit dining areas. This is Wan Fu Quality Chinese Cuisine, where cooks curate more than 100 dishes—most of which are made in-house from scratch. A mixture of traditional, contemporary, and health-minded creations populate the menu, such as the restaurant's signature pineapple chicken.
Capital Buffet draws on spices, cooking methods, and ingredients from diverse regions of the south to assemble a smorgasbord of classic American cooking. It fills trays with dishes such as New Orleans–style jambalaya and southern barbecue chicken. The cooks at Capital Buffet can also cater their hearty dishes for lunches, meetings, and intimate competitive-eating contests.
Behind the sushi bar, the chefs roll vibrant slices of spicy tuna, salmon, and crabmeat between rice and seaweed and deep fry california rolls to add a crispy outer layer to each bite. In addition to crafting fresh sushi rolls, the chefs dazzle onlookers as they toss and sizzle chicken, steak, and salmon entrees on hibachi grills.
The Carriage House Restaurant offers a page- and head-turning menu of hearty entrees. Lead with The Carriage House's signature relish tray ($2.99–$4.99), which is a smorgasbord of pepperoncini peppers, celery, black olives, pickles, and bread. For dinner, the flank-steak beef strips ($11.49–$12.99) come delectably marinated in a piquant blend of oils and spices, and the chopped sirloin steak ($9.99–$10.99) is freshly ground and served next to a sizable mountain of onion rings. Those yearning to remember their tenure as mascot for the Detroit Claw Hands can bite into the Maryland crab cake ($10.99), featuring tender snow crabmeat lightly coated in breadcrumbs and served with homemade cream sauce. Peruse Carriage House's wine and beer menu and flush down scraps with a glass of the light-bodied Bogle Sauvignon Blanc ($6) or the Asheville-brewed Highland St. Terese's Pale Ale ($3.50).
Sunlight pours through Tony's Oyster Bar & Restaurant's towering windows as waiters carry plates of Cajun and creole-inspired seafood to tables. Ocean specialties from the raw bar include pecks of oysters, pounds of shrimp, and clusters of Alaskan snow crab, accompanied by kitchen-prepared entrees such as barbecue baby back ribs and buttery lobster tails. Guests can perch upon stools at steel tabletops in the casual bar area or venture onto the hardwood floors and white-clothed tables of the main dining room, as they sip wine and cocktails from a full bar. Live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights offers diners a welcome reprieve from evenings of listening to an apartment’s rattling pipes desperately try to keep rhythm.
The chefs at HuHot Mongolian Grill stand around a giant, round grill, preparing sizzling heaps of stir-fry. Unlike at other restaurants, every serving is different because, instead of the kitchen staff, the customer preps each bowl. The bowls may be brimming with chopped vegetables, seafood, and noodles, or they may be composed entirely of water chestnuts. The spice level of each dish varies based on the eater's preferences; MSG-free sauces range from barbecue to sweet teriyaki to five-alarm Kung Pao … Yow! Since HuHot Mongolian Grill is an all-you-can-eat affair, diners get the chance to mix and match different ingredients with each trip to the grill.