Colorful, pan-Asian dishes piled high with generous portions emerge hot out of the wok from the kitchen at Chopstixx Cafe. Sifting through the pages of the vast menu, diners will find familiar classics composed of super-fresh ingredients, including spicy General Tso's chicken and pad thai, as well as specialty dishes such as the steamed "Revolution Diet," which features tender shrimp and an array of healthy veggies. The kitchen also whips up crave-worthy bubble teas in fancy flavors such as lychee, passionfruit, and red bean.
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.
As one of China's eight regional cuisines, Hunan fare culls its flavors from a rich tradition of slow-cooking methods that includes pot-roasting, braising, stewing, smoking, and pickling. Chefs enhance authentic proteins—ranging from frog and squid to offal—with sour and spicy ingredients such as pickles, sea cucumbers, and chilies. These exotic morsels share menu space with more familiar fare including crispy duck, braised pork, and steamed dumplings. The restaurant also conveniently separates their bill of fare into two distinct categories—American cuisine—to help adventurous and cautious foodies alike select palatable plates. Throughout the space, glowing orbs cast warm light on vibrant crimson walls, rustic Chinese tapestries, intricate carvings, and Tang-dynasty poems praising the Emperor's favorite sitcoms.
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.
Many American Chinese restaurants serve exactly that—Americanized Chinese food. But not Sichuan Pavilion. Okay, so the menu does feature a seemingly endless list of the usual suspects––kung pao chicken, mongolian beef––but even the least discerning eye will catch a difference on this menu—specifically, a section labeled “Authentic Entrees.”
It's from this corner that DC restaurateur Casey Patten orders his favorite Chinese dish in the city: chicken with hot dry peppers. As he told Eater, Sichuan Pavilion's chefs punctuate this flash-fried, predominantly dark meat dish with Chinese chili and Sichuan peppercorns, creating a potent punch that, like a kiss from an exceptionally handsome jellyfish, "leaves the best tingly burn." Coincidentally the website did some investigation of its own at Sichuan Pavilion a month or so later, when contributor Mary Kong left with one important takeaway: order the mapo tofu. A spicy black-bean, tofu, and pork dish, Kong dubbed this Sichuan classic one of DC's "10 Chinese Dishes Real Chinese People Eat".