Thai 2 Go’s chefs draw on traditional and modern influences to concoct their own recipes for noodle dishes, curries, and sizzling stir-fries. Aromatic basil leaves, spicy chilis, and coconut milk season dishes such as pad thai and panang curry. No matter what you order, expect leftovers—even sturdy chopsticks begin to resemble toothpicks when considered beside the huge, family-size portions.
Housed in a freestanding one-story building just east of Chestnut Hill’s main shopping district, Hokka Hokka prides itself on serving Japanese cuisine and sushi in mindfully artistic presentations. Sushi, sashimi and rolls come a la carte or in chef’s choice combination platters, with creative special roll combinations that include the Tornado (eel, cream cheese and cucumber topped with spicy tuna and tempura crunch) and a neighborhood-specific Chestnut Hill roll, featuring tuna, tempura crunch and a few slices of avocado. Complement the dishes with sake or a cocktail, like the Hokka Mai Tai, and you’ll be off to a good start at this casual Asian eatery. The interior matches the food in loveliness, with the sleekness of the sizeable sushi bar contrasting the rustic stone fireplace perfectly.
Shangri-La Inn's chefs execute dexterous cooking maneuvers as they slice, sauté, and sear savory hibachi fare on a tabletop griddle right in front of diners' eyes. The eatery's extensive menu teems with myriad hibachi options from chicken and scallops ($18.95) to new york strip steak and shrimp ($18.95), all served with salad, vegetables, and fried rice. Other dishes include lobster tail ($24.95) and chilean sea bass with shrimp ($26.95), sizzled and then fired from a slingshot into awaiting mouths.
Noodles steal the spotlight on the menu at SangKee Noodle House, where chefs churn out popular noodle-based entrees from China, Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand. Diners can customize their own soups by selecting from various meats and six types of noodles, or they can choose from a number of tried-and-true dishes, such as lo mein, chow fun, or pad thai. Chefs also whip up peking duck, dim-sum-style dumplings, and smoothies blended from fruit, tapioca, and condensed milk, which comes from cows that have only read the CliffsNotes recipe for regular milk.
Growing up, Marcie Spampinato watched her father, Mike, masterfully manage a local country club. By seventh grade, she was working alongside him, and today—with a restaurant management degree from Penn State under her belt—she joins with Mike to co-manage their steak-and-sushi joint, Spamps.
Chefs trained in Japan artfully stuff the eatery's sushi rolls with fresh ingredients such as black-pepper-crusted tuna and flying fish roe. Fusion flourishes such as kimchi tartar sauce, miso beurre blanc, and sake reductions give entrees such as rib-eye steak an Asian flair.
And much like a chocoholic's dream journal, the eatery's new cocktails revolve around sweet flavors, especially Marcie's favorite, the pumpkin-pie martini. Libations, which also include wine and beer, flow freely behind a copper bar with TVs or fill glasses in a dining room with exposed brick walls and private booths. At an outdoor patio dubbed The Grotto, lofted TVs illuminate trellises and tabletops as well as bar-goers shimmying to a live DJ's beats on Friday and Saturday nights.
Green and purple lights creep up stone walls toward high ceilings inside Crazy Sushi, a pan-Asian eatery with a focus on artfully prepared sushi and sashimi. Chefs fashion fresh fish into 63 specialty rolls—among them the One Night Stand, a rice-free medley of salmon and tuna wrapped with spicy crab. Diners can also devour dozens of creative appetizers, bowls of udon or soba noodles, and neatly portioned bento boxes.