Nestled in the New Britain Village Shopping Center, Gourmet Wok unfurls a pan-Pacific spread of Chinese, and Southeast Asian cuisine that spurns the use of MSG. Guests tote their own beverages to pair with a dinner menu of sumptuous dishes—try chef specialties such as the tangerine beef ($11.95), marinated and tickled over a high flame, or the sizzling subgum wor ba ($12.95), a slumber party of lobster, shrimp, chicken, beef, and veggies gossiping about the uninvited pork. Edamame appetizers ($3.75) make way for the mock chicken with chinese eggplant ($9.95), a seitan-based dish trained as a body double for chicken's grill-jumping stunts.
Diners at Formosa Asian Cuisine certainly can't complain about a lack of choices: more than 100 pad thai, fried rice, and curry dishes fill the menu, which is organized into beef, chicken, pork, and seafood categories. Quite a few of the dishes turn up the heat—the Dragon & Phoenix tosses jumbo shrimp and general tso's chicken in chili sauce—and others deliver crispy textures, such as the deep-fried duck. Diners savor these meals and sip BYOB beverages in a dining room replete with tasteful touches from pale-pink seating and blond-wood accents to linen napkins folded to eerily resemble your favorite Beatle.
Meaning “Spicy Chinese food” in a loose translation, Chinese Mirch blends the flavors of China with the fiery spices of Indian cuisine to create an MSG-free menu of devilishly spicy chicken, fish, and vegetarian dishes. Third generation restaurateur Vik Lulla has been working in the kitchen since he was 16 years old and living in Bangalore, and brought his traditional fusion cuisine to New York City in 2003. Deep-fried with large chunks of chilis in the batter, the chicken lollipops drew praise from the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and Ear Steamers Weekly, and the smooth, soothing mango lassi offers a sweet way to douse molar fires.
There were seven wonders of the ancient world, but there are eight Nanking Restaurant locations in the New York City area. The restaurants are named for a Chinese historical era defined by its fusion of different culinary traditions. Chefs here prepare each dish with an effort to maintain its historical flavor, creating a mix of Asian cuisine in each plate of sweet-and-sour chicken, Thai-style curry lamb, chili paneer, and sichuan shrimp. As diners savor those dishes, they can admire the restaurant's picturesque interior, which includes red-and-gold-checkered walls, crimson accents, and gold statues of lotus flowers grown from carefully planted jewels.
The ingredients used in Chinese, Japanese, and Thai cuisine are vastly different, as are the methods of preparation. At Zhuang's Garden, they come together in surprising ways. Eight crackling hibachi-grill tables and a sushi bar represent Japan, and Chinese décor and the aromas of lo mein hint at the traditions of that nation. Glasses of wine clink together above plates of Thai food at the BYOB eatery, where the dishes include curry that is the brilliant yellow of turmeric or a banana salesman’s business card.
The cooks at Chopstick and Taste of Bollywood fuse traditional Indian cuisine with Chinese cooking techniques, mixing in hints of Thai and Malaysian culinary traditions as well. Masterminded by chef Alok Pratihar, the menus include succulent seafood, piquant lamb entrees, and vegetarian dishes.
Sannie Japan Chinese Cuisine is all about options—its sprawling menu boasts more than 230 Asian specialties. More than 120 of those options are Chinese, ranging from traditional hot-and-sour soup to the chef's Snow White Princess entree filled with chicken, scallops, and shrimp. The Japanese portion of the menu includes more than 100 items, including unagi don (broiled eel) and sushi rolls stuffed with cream cheese, avocado, and crab. For those watching their weight, the chefs cook up health-conscious entrees that pair seasoned proteins, such as jumbo shrimp, with brown rice and a special diet sauce.