A third-generation Chinese restaurateur, Dragon Star owner Francisco Cho takes taste buds on a journey through Cantonese- and Szechuan-style cuisine, which his chefs make entirely from scratch and to order. Under the soft flicker of paper lanterns, amid four flat-screen TVs, guests lounge atop plush seats and nibble favorites such as kung pao chicken, sweet 'n' sour tofu, sesame beef, and barbecue spare ribs while imbibing BYOB drinks. Most of Dragon Star's cuisine is also available for takeout, provided customers have secured reservations at their dining room table.
With locations in six states, 16 Handles is carving out a delicious space for itself in the self-serve frozen-yogurt world. In addition to rewarding customers’ cravings with a rotating daily selection of 16 flavors—each packed with protein, probiotics, and calcium—the healthy-dessert emporium sets itself apart from its competitors through its eco-friendly practices. 16 Handles not only arms its patrons with biodegradable cups and spoons crafted from cornstarch, but it also works with Trees for the Future, an organization that assists global communities in growing trees for agriculture, food, and animal habitat. Through their partnership, 16 Handles has planted 91,284 trees so far, one-quarter of which grow frozen yogurt instead of leaves.
Lauded by the Sun Sentinel for its “expert sushi with eye candy presentations” and its “nice medley of cuisines,” Red Ginger Asian Bistro presents several star Asian cuisines. Chinese classics such as egg drop soup, moo goo gai pan, and moo shu pork mingle on a menu with Thai fare including red-curry shrimp and thai beef salad. The staff also prepares Japanese-inspired food, curating selections from the sushi bar such as unagi sashimi, shrimp-tempura rolls, and Sexy tuna rolls packed with white tuna, cucumber, asparagus, and the power to make people stare at them with mouths agape. Even drinks from the bar run the geographic gamut, from hot and cold sake to lychee martinis and Asian, European, and North American beers.
The menu at Seaweed Asian Cuisine flits across the globe like a migratory bird, landing in Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines to scoop up each region's culinary treats. Fresh fish make an appearance in sushi rolls and the spicy-tuna nachos, which are served on crisp wontons and flavored with baby octopus. Seafood also takes center stage in the Filipino-style whole snapper and Thai-inspired spicy volcano shrimp. Seaweed's chefs also concoct original creations, melding together aspects of various Asian cuisines with dishes such as roast pork with veggies and honey garlic chicken. Their culinary prowess won them the 2013 Reader's Choice Award from Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.
Some chefs wake up to a steaming pot of coffee, but Glenn Cockburn’s morning fix is Maine lobster, which arrives at his fish house by 10:30 a.m. each day. Informed by his training at the Culinary Institute of America and more than 35 years in the restaurant business, Glenn steams the elegant crustacean whole to release its natural flavors. He unleashes his talents on other seaborne species as well, blackening yellowfin, grouper, and rainbow trout to form dinners as healthy as a jog through a field of wheatgrass. Non-seafood specialties, such as aged new york strip steak, pair nicely with staples from the wine list, including Don Gascon malbec and Ferrari Carano chardonnay. Guests flock to the outdoor patio on sunny days, where they can enjoy lunches of mahi-mahi tacos and desserts such as key-lime pie with raspberry coulis. Lined with ocean-blue accents and reef-themed tile mosaics, the interior summons daydreams about scuba-diving trips and sojourns at Poseidon’s lake house.
"It took them five years before they would let me handle the fish," says sushi chef Jo Clark about his extensive training. He began his culinary journey at 13 years old and spent a decade in an apprenticeship at the Japanese restaurant Yama. There, he honed an ability to prep rice and sauces, wield a knife, and select sushi-grade fish while shadowing chefs from different regions of Japan. In his spare time, Jo enjoys paddle-surfing and once skillfully maneuvered alongside a lively school of sharks.
At the restaurant, however, he deftly manages cuts of salmon, flounder, hamachi yellowtail, and shellfish to craft more than 40 inventive sushi rolls. He toys with the traditions of sushi, wrapping some rolls with thin slices of European cucumber and creating a sashimi pizza on a tortilla crust. The aromas of ginger, eggplant, and garlic wander from pots of Thai-style dishes in the kitchen and out into dining rooms. Though each location has distinct decor, diners mingle among elements such as exposed-brick bars, hardwood floors, and hanging Japanese paper lanterns in the exciting bright colors of a furious traffic cop viewed through a kaleidoscope.