Straight from the blazing hot steel pans, the pan-Asian cuisine at WokShop is always super fresh, whether it's tender, saucy short ribs or bowls of stir-fried pad thai. Served in a casual environment, the counter service spot turns food out in the expeditious manner of a fast-food joint, but takes care with each dish, adding rich, flavorful sauces and fresh veggies to every order.
Cabezon dishes out a constantly metamorphosing menu of locally and regionally procured fish fares that vary based on season, availability, and the position of Orion as viewed through an astrolabe. The most recent menu leapt from the starting block with chive blinis with trout caviar and crème fraiche ($4) and Hood Canal oysters with champagne mignonette ($2). Heartier bites include the basil-wrapped gulf shrimp (apricot-almond chutney and tangerines, $11), wild king salmon (beets, salsa verde, fennel, and frisee, $20), and Mediterranean mussels ($12). Desserts such as Callebaut Belgian chocolate pot de crème ($7) and lavender and honey crème brûlée ($6) are just a few of the treats that have recently humbled sweet teeth. A list of West Coast and European wines accentuates the fresh bites the same way a top hat really brings out a magician's eyes.
Pillars decorated with ornate Chinese dragons hold up a pagoda-style canopy and invite visitors to the Ambassador, where classic Chinese recipes and cocktails fuel nights of karaoke tunes. The lounge presents itself as a stylish karaoke haven, outfitted in jewel-toned neon that casts colorful light throughout the shadowy interior. Each song from its exhaustive library is programmed to coincide with lighting effects that amplify performances and distract belligerent cats. Singers belt out their chosen tune through the high-quality sound system on a long stage surrounded by panels of tiny star lights.
A bevy of Chinese dishes served in the adjoining restaurant helps singers recharge when offstage. Egg foo young and popular pork, chicken, beef, and seafood dishes populate the menu alongside the kitchen’s specialties. Mongolian steak is cooked in a spicy brown sauce, and the yuzi shrimp pairs large shrimp in chili-ginger sauce with baby shrimp stir-fried in black-bean sauce.
If you’re at Shandong, skip the Americanized dishes and take a culinary trip to the Shandong Province. The spotlight is on Northern Chinese cuisine, so take advantage of the opportunity to try dishes like cherry pork, with deep-fried pork tossed in garlic and ginger-infused cherry sauce. Forget kung pao and go for the clay-pot curry chicken or robust soup dumplings packed with pork, cabbage, and beef broth. If you order the hand-pulled noodles, servers will toss them tableside.