The executive chef at Imperia emblazons an Asian menu full of fresh seafood and ingredients with a personal flair that has amassed seven Austin Chronicle reader accolades. Inside the stylish urban restaurant, pendant lights illuminate a marble bar winding past Asian decor, and cool slabs of bluefin sashimi stretch out on platters in the arms of attentive servers. Candles flicker across tables, as guests enjoy three-course omakase meals creatively orchestrated and handcrafted by the chef and catapulted directly into awaiting mouths.
The agile hands at Dragon Gate by Phoenix forge an array of pan-Asian classics, including ranks of meticulously rolled maki. Edamame project their delicate soy aromas, and diners tuck into such sushi rolls as the Maguro Dynasty roll, which cloaks a shrimp-tempura core in fresh tuna and caviar. Unagi, cucumber, and fresh salmon combine their palate-pleasing forces in the Tiffany roll, and the Volcano roll rolls onto taste buds with a flavorful magma of spicy baked crab, avocado, and cucumber. Chefs eschew convention like a finger-painting Leonardo da Vinci by baking california rolls and sheathing them in salmon to form the Lion King roll. Dark wooden furnishings reflect the dining room's intimate lighting, and Asian artwork adorns the walls near a teppanyaki and sushi bar for patrons eager to test Dragon Gate's culinary masterminds with knock-knock jokes.
Masala Wok's menu features new Asian, Indian, and Indian-inspired Chinese flavors. Accompany your stomach's journey down the Spice Road with an appetizer of chicken lollipops––wings with a twist ($3.99 for four, $7.49 for eight)––before choosing your favorite flavor corner of the East with a main course. Try a subcontinental delicacy such as the spicy southern curry (fish, shrimp, chicken, lamb, or paneer in a mustard-coconut curry with red peppers and curry leaves, $8.49), or head for steamy southeast Asian environs with the spicy basil plate ($7.99 for chicken, $8.25 paneer, $9 shrimp or fish). Lock lips with the orange chicken, stir fried with scallions and carrots in orange sauce ($7.99 for chicken, $8.25 paneer, $9 shrimp or fish), or skewer your stomach's overwhelming sense of emptiness with a chicken malai kabob—yogurt-marinated boneless chicken kabobs grilled with cheese, spices, and cilantro and served with rice and naan ($8.49).
China Garden was founded with a passion for sharing home cooking with the community, and to that end they present an all-encompassing scope of Chinese, Thai, Korean, and Hunan cuisines. With that wide spectrum of dishes on hand, the menu bulges with an expansive selection, tempting guests with simple, elegant choices such as pork lo mein, egg drop soup, and general tso's chicken. The chefs prepare each dish made-fresh-to-order, unlike the cooks at fast-food restaurants. For convenience, China Garden offers both lunch and dinner for sit-down dining, carryout and specialize in delivering while providing easy ordering through its website.
A reception desk lined in shimmery green tiles welcomes diners to the earth-toned dining room of MJ China Bistro, where ambitious stalks of bamboo stretch upwards around the perimeter of the seating area. Reflecting the contemporary decor of the room, the kitchen crafts a menu of traditional Chinese-American cuisine with a modern spin. Diners can wrap spoonfuls of mu shu pork in pancakes made by hand. Tea and sugar coat the browning skin of duck as it slowly smokes, its five-spice marinade growing more complex in flavor. The Chin Yuan pork chop, a classic Taiwanese street food, soaks in a secret blend of spices before being fried until just crispy on the outside but still tender on the inside, just like the best customer-service operators.
The restaurant also houses a sushi bar, where chefs whip up the TNT Roll, a combination of crawfish, tuna, and salmon drizzled in a chipotle mayo spicier than that time Charo put wasabi and Sriracha sauce in her tea.
Chinese-American fusion stars on the menus served at Taipei Restaurants, located in both Stone Oak and Castle Hills. Both locations specialize in wok-seared moo shu pork served with housemade pancakes, salt-and-pepper shrimp, and triple delight—a tasty trifecta of chicken, beef, and shrimp in a spicy housemade sauce. Sizzling firecracker chicken sets tongues aflame with jalapenos at the Castle Hills dining room, and in Stone Oak, knives glide through tender osso bucco, a bone-in pork shank poached in a traditional sauce of rice wine and soy. At the Stone Oak location, sushi chefs carefully craft maki rolls or assemble plates of precisely sliced sashimi and nigiri from fresh seafood fished by the staff's resident mermaid. The Castle Hills location cultivates serenity with muted tan walls, rows of tall windows, and mounted Chinese paintings that depict subjects from a horse to a parade.