Inside a restaurant whose vibrant purple awnings help diners spot it from afar, cooks concoct 75 different dishes derived from the "roof of the world." Artwork-laden walls surround the tables and cushioned chairs in the dining area, where patrons enjoy home-cooked items ranging from Tibetan-style dumplings made with lean chopped beef to batter-fried sesame chicken. The restaurant's separate bar area provides patrons with a place where they can grab a drink, watch TV, and practice thumb-wrestling moves with others.
Rainbow Chinese Restaurant collides a multifarious menu of seasonal local produce-packed East Asian mainstays with an eclectic wine list. Chopsticks, forks, or miniature stilts skillfully transport starters including cream-cheese wontons ($6 for 10) and Rainbow egg rolls ($4 for two) from aesthetic plates to salivating orifices. After warming up palates, mouths can chaperone flavor fiestas featuring classic Chinese creations such as kung pao chicken ($12) or mongolian beef, served with descendants of Genghis Khan's pet scallions ($13). Accompanying a selection of gluten-free options are vegetarian delights including curry mock duck with broccoli ($12) and curry tofu vegetable fried rice, prepared without eggs ($8). Those in search of liquid respite or looking to topple a great wall of Chinese food lodged in an esophagus can guzzle tap beers ($3), Yaegaki California Ki-ippon hot sake ($5), or selections from the restaurant’s carefully chosen wine list.
Luckily for the patrons of Las Sirenas, the restaurant is so authentic that staffers are happy to blend the creative ingredients to make a michelada. And the michelada is just one example of authentic Mexican coastal culture and cuisine at Las Sirenas, which translates to “the mermaids.” The concept and theme behind the restaurant stems from the Mesoamerican myth of sea-bound nymphs, and diners can see that influence in the restaurant’s watery lighting effects and mural of a mermaid lounging on the ocean floor. A glowing bar dispenses drinks and offers 12 Micheladas, or Mexican beer cocktails—some served in coconuts and pineapples, just like Caribbean divorce papers—that are playfully assigned names such as Mermaids in Heat and Tails Up.
To soak up the spicy drinks, a menu of Mexican seafood offers an ocean of options, such as ceviches and aguachiles, as well as an variety of shrimp dishes such as Sirenas en Brama and shrimp in a chipotle-cream sauce. From shrimp wrapped in bacon to oysters on the half-shell topped with ceviche and a raw-bar smorgasbord with shrimp and fish ceviche, aguachile, and octopus ceviche, each dish bears the indelible stamp of south-of-the-border inspiration. So, too, does the eatery’s entertainment, which includes karaoke, weekend live mariachi and Mexican music, and dancing when the space transforms into a Latin nightclub after-hours.