Culinary connoisseurs May and Eddie Chan whip up their pan-Asian and Hunan-styled eats in a chic eatery adorned with modern lines, exposed brick, and exotic floral arrangements. Midday grazers can settle into the sleek dining room for lunch before slapping on a hardhat and constructing their meal from two courses served with brown, white, or fried rice. Kick off gastronomical jaunts with a choice of appetizer, including fried cheese wontons, a crispy Buddha egg roll, and miso tofu soup. Then pair starters with comestible choices such as sesame-crusted chicken or chinatown roast duck. Hot-tempered tongues are cooled off with a vietnamese iced coffee before getting riled up once more with pearl jasmine tea.
During dinner, diners can warm up for a marathon meal with wonton-dumpling soup. Giant plates of honey-walnut shrimp and grilled teriyaki salmon placate more carnivorous appetites and can be sacrificed to the family of hungry bears prowling the restaurant. Kick off a mouth party with beef chow fun or inspire taste buds to hit the flavor dance floor with Asian BBQ baby-back ribs and steamed Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce.
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.
The likes of Harrison Ford, Chris Farley, and Troy Aikman have perched on Deep Sushi's seashell-shaped chairs, marveling at the extravagant rolls of sushi while sipping warm sake. Founded by a band of sushi devotees, the Japanese eatery folds ultrafresh fish into ornamental rolls described in a 1997 D Magazine review as both the "beautifully simple sea-fresh classics we've come to know and love" (think a crunchy california roll with cucumber) and "maverick inventions that smack of attitude." One such eccentric invention, the Pearl roll, surrounds its crawfish stuffing with cream cheese, avocado, and toppings of scallops and fried carrots. Decorative slices of jalapeño, swirls of sriracha, and bright circles of smelt egg have been known to top other sushi creations.
As the expert chefs lord over the sushi bar, teppanyaki masters bustle about the kitchen, sizzling up beef, chicken, and salmon on fiery teppan grills. Behind the bar, mixologists whip up drinks, favoring inventive drinks with names such as Geisha's Laugh and Tokyo Sunrise over old-fashioned cocktails with names such as Walter. In the dining room, guests savor final bites of plum-wine ice cream beneath the soft red light of lanterns hanging from the industrial ceiling. A vivid mural sweeps across the back wall, depicting fierce Japanese warriors and a graceful geisha and infusing a sense of tradition into the otherwise modern decor.
When Martha Millan says, "Beauty shouldn't hurt," she's not peddling a slogan—her first job in the beauty industry literally caused her pain. Working at an upscale salon, her exposure to common hair and makeup products triggered hives and headaches. While searching for more natural goods for personal use, her research revealed unsettling truths about many industry product lines that often use irritating perfumes to mask the underlying odors of harsh chemicals. Feeling that everyone should have the opportunity to look beautiful without fear of harming health, she bought a salon and transformed it into Salon O Day Spa.
Amid Salon O Day's industrial decor, Millan and her team of stylists, aestheticians, and a massage therapist use products so natural that some are even edible, though Millan imagines the taste would leave something to be desired: barbecue sauce. Among the array of certified-organic, not-tested-on-animals, gluten- and chemical-free products, Millan's favorites include Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare, developed by an American physician who advocates against overexfoliation. For hair, stylists use products from lines including Surface Hair and Organic Color Systems, and during nail services, technicians use natural products from SpaRitual in tandem with scrubs made in-house from ingredients bought at a local co-op.
An eclectic mix of ingredients, such as chipotle peppers, coconut shrimp, crawfish tail, and crunchy duck, gets stuffed inside the more than 40 signature rolls at Wild Sushi. Chefs swaddle shrimp tempura, cream cheese, and jalapeños inside the Red Rock roll and top the creation with spicy tuna, crabstick, and “exploding” sauces. “This roll was a behemoth, a massive construction standing at least 8 inches tall on the plate,” wrote Teresa Gubbins of DFW.com, who highlighted the roll in a review of the eatery. Towering rolls aren't the only surprises up the chefs’ sleeves. They also hide unexpected sweet touches inside their creations in the form of strawberries and honey walnuts. In addition, chefs stoke fires to heat up a variety of Japanese entrees, such as salmon steaks served with an apple-miso sauce or tilapia sautéed in a spicy coconut-curry sauce.
Guests settle into sleek wooden chairs at tables covered with squares of brown butcher paper to draw caricatures of sushi rolls playing tennis. Large teardrop lanterns fill the simple, modern dining room with light and illuminate a sushi bar backed with a wall of soothing waves.
As the emcees of The Garden's Independence Day weekend celebration, Steve Aoki and a bevy of supporting DJs light up the upscale restaurant with an explosive display of dance beats. From 6 p.m.–9 p.m. on Independence Eve, The Garden's chefs apply their culinary expertise to the grilling of complimentary hamburgers, hot dogs, and 8-track tapes. Later, music from artists such as Bulletproof Tigers and DJ Omar Garnica fills the restaurant, bouncing off the indoor trees and the outdoor patio's billowing cloth ceiling. DJ Steve Aoki takes the stage to finish the party, pumping out house music from his tour as well as his electronica remix of "God Bless America," recently voted by Congress to be the new national anthem.