While it takes prodigious skill to man the 600-degree, 7-foot grill that is the center of bd?s Mongolian Grill?s dining room, the chefs running it don?t have any secret recipes. Instead, customers fashion their own customizable bowls of stir-fry according to their taste preferences, dietary restrictions, and desired portion size. Guests wander, nearly overwhelmed as they choose from an array of meats and veggies and ladle sweet, spicy, and herb-filled sauces into a cup. Chefs saut? the meal in front of their eyes, swords flicking skillfully across the grill to entertain and build anticipation like a mime about to jump buses on an invisible motorcycle. The resulting stir-fry dishes are accompanied by brown rice, white rice, tortillas or lettuce wraps.
The fusion of robust Malaysian spices and smooth coconut milk erupts with each bite of beef rendang. Sweet and spicy notes infuse the syrupy glaze coating each morsel of general tso’s chicken. A conical seaweed wrap imbues its saltiness in slices of spicy conch. Within the red and yellow walls of Hin Lee Malaysian Chinese Restaurant, the talented chef forges a synthesis of flavors from Malaysian and Chinese traditions. On the weekends, a rice artisan rolls cuts of fresh grouper, salmon, and spicy scallop into seaweed-encased slices at a small sushi bar, where diners can sidle up to watch the master work and shout names of current events to inspire the wasabi's improve-comedy routines.
Lee House executive chefs Michael Lee and Thanh Uong inter-weave Chinese and Vietnamese cooking techniques, decades-old family recipes, and years of restaurant experience to craft a menu of dim sum and authentic Chinese fare. A team of culinary air-traffic controllers guides the peking duck’s half-bird in for a landing on plate runways next to a stack of steaming pancakes ($16.00). Savory spare ribs simmer in a clay pot alongside a tart tuft of bitter melon ($8.50), and the specialty beef-chow-fun coils house-made wide rice noodles alongside seasonal vegetables ($8.95). A separate dim-sum menu stocks bellies with classics such as pork dumplings, spring rolls, and black-tie spring rolls in noodle cummerbunds, as well as introducing appetites to exotic meats such as steamed chicken feet ($2.95–$10.95/dim-sum dish).
Restaurants are in Chef Victor Wang's blood—he comes from a family with multiple generations in the industry. Rather than rest on that heritage, he toured Asia and the Americas for more than 20 years, seeking recipes and lessons from numerous chefs specializing in a variety of cuisines.
These days, the critically acclaimed chef injects American flavors into classic Asian cuisine from countries such as China, Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia. His menu may include Prince Edward Island mussels doused with holly, basil, and ginger; lemongrass-infused chicken soaked in a coconut curry cooked for hours; and seared sirloin marinated in sesame, soy, and garlic. Chef Victor can often be found in the dining room, explaining the complexity of his dishes and why it's too hard to teach broccoli to roll over.
Currents sweeps taste buds out to sea on a wave of tasty seafood and carefully crafted gourmet fare. Diners can search the menu to locate flavorful starters such as a plate of prosciutto-wrapped shrimp ($9.80), brie with pesto and almonds ($9.30), or the snails leslie served in brandy with toast points ($7.90). A bowl of lobster-and-crab bisque ($6) could inspire your mouth to throw itself hungrily at New York strip steak ($22.50) or meatloaf in hoisin barbecue sauce ($10.90), although it might prefer to stick with water-related edibles such as the seared salmon ($17.50). Currents boasts an array of red, white, and sparkling wines for cuisine coupling, and also treats diners to a full bar featuring fine brews, dessert drinks, cocktails, and specialty martinis such as the double bubble tini ($8), a mix of Three-O Bubble vodka and pink lemonade.
The Lucky Dill piles tables high and fills stomachs with mountainous signature sandwiches and an assortment of desserts prepared in its bakery. The menu proffers leaning towers of spiced and cured, hot, navel pastrami on a choice of bread including New York rye and sesame rolls ($9.29). The reuben stacks grilled rye bread with corned beef, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese ($9.99). Instead of a powdered wig and a dainty crown, the Queens burger sports a half-pound patty of freshly chopped sirloin topped with onion, mushrooms, and swiss cheese ($8.79). The on-site Brooklyn Bakery crafts an array of meal codas, including the big apple dumpling, which contains an entire apple baked within the loving embrace of pastry and topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream ($5.49).