Panda South Chinese Restaurant mingles the complex profiles of Szechuan and Mandarin cultures into an array of Chinese comfort cuisine. For ease of perusal, the menu is also divided into general categories such as vegetables, chicken, pork, seafood, and historical autobiography.
In the natural glow of large picture windows, Chinese and Thai rice and noodle dishes clatter on Chong's Cuisine tables. Curlicues of steam rise from shrimp, vegetables, and chicken, generously slathered in ginger and zesty szechuan sauce. Guests can quickly judge spiciness by spotting a tiny printed pepper beside hot menu items and an invisible picture of Harry Houdini beside mild ones..
Sabaidee Restaurant's robust menu brims with fresh fish, poultry, and beef, all specifically spiced to form authentic Thai and Lao meals. Rice noodles lay the foundation for classic pad thai, piled high with meat, peanuts, scrambled eggs, and enough bean sprouts to disguise the patch of dead grass over where the family's piggy bank is buried. Patrons can warm up with bowls of pho, whose broth churns with sliced rare beef, tripe, and rice noodles, or cool down with chilled calamari salad.
Sabaidee’s spacious dining room, filled with white-clothed tables and roomy booths, allows guests to stretch their third legs and gaze lovingly at dishes illuminated by the chandeliers hanging overhead.
With grills set right into the tables, Torii Japanese Restaurant's cooks prepare meals mere feet away from their diners. And knowing they have an audience, they put on a show, slicing steak at warp speed and tossing scallops into the air. A splash of oil and the grilltop is aflame, cooking chicken and lobster tails as the cooks flip knives and spatulas. Over at the sushi bar, chefs create 14 maki rolls and prepare more than 20 types of nigiri, cutting them into bite-sized pieces. And at the bar, entertainment abounds via nightly karaoke fueled by Japanese beers, cocktails, and sake.
It has been more than 40 years since the Medina family immigrated to Modesto, although the recipes that they use at Bel Piatto Cucina Italiana remain just as strongly rooted in Italian tradition. The lunch and dinner menus are filled with elegant pasta, seafood, veal, and steak dishes, as well as more casual calzones, which get stuffed with ingredients such as meatballs and spinach before being baked in the oven until their SPF wears off.
Wines ranging from real Italian reds to homegrown California chardonnays pair nicely with the entire spectrum of entrees, from the hearty bistecca di manzo—with wild mushrooms and a cabernet reduction accentuating a 12-ounce rib-eye steak—to the grilled salmon fresca highlighted by white wine, lemon, capers, and cream. Appetizers such as stuffed portobello mushrooms help to launch feasts.
Bel Piatto Cucina Italiana’s atmosphere is just as Italian as its food, surrounding diners with crisp white tablecloths, darkened wood, clerestory windows, and a wall-mounted wine rack.
Cooks inside the kitchen of George’s Steakhouse Bar & Grill cover plates with tender new york steaks, glazed baby back ribs, and slow-roasted prime rib. In addition to dinner entrees, they char grill burgers and top them with crisp bacon and onions sautéed in bourbon chipotle sauce and build fish sandwiches with beer-battered cod filets for lunch. Servers deliver glasses of wine, beer, and neat pours of milk from the full bar to sip between bites.