Spicy Town's culinary conductors orchestrate a variety of sophisticated and exotic ingredients, and compose an extensive menu of authentic, traditional Sichuan dishes. Dress up customizable hot pots, beginning with a broth base ($3) and adding edible accessories such as tender sliced beef ($5.95), quail egg ($3.50), napa cabbage ($2.95), and any of seven varieties of noodle necklaces, including egg, shrimp won ton, and friendship ($2.95–$3.50). Midday lunch specials silence grumbling bellies with pan-fried duck tossed in chili and ginger ($7.99) or eggplant in a sweet and spicy Sichuan sauce ($7.95), all served with steamed rice and soup. During dinner, taste buds can elect comestibles, such as brown beech mushrooms stir-fried with smoked pork ($12.95), into mouthy office to rewrite flavor policies and outlaw the presence of Legos.
Nestled inside Quickly's in Newark, King of Dumplings showcases sleek decor to parallel a host of authentic Chinese dishes. Blue and gold lights hang from the ceiling by cords almost as thin as the restaurant's hand-pulled chinese noodles. Starters encompass unique ingredients such as crispy lotus roots, as well as popcorn octopus, pork elbow, and 12 types of dumplings. Patrons can also enjoy a host of shrimp, beef, and pork dishes in the glow of the King's flat-screen TVs or order dim-sum pancakes and buns to be delivered to their home or kiddie pool.
At Chef's Experience China Bistro, patrons scan a formidable menu of Chinese fare in a dining room expansive enough to house a waterfall and a fig tree. Visitors converse between warmly lit walls of orange and mustard as they prime palates with starters such as chicken lettuce wraps, a trio of delicate fried pancakes enveloping smoked salmon and avocado. In the seafood chow mein, fried noodles do their best to mimic eddies swirling fish, shrimp, and scallops together with seasoned vegetables. A curried blend of hot Singapore-style noodles fresh off the wok cushions shrimp, chicken, vegetables, and egg, and the mango chicken situates simmered mango and vegetables beside morsels of poultry sautéed in mango sauce. Like a really lazy Susan, the restaurant's list of California wines rotates monthly, filling glasses with evolving selections of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and chardonnay.
The chefs at Mandarin Gourmet meld the flavors of fresh proteins, seasonal produce, and sauces prepared daily to forge an expansive menu of classic Chinese cuisine. Finely minced shrimp in lettuce cups ($15.95) can be strewn about as tasty confetti at dinner parties, and the mongolian beef massages taste buds with an onslaught of pleasantly spicy flavor ($12.95). Dueling flavors coalesce into one harmonious dish with the eggplant's hot garlic sauce ($9.95) and the sweet and sour pork ($10.95), sating appetites and drafting alliances between rival taste buds. A plate of six potstickers ($8.95) primes palates with meaty or meatless morsels and can be used to lure fire ants into a rival bobsleigh squad’s sled. Diners can ruminate amid Mandarin Gourmet's clean, modern décor, which incorporates radiant wall sconces and traditional Chinese accents into its dining room's upscale attire.
Chef Bill He hails from the ancient Chinese city of Chengdu, where pandas run wild in bamboo groves, peach trees blossom on lush plains, and the aroma of sizzling sichuan meats emanate from bustling eateries. At South Legend Sichuan Restaurant, Bill delves into his culinary heritage to blueprint a Michelin Guide–recommended menu of authentic, alluringly spicy Sichuan dishes. The skilled chef fires up meat, seafood, and vegetable entrees with complex spices and distinct textures, favoring generous amounts of chili peppers and sichuan peppercorns. In addition to favorites such as chicken, pork, and beef, Bill works with a variety of less familiar exotic meats, including rabbit, frog, and jellyfish.
In South Legend Sichuan Restaurant’s dining room, black-and-white photos of Chinese streets festoon the walls, and chopsticks can be seen jousting in bowls for the last noodle. Since many of the restaurant’s regular visitors are of Chinese backgrounds, diners will often hear entire conversations in the Chinese language, adding to the restaurant’s authentic dining experience.
Beef, fish, chicken bones, and more than 30 Chinese herbs collectively flavor the numerous variations of Xinjiang Mala spicy broth at Dragon Gate BBQ. These slow-cooked broths coat spicy shabu skewers, on which chefs layer kelp, tofu curd, and beef meatballs. Simmering meats also cling to the kitchen staff’s barbecue skewers, which include traditional ingredients, such as green beans, chicken gizzard, and pig skin. Batches of fried rice or noodles tossed with veggies round out the menu along with freshly squeezed juices or imported beer.