Owner Kitty Huang draws on more than 30 years of restaurant experience to run Jin's Fine Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar, which opened in Wellesley this year. Zagat recommends sushi combos for lunch and cocktails and Hunan spicy salmon at night at this "family-run outpost" that "attracts families as well as nearby suits." While dodging the floating double-breasted jackets wandering the dining room, families can pick up crabstick nigiri or Red Sox maki, a spicy king crab roll with mango and tuna toppings.:m]]
After emigrating from Hong Kong to Cambridge in 1978, Hon Pui and Carol Chan began waiting and bussing tables at two local Chinese restaurants, hoping to save enough money to pay for Pui’s college education. Within five years, the couple—thanks to Pui’s unofficial apprenticeship with chef Joyce Chen—managed to open their very own Chinese restaurant, The Wok. Fast-forward more than three decades, and The Wok continues to thrive in Wellesley, sating tastes for Szechuan, Hunan, and Hong Kong cuisine. The Chans make everything to order, from the ginger chicken to the lobster moo shi, and never use MSG or trans fat. Even better, they seal in flavors and retain the crispness of fresh produce by tossing meals in a traditional (and extra-hot) wok. Though The Wok offers both a comfortable and casual dining room and bar, customers can arrange to pick up their food or have it delivered.
Local artists and spouses Denise Girardin and Steve Levinsky are the brains behind Palettes, a studio that aims to awaken the creative side of the community with painting's jubilant anthem. The couple's artistic endeavors stretch far beyond Palettes, though—Steve plumbs the depths of fire to find glass art, and Denise designs unique pottery inspired by the ocean and the seahorses that ride off into the sunset every evening. In addition, they are so involved in local affairs that Natick Center Associates selected them as the recipients of the 2012 Heart of the Community Award.
A row of easels dominates Palettes' roomy space during classes and open sessions, in which students re-create works of art while snacking on menu items such as asian-noodle salad and sweet-potato chips. Herb-, spice-, and fruit-infused potions flood the Water Bar, whose imported and house-made waters are perfect for making toasts to the art instructors for offering such helpfully Latin-free guidance. Palettes' people also teach students how to develop their taste buds during Waters of the World Club educational lectures, which lead to the studio's signature H2Ommelier certification.
Feng Shui embraces the culinary traditions of both China and Japan while updating its menu seasonally, garnering praise from the Boston Business Journal and New England Cable News for its extensive selection. Stir-fried orders of chicken, beef, and seafood arrive laden with ginger or signature sauces, and sushi chefs roll maki with traditional tuna and salmon or such innovative combinations as strawberry and wasabi aioli. Other menu items includes creamy crispy deep-fried jumbo shrimp with coconut sauce and spicy orders of Mala chicken, as well as signature sushi rolls like red sox maki and tempura lobster.
The dining room at Pantry Restaurant feels like a home kitchen; that is, if home kitchens typically had walls made of rolling pins and muffin tins. The decor takes quaint Americana and puts it through a spin cycle, ending up with silverware dangling like chandeliers. The same approach to Americana can be said of the cuisine. There's a traditional bacon cheeseburger, but also a bacon burger with a patty made of scallops. There's a 10 oz. aged striploin, but also grilled salmon with risotto verde and preserve lemon crema. If you can't decide what to order, maybe the dining room's TVs will provide serendipitous direction. They run episodes of cooking shows such as Julia Child's The French Chef, Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals, and Graham Kerr's The Galloping Gourmet, all of which might inspire a craving for a particular dish or a desire to remodel your kitchen into a TV set.
The methods are ancient, but the ingredients are fresh. That's the case at Ten-Ichi Dynamic Kitchen & Bar, whose culinary traditions of hot pot and sushi date back more than a thousand years, and whose dishes are composed of fresh vegetables, fish, and thinly sliced meats. During hot-pot meals, diners simmer noodles, boneless short ribs, and raw shrimp in a pot of hot broth, taking control of their meals the way escaped convicts take control of unlocked tricycles. Diners also share dim sum—small plates of open-faced dumplings, savory pancakes, and steamed-rice crepes. They feast on these meals in a dining room of sleek, marbled surfaces, right down to the sushi bar where chefs assemble maki rolls with spicy yellowtail and salmon tempura.