Happy Bowl Asian Restaurant's spice-slinging chefs match a menu of classic Thai dishes with a casual BYOB policy. Amid seven curry selections swims the sweetly spiced salmon ($10.95) sailing through torrents of broccoli, bell peppers, and basil. Combination platters, such as chinese broccoli with crispy pork ($7.95) or beef in savory oyster sauce ($7.95) share plate space and spicy secrets with a choice of fried or steamed rice and a crunchy egg roll. Midday noshers can slurp up lunch-size portions of spicy basil noodle ($5.99) or comforting pad see ew ($5.99) before returning to less-delicious duties elsewhere.
Veteran chefs prepare Stir Crazy’s Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes on sizzling woks right in the dining room. So while diners-to-be ponder the menu of more than 50 traditional and innovative Asian creations, they'll witness knives quartering veggies and flames lapping at the edges of the wok as the sights, smells and sounds of the kitchen come alive around them. Should your taste buds riot at the sight of all this mouth-watering action, satisfy them with an appetizer like the Ahi tuna and avocado poke ($8), a spicy stack of fresh fish and cool veggies. For main courses, choose from an array of entrees like the sweet and sour chicken, a dish featuring tender pieces of crispy chicken tossed with broccoli, red and green peppers, onions, carrots, and pineapple in a sweet and tangy sauce ($12.50). Or manage your intake with the Crazy Feature menu, which offers smaller-in-portion but towering-in-flavor classics like Mongolian beef or sesame chicken, served with a crispy veggie spring roll (all $8.88).
Daddy Jack’s luminescent sign hangs over its corner spot in the Sundance Square district, beckoning diners to walk past the outdoor patio and detect the aroma of fresh lobster, clams, and a perfectly grilled steak here and there. Fresh seafood satiates East Coast cravings at both dinner and lunch with blackened shrimp and jumbo sea scallops and lobster tails. Pasta dishes entangle mussels, lobster, and clams in housemade sauces, while completely vegetarian dishes forego the seafood for mushrooms, tomatoes, and balloon animals. Wines journey from around the globe—from Chile to New Zealand—to wash down meals.
Muang Lao Cuisine blends traditional dishes from Laos with familiar favorites from its neighboring country, Thailand, often splaying entrées out on the tables for entire parties to share at once. Along with dishes such as larb—meat with a splash of lime juice, cilantro, ground roasted peppers, and rice—bowls of Lao-style pho and vermicelli noodles with bamboo, mint, and cabbage waft authentic East Asian aromas into the air. In the cream- and mauve-colored dining room, emerald-green booths line a wall decorated with cloth hangings and paintings of the elephants that wove them with their dexterous trunks.
With more than 90 buffet dishes including 30–35 hot entrees and more than 10 varieties of sushi, it’s no surprise that Buffet Palace's Austin location has been voted best buffet 12 times by Austin Chronicle readers. The similarly well-stocked Killeen location looks like a grounded spaceship from the outside, complete with a cylindrical metal cage, a Saturn-style ring, and two alien-like statues.
At each location, a modern 350-seat dining room vaunts sleek countertops and high ceilings as well as a buffet so long visiting Lilliputians regularly land planes on it. Items range from Korean-style salads and Japanese sushi to more than 30 primarily Chinese hot dishes such as sesame chicken and pan-fried dumplings.
In addition to these made-from-scratch items, a chef cooks Asian pancakes and dumplings. Before departure, diners can also stock a plate full of the buffet’s housemade desserts, which include cakes, cookies, and fruit so fresh it often gets smacked by older, wiser side dishes.