Chinese Imperial Inn

The chilies-on-steroids cooking here will have you mopping beads of garlic-laced sweat from your brow. The musky, firecracker-red Mongolian chicken stabilizes somewhere just before nirvana exhaustion, and aggressively pungent shredded pork with dried bean curd leaves your eyes gloriously glistening from its spicy hot scarlet oil. Even an ice cold beer practically evaporates on your tongue. Do not fear: not all the dishes are incendiary. Try the seafood—lobster, razor clams, Dungeness and blue crabs, whelk, and oysters—prepared with tamer garlicky black bean sauce, or ginger and green onions. The Cantonese wonton soup, nearly as mild as your morning bowl of oatmeal, is as memorable as the feverish stuff. Sliced pork and shrimp are pushed into the steaming bowl of noodles and greens just before serving. Think comforting, grandmotherly tenderness.

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