The year 1973 brought us Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon
, the Watergate scandal and the Pine Yard Restaurant. Its large, open dining space has aged well: A surprisingly formal atmosphere (white tablecloths on family-size round tables, bow-tied waiters who pour drinks) overpowers wimpy accents like fake plants, vertical wood blinds and lime-green table flyers advertising scrumptiously icy fruit smoothies for under $4. Silver light fixtures dimly illuminate square tables that line the front and side walls, and a delicately designed red room-divider is well worth a trip to the very back of the restaurant. The refreshing clinks and clangs of knife mastery chime from behind the frosted glass that separates the kitchen from the dining room and, just as suddenly, Mandarin, Szechwan and Cantonese dishes appear at the table.
The Chef's Recommendations are popular, especially the Szechwan spicy three delicacies, shrimp, beef and chicken in a special house sauce ($12.95), as well as traditional dishes like Mongolian beef ($11.95) and Szechwan spicy chicken with peanuts ($10.95). Lunch is served every day (except Sundays and holidays) with an impressively eclectic menu all under $8. General Tao's scallops on a bed of Chinese broccoli ($7.95) seems most exotic, while the usual sweet and sour chicken and shrimp (each $6.55) both make welcome appearances.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Puhala