Photography by Kathy Tran.
Every Christmas Day, David Romano and his family used to eat Chinese food in New York City.
The president of Local Favorite Restaurants group and a legacy restaurant creator, Romano found a special place in his heart for Chinese food.
“We would always go to Chinatown,” says Romano, who’s lived in Preston Hollow for five years. “I just got entranced by the culture.”
There was one thing though he felt was missing from those Chinese restaurants.
“They’re not that fun,” he says.
Following that thought, Wok Star Chinese was born. It combines Chinese cuisine with a fun atmosphere and American-style service.
Intense rock ‘n’ roll-inspired pop art covers one wall of the restaurant, while Chinese artifacts sit on shelves and hang nearby.
From the dining room, guests get a good view of Chef Charlie hand pulling noodles. He learned how in China, studying for six months under another chef. He came to the United States by way of California and then made his way over to Texas to work with Romano.
He often dances while he hand pulls the noodles, making a show of the craft. For Wok Star’s opening night, the chef was placed in the center of the dining room, dancing along to a guest DJ as he worked the dough.
“If you come and you don’t get the Charlie show, then you need to make sure that you come back the second time and get the Charlie show,” Romano says.
The music that plays at Wok Star is uniquely theirs. Their ever-growing 34-hour playlist is private on Spotify and run by Romano’s 13 year-old daughter, Mia, who attends the Episcopal School of Dallas.
Over the course of one meal, guests could hear everything from Nirvana and Grandmaster Flash to Taylor Swift and Usher.
While they bob their heads to the music, guests are feasting on Wok Star’s drinks, starters and entrees.
The menu is authentically Chinese, Romano says. There are four hand-pulled noodle options. Chef Charlie’s favorite is the Dan Dan La Mian. Classic chicken, pork, beef and seafood options are also sprinkled throughout the menu in the form of fried rice, moo shu and sweet-and-sour.