"the SAME DISHES ordered the SAME NIGHT were wildly divergent!"
Oddly I was chatting about this asian restaurant phenomenon with one of the veteran waitresses at GSI 24th St. the other night. Here's the dope. Unlike western restaurants, asian kitchens are not set up with a meat station, a fish station, a garde manger, etc. All the chefs are generalists from #1 chef down to #4 chef. Like a team of short order cooks, whoever is available takes the orders as they come in. Sometimes with the big specialities of the house, the most junior chefs may not be permitted to make them, but in general it's whoever catches the order.
"Waittress shmoozing may have been influential; the first helpings were tamed down, but we'd won her over by the time we ordered seconds."
Waitress schmoozing is KEY. If your waitress is a veteran and knows you and likes you, she will do her best to route your dishes to the optimal chefs for those dishes.