Chinese Near Baltimore--Szchuan's Best
I was back in Baltimore for the weekend to attend a friend's wedding and had forgotten how hard it was to find Chinese food down there. Then I remembered our favorite haunt back in our college days--Szchuan's Best.
I would recommend this place if for some reason, you can't make it down to Sliver Springs or Columbia for Chinese food. They have a fairly large dim sum menu at this place, but the dim sum is far from fresh. There are however, 2 distinct standouts on the menu. They have a spicy braised cod dish that is pretty good even by New York standards. The dish comes bubbling in a spicy red sauce with bits of preserved vegetables scattered throughout. The cod however, is delicate and fragrant. The second dish that I would recommend is their sauteed bamboo piths. You have to ask them for this one and it might be a seasonal item. I remember the dish being $9.95 which isn't bad for bamboo piths. Finally, I noticed several Taiwanese food items that looked quite good but I did not get a chance to try them. The beef noodle soup being the most enticing out of the lot.
So for those of you in desperate need of a Chinese fix, I would recommend this place until you make your way down to Silver Springs. It's on Liberty Road between Baltimore and Reisterstown I believe.
True, most of Baltimore Chinese is stuck ca. 1986--very much so--as the ghostly framed "Best of's" from the 1980s hanging in dusty vestibules suggests. One exception: Cafe Zen, on York Road near the Senator Theater, has an eye for freshness and less gloppy fare. Good bustling atmosphere with families, first dates.
You are correct that good Chinese restaurants are virtually non-existent in Baltimore.
I have to strongly disagree w/ you about SB. I find the food below average. I was somewhat suprised that you said "...pretty good by New York standards". considering the plethora of excellent Chinese restaurants in NYC.
Try Hunan Legend in Columbia (my ranking: mediocre) or Peking Restaurant in Burtonsville (ranking: above average). I agree that Silver Springs is the closest to Baltimore for good Chinese restaurants in Maryland.
Ahhh...I said "pretty good even by New York standards" when referring only to the cod dish. The food at Szchuan's Best is no where near New York quality, but that cod dish (commonplace in LA and done with a spicy meat sauce) is hard to come by in New York and it's surprising that Szchuan's Best would carry such a dish so I recommended that people take advantage of that dish and of the bamboo piths.