Chinese places in Rockville
Have people ever commented on the following restaurants?
A&J, Rockville Pike
Joe's Noodle House, Rockville Pike
Hunan Palace, Gaither Road, Gaithersburg
Chopstix, Washington St/Rd, Rockville
Seven Seas, Rockville
I think they are pretty good -- shall I be controversial and say I'd rather go to some of these places than to Full Kee?
Just about all of these places are better than Full Kee. (Sorry about that. I will admit Full Kee is the best Chinese in the District, but that's not saying much....)
A&J and Joe's Noodles serve AUTHENTIC Taiwan-style "xiao chi" or snack food. That's Taiwan-style, not Taiwanese, which means that these places are owned by folks from Taiwan who cook dishes from throughout China, but as you would get them in a restaurant (or at a street stand) in Taipei. This often means better quality and care in preparation than you can find in most places in mainland China. Don't miss pot stickers at A&J; fen zheng paigu (steamed ribs with rice powder and yams) at Joe's.
Seven Seas, also Taiwanese, is spotty. Sometimes the food is good, but not always. Try do-su fish, a specialty of Taiwan-style Sichuan cooking.
Yet another authentic Rockville place is China Canteen, south of Gude in a Rockville Pike strip mall. The dry-fried green beans (gan bian si ji dou) are great. Oily scallion cake (cong you bing) is tops.
As a Full Kee lover, I would happily eat at A&J if it were more convenient to where I live and work. I have had wonderful food there and look forward to returning. Seven Seas can be quite good as long as they don't mark you as a "tourist"; some of the dishes on the Chinese menu are extraordinary.
I have heard good things about Joe's Noodle House but I haven't been there yet.
Seven Seas: Use the tanks as your menu - I particularly like whole fish Szechuan style (deep fried with a tomato-based sweet-ish sauce). Make sure you get the red menu, because the black one is just standard Americanized stuff.
Hunan Palace: I used to work near there, and my China-born collegues disliked this restaurant. The food was good enough, but not great, and they didn't like the service. Once they discovered Mama Wok and Teriyaki, that was that. I love Mama Wok's sauteed bok choy.