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Sep 9, 2003 11:57 PM

QUICK! HELP! Chinese in Rockville

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I have to recommend a really good Chinese restaurant to my father-in-law, who is taking out his Chinese boss (originally from China, but lives in LA) for lunch in Rockville. Does anyone have a recommendation? Apparently, his boss is very very picky, and will bluntly tell waiters/waitresses how awful the food is.....HELP! One note: His Boss prefers to have a menu written in Chinese.

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  1. Joe's Noodle House should suit. You'll find several threads on this board discussing menu items, if you want specific ordering ideas.


    1. Also try Bob's Noodle 66 on Washington Street, just off Rockville Pike. Bob's Noodle is slightly more upscale than Joe's [although neither is remotely high end]. Bob's appears to be a Taiwanese restaurant, while Joe's is Sichuan.


      4 Replies
      1. re: JT

        What have you had at Bob's? We stopped by last week and the menu looked very interesting. Unfortunately, my daughters friend who is not an adventurous eater could find nothing she wanted. We went to her favorite across the street Mama Wok and Teriyaki. I found it dull.

        1. re: Toby

          My favorite at Mama Wok is the spicy szechuan beef noodle soup: tender beef, homemade noodles, savory spicing all add up to a real treat when you need a winter warmer.

          Otherwise, I too have found the restaurant dull. Even the seafood that they tout as especially fresh. For that, I prefer Seven Seas (behind the CompUSA on the Pike). Worht it just for the experience of having them bring the live fish over in a bucket for your approval prior to cooking it!!

        2. re: JT

          Funny Bob's Noodle should come up. I've just relocated to Rockville and finally walked by Bob's. It was packed at lunch and the menu certainly looks interesting (organ meats, duck tongue, pigs' ears, etc.). Definitely a focus on Taiwanese cuisine.

          Has anybody been there? I've read through this string and a few people have mentioned it, but it wasn't clear that anybody has been. I would love to hear opinions!


          1. re: Smokey

            Bob's is good, but speaking/reading Chinese is a big help. The place is usually very crowded, so the waiters are very busy. I'm also not sure how great the staff's english is. The menu has english translations, but they're pretty uninformative and sometimes downright confusing.

            Good food, but Joe's is more user-friendly.


        3. I love Joe's but wonder about a business lunch there. How about A&J ? It is a chain with exactly the same menu and food as the one I went to in Bejing, and the renovation makes the interior less plain than Joe's. There may even be an outpost in LA. The menu is certainly Chinese. (They also now have a Chinese breakfast menu, but you have to specifically ask for it. Congee, anyone?)

          Also, my Chinese friends generally think of New Fortune in Gaithersburg as a local fancier favorite. It's the kind of place where folks have wedding parties, etc. (The Sunday dim sum is also particularly popular.) The interior is the kind of cavernous room that, in China, is taken as an indication of quality (I think the attitude is, if it is so big, it must be because so many people like the food), and the menu follows the tradition of having pictures of food. It is in a shopping center just over the Gaithersburg/Rockville border of Shady Grove Road.

          Here's the Washingtonian review (for what it's worth).


          9 Replies
          1. re: Bonz

            Don't get me wrong; I love A&J, but . . . (i) it is a chain, which doesn't sound quite like what Nanner is after; (ii) it's even more cramped than Joe's, with fewer large tables; and (iii) its menu is smaller, and less diverse than at Joe's (which has great "Home Style" dishes -- can someone tell us what region those are from? -- in addition to the fabulous sichuan).

            Went to Bob's Noodle once. It has a larger, and a bit more formal, room than either Joe's or A&J; and there are a lot of very interesting sounding things on the menu (although what I ordered was merely good, not great); it might be a great (if somewhat riskier) choice, especially if your guest is looking for Taiwanese food in particular (Bob's claims to be the only authentic Taiwanese joint in town; I'm skeptical, but what do I know?).

            1. re: Marty L.

              Hi, Marty, I can't disagree with anything you wrote -- A&J is indeed a small space and also a chain. I don't know how many people are in the lunch party, but two or four can dine comfortably, and they have anumber of large round tables that can take up to eight. As for the chain aspect: I found the Rockville branch's food such a perfect replication of what I ate at the Bejing A&J that I thought it worth mentioning, as there seems to be a premium at this lunch on authentic chinese food.

              In any event, New Fortune would probably be my first pick if I had to impress a native Chinese boss. I also understand that New Fortune has the dim sum carts rolling at weekday lunch, although I have never been.

              1. re: Bonz

                I agree that New Fortune might be the best place to impress a boss, as distinct from the best authentic food which would be Joe's. One other idea, tho, that hasn't been mentioned in this thread, is Hollywood East in Wheaton (is this appropriate for a visitor from LA or what?), which while the decor is not as nice as New Fortune, the food is at least as good and the size is a bit more "human scale." They have an eggplant in sesame sauce that is to die for.

                On the subject of decor, Hollywood East is either remodeling or building anew according to something I saw. Does anyone out there have details?

                1. re: johnb

                  Agree that Hollywood East is great, but it is not anywhere close to Rockville. Caveat: I tried the eggplant fried with sesame "sauce." Kind of addictive, I agree. But very, very sweet, and it had better be worth dying for, because it sure ain't gonna help one's life expectancy. I think there are many things of the HE menu (and walls) that are better choices.

                  1. re: Marty L.
                    Jayask the Foodgeek

                    I like 7 Seas and love Joe's. 7 Seas would be better for a business lunch.

                    1. re: Marty L.


                      I'm sure there are many great dishes there (at HE). What are some of your favs? I admit I'm so addicted to Joes that I haven't been to HE much lately, but need to go back and try some of the good stuff.


                      1. re: johnb

                        Try the baked salted chicken, under "Chef's Recommendations." It comes with a ginger and scallion dipping sauce, and it's so delicious I have to get it every time I go!

                    2. re: johnb

                      The owner of Hollywood East told me many months ago that they were going to move to a nearby location on University Blvd. and were waiting for the new place to be redone. However, either the plans have been on hold or things are taking muuuuuch longer than expected because they're still in the same place.

                  2. re: Marty L.

                    Are there any places like Bob's in the Northern VA area?

                2. For a formal dinner I recommend Seven Seas in Rockville, behind Federal Plaza. Their cooking impressed even my hard-to-please Taiwanese-immigrant parents when I took them there last year. They are very critical about ingredients, cooking methods, and authenticity, and Seven Seas got raves from them. The dining rooms are attractivley decorated, and private rooms are available for parties as small as eight (I think, based on my reservation for eight once).

                  Hunan Palace in Gaithersburg is similarly an excellent place for a formal dinner. I have attended a couple of engagement dinners and a wedding banquet there, and was very impressed with the cooking. Similar decor and ambiance to Seven Seas'.

                  Although I have never had dinner at New Fortune, I have dim sum there all the time and suspect that the dinner dishes would probably be of the same superb quality.

                  Being of Chinese heritage, I have to say that Chinese guests generally put a lot of store in how "nice" is the restaurant to which they are taken. I would not take a Chinese boss to a casual place like A&J, no matter how good the food. It's a matter of face. You give a guest "face" by taking them to the fanciest restaurant there is.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Browniebaker

                    I think Seven Seas is great -- as I mentioned in another post, the seafood is fresh from the live tank. I have also hosted a businessman and his family from Shanghai there.

                    I guess what I am trying to say is this: I would follow Browniebaker's great advice, which seems very cultutally attuned, instead of my own insensitive advice!

                    1. re: Bonz

                      I'll echo what Bonz said! In this situation, Seven Seas is the most appropriate. When you're used to American bosses, it's easy to forget that not everyone is so casual.

                      Make sure the boss gets the red menu, of course. The whole fish Hunan-style and crispy duck are my favorites.

                  2. I'd think twice about New Fortune. While the dim sum is good there for local standards, I don't think it's of the quality that people are used to in LA or SF or Toronto. If the boss is that picky, there's nothing worse than below-standard dim sum.

                    I've not been to Seven Seas, but to me it sounds more appropriate.