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Best Dim Sum (with the carts)?

Callisto Jul 12, 2006 02:22 AM

Hey everybody...I went to Chinatown in NYC and had dim sum there with the carts. Is there a place in DC anyone would recommend for weekend dim sum with the carts going around with a good selection, not too pricey, and most importantly great dim sum?


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  1. DanielK RE: Callisto Jul 12, 2006 01:24 PM

    General concensus on the board seems to be:

    New Fortune (Gaithersburg)
    Oriental East (Silver Spring)
    Hollywood East Cafe on the Boulevard (Wheaton)
    Fortune (Falls Church)
    Mark's Duck House (Falls Church)

    Sorry, nothing in DC proper worth visiting.

    1. a
      atls21231 RE: Callisto Jul 12, 2006 01:48 PM

      i would agree with most of your list, but personally, i enjoy china chef in wheaton much better than oriental east.

      there's also another fortune in wheaton--good fortune--i forgot what the lineage is, but i think they were related at one point.

      2 Replies
      1. re: atls21231
        tubman RE: atls21231 Jul 12, 2006 02:05 PM

        I was at Good Fortune (Wheaton) this weekend and the carts were rolling by every minute. In addition to excellent quality, six adults & two kids got out for $60.

        1. re: tubman
          DanielK RE: tubman Jul 12, 2006 02:32 PM

          I went to Good Fortune a couple of months ago, after a several year drought.

          Worst dim sum I've had in years. Not fresh, cold, little variety, and the place was dingy. This place used to be great, but it's far from acceptable these days.

          Go across the street to Hollywood East instead.

      2. c
        Chownut RE: Callisto Jul 12, 2006 05:36 PM

        I would recommend avoiding Fortune on in Falls Church. It's gawdawful and the food is cold. I do recommend Lucky Three nearby on Leesburg Pike, but be wary of the bill. I was there twice recently and both times, the bill was tallied wrong. First time, they added more dishes on the card than I had on the table, and second time, the waitress could not or did not do simple math and added 10 dollars to my tab.

        1. Chocolatechipkt RE: Callisto Jul 13, 2006 01:43 PM

          Good Fortune in Wheaton is my first choice for dim sum
          Fortune in Reston would be my second.
          Fortune in Falls Church is ok, but they rush you through your meal and you find yourself out on the sidewalk 20 min. later.
          Oriental East (SS) is very ordinary, IMO--not worth the long lines.
          Hollywood East (Wheaton) had soapy-tasting seafood.

          1. c
            Chownut RE: Callisto Jul 13, 2006 05:12 PM

            Soapy tasting = extra MSG

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chownut
              Chocolatechipkt RE: Chownut Jul 15, 2006 03:03 PM

              Is that what it is? Interesting ... thanks!

              extra MSG = ungood/unnecessary

            2. c
              CMACDC RE: Callisto Jul 13, 2006 09:49 PM

              Someone needs to put in a word for China Garden in Rosslyn. It's the closest good dim sum to DC. I've found it extremely consistent.

              5 Replies
              1. re: CMACDC
                Chownut RE: CMACDC Jul 14, 2006 02:48 PM

                China Garden is good, but way overpriced.

                1. re: Chownut
                  BarbHelm RE: Chownut Jul 15, 2006 04:49 PM

                  I do not think it is overpriced, at least for groups. We had two tables of ten recently and the total cost was $12 each and we had plenty dim sum and side dishes!

                  1. re: BarbHelm
                    Chownut RE: BarbHelm Jul 17, 2006 04:28 PM

                    When you compare item for item, price for price, you'll see that their prices are higher and portions smaller. Your two tables of ten each for an average cost of $12/person isn't bad, but that depends on how big of an eater the people in your party are and whether or not there were kids.

                2. re: CMACDC
                  TerriS RE: CMACDC Jul 17, 2006 02:19 PM

                  Ditto to China Garden. It's still my favorite. I also agree that Lucky Three near Bailey's Crossroads is another good option. We did not have a problem with our bill but I will keep an eye out.

                  Mark's Duck House is okay - pretty good but I find it to be a bit greasy.

                  1. re: TerriS
                    Chownut RE: TerriS Jul 17, 2006 04:30 PM

                    I went to Lucky 3 again yesterday and it was great. Ownership is identical to New Fortune, so expect the fare and prices to be about the same. I've never thought Mark's Duck House or Fortune off Rt. 50 were ever that good. You've got dim sum in carts, but no means to keep the food hot (ie. missing burners, no steam, etc.). I only go to Mark's for their duck or roast pig and sometimes their dumpling soups.

                3. BarbHelm RE: Callisto Jul 14, 2006 12:58 AM

                  Fortune in Reston is the best, from my point of view!

                  1. BarbHelm RE: Callisto Jul 14, 2006 01:00 AM

                    ... and China Garden, as CMACDC reports, is a tie for 1st. Dim sum only for the weekends and maybe just for lunch, although I am not sure of that.


                    1. BarbHelm RE: Callisto Jul 14, 2006 01:01 AM

                      ... I am a graduate of Taipei American School and we have reunions there from time to time :)

                      1. t
                        Tugboat RE: Callisto Jul 14, 2006 03:49 PM

                        I think the place I went to on a Sunday recently was in Walnut Hill Shopping Center in Gaithersburg. Maybe called New Fortune or Good Fortune or something like that.

                        Had a blast. I have little to compare it to but it was great. Our large table enjoyed the food and the experience.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Tugboat
                          DanielK RE: Tugboat Jul 14, 2006 06:53 PM

                          Walnut Hill in Gaithersburg is the aforementioned New Fortune. That's my personal favorite - best variety and quality, and most resembles my favorite spots in NY and SF.

                        2. Bob W RE: Callisto Jul 14, 2006 03:54 PM

                          Fortune in Reston is our go-to dim sum spot.

                          Pluses: Wide variety if you wait long enough -- On almost every visit I get to try something I have never seen before.
                          For those with antsy kids, you can be in and out in 20 minutes.

                          Minus: The food is not always hot enough.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Bob W
                            PollyG RE: Bob W Aug 4, 2006 01:38 PM

                            Fortune in Reston is 5 minutes from our house and if you order carefully, you can do well. For some dishes, you need to ask if they are hot. Do not get the double fried shrimp unless they're fresh out of the kitchen, for example. Good choices include the aforementioned shrimp hot out of the kitchen, the beef tripe from the steam cart, both kinds of sticky rice; the turnip cake, and the chive dumplings, both steamed and pan-fried varieties. You will need to ask specifically for the tripe and the steamed rice in lotus leaf from the steam cart if you're not Asian--they won't be among the items shown to you. After a few visits, the friendly staff will recognize you and start offering those items if they know you order them.

                            Under no circumstance would I call it the best in the region, however. New Fortune in G-burg is much better, and if you watch for the stuff being hand-carried out of the kitchen at Mark's Duck house, you will be very happy.

                            We end up at A&J in Annandale almost as often as we go to Fortune; A&J does not have table service and the offerings are very different from Hong Kong style dim sum. Their pan-fried pork dumplings are heavenly; Fortune-Reston's pan-fried pot-stickers are cloddish in comparison.

                            If Dragon Star were still at the Eden Center, we'd be there; has anyone heard rumors about where their kitchen staff went?

                            1. re: PollyG
                              Chownut RE: PollyG Aug 4, 2006 10:06 PM

                              FYI, the owner(s) of New Fortune in Gaithersburg also own Lucky 3. The fare is identical also. Also, A&J serves Taiwanese Dim Sum. You'll be disappointed if you expect cantonese dim sum.

                              With regard to the kitchen staff at Dragon Star, don't expect them to stay together. As typical to most chinese kitchen staffs, they are vagabonds.

                          2. e
                            EricDC RE: Callisto Jul 18, 2006 08:25 PM

                            You know what? Lei Garden and Tony Chang in Chinatown are both pretty good. Let people piss and moan all they want, but they're good.

                            HOWEVER, I would say that as it gets later (as in, if you show up 1 PM or later) Lei Garden will not be making much food anymore 'cuz they know it will go to waste. So if you're going to Lei Garden, go early. 25 min. lines at both of those places, by the way. But worth it if you want it.

                            (I also think China Garden is Rosslyn is good, though).

                            1. e
                              elanor1 RE: Callisto Aug 3, 2006 11:00 PM

                              I have eaten at both Fortune in Reston and Falls Church and Mark Duck Chang's and was disappointed in all of them. So many of the dishes are fried or deep fried. The dumplings have very thick gummy doughs and cannot be eaten in one bite. The meat tends to be very dense. I lived in Taiwan for awhile and I quess I am always in search of a restaurant that serves Chinese food like it was meant to be. Dumplings should be light, fluffy and small and their should be many more steamed items. One should not leave feeling like they ate a heavy, greasy meal and that is how I have felt at the dim sum places I have eaten at around here.

                              1. d
                                dcfb RE: Callisto Aug 4, 2006 04:09 AM

                                We just did China Garden for about the 10th time and Hollywood East for the third. Our bill at China garden was negligibly different (of course there are so many factors).

                                In my estimation- China Garden had more seafood dishes and Hollywood East turned out more interesting flavors. I regularly recommend both and hear great reports.

                                Our China Garden trip was with another couple who was from San Francisco who really knew their dim sum and they loved it as well. WE got our for about $17 each and ate everything in site.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: dcfb
                                  Chownut RE: dcfb Aug 4, 2006 12:50 PM

                                  Wow, that's pretty steep. I'm a big eater, and my tab usually averages about $10/person, sometimes even when I order a noodle dish as supplement.

                                2. k
                                  KCinNoVa RE: Callisto Aug 11, 2006 02:35 PM

                                  One more restaurant that was missed by the Hounds. Canton Cafe, in the Springfield Plaza just off the I-95 Mixing Bowl, serves dim sum on weekends only.

                                  Bearing in mind that my wife and I mostly prefer the steamed dumplings, I think it's on par with Mark's Duck House on most items, and even better on some.

                                  Since I'm a new poster, some info to show where I'm coming from: We used to like Fortune, but even before they moved from Bailey's Crossroads, found that their dim sum had become blander and less flavorful. Tried the Chinatown places - once each - nearly 20 years ago when we moved into the area, and never went back. Haven't been to any of the Maryland restaurants, and have never felt compelled to endure the wait to get into China Garden.

                                  BTW, if you're driving I-95 or the southern part of the beltway and get the late-night munchies, Canton Cafe is one of the few places in that area open after 10 on weekdays (they're open till at least midnight, later on weekends). As the name suggests, they offer mostly Cantonese, not Szechuan/Hunan dishes, though their menu has some dishes that seem to be a must for the DC region. Their food is pretty good, better than most strip mall Chinese, but of course not on par with what you can get on the west coast.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: KCinNoVa
                                    Chownut RE: KCinNoVa Aug 11, 2006 05:32 PM

                                    There's not much of a wait to endure at China Garden if you get there early enough....before 11:30am, which is a far cry from how early you need to get to Oriental East in order to get fed. Mark's Duck House's dim sum sucks, but they do have long waits also, but the primary reason I think is b/c of their noodle soups and duck, not necessarily their cold dim sum.

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