Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Oct 21, 2008 07:08 AM

Best dim sum in No. Va?

Where would you recommend for a dim sum brunch in No. Va. this weekend? Any ideas gratefully accepted.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There is a lot of discussion of dim sum on this board. If you're limiting yourself to NoVA, then it's only two contenders - China Garden in Rosslyn or Mark's Duck House in Falls Church. I'm only talking HK style dim sum here, not Northern or Shanghaiese food that can found at A&J. If you broaden your area to Maryland, there are more and often better choices. Oriental East in Silver Spring is my favorite at the moment.

    1. Just went to Fortune at 7 Corners. The seasoning was all wrong. It was barely half full at noon on Saturday so maybe this has been a persistent issue. I think there are only two other dim sum joints in NOVA, Mark's Duck House and China Garden. I'm not sure which one is better at this point.

      1. dpan is right, except I can't stand China Garden (Rosslyn).... Mark's (Falls Church) I have not been to in a while but there have been rumblings on this board that it's fallen off a bit. I liked it when I had it a year or two ago. I would check out A&J (Annandale) though. It's really quite good.

        11 Replies
        1. re: chaofun

          China Garden was pretty bad and expensive when I went a few weeks ago. I would not recommend it.

          Mark's Duck House is only really good for noodle soups/duck but given that, they've jacked up their prices with new management.

          A&J is a restaurant that serves Northern style dim sum. You won't find traditional cantonese dim sum there.

          I would recommend Maryland if you can swing it, and that would be Oriental East or Silver Fountain. With the former, you should plan to arrive early.

          BTW, haven't heard any comments on the previously overhyped Hollywood East on the blvd. Is it still open?

          1. re: Chownut

            Maryland won't be doable this weekend but DC may be a possibility. The reason I submitted my query is that I had heard mixed things about Mark's Duck House and A&J does seem to be the only place that gets consistently good reviews. One question - what is Northern dim sum. I think I've had only the Cantonese variety.

            1. re: beanodc

              Soybean milk, sweet or sour, is a main staple of northern brunch (I wouldn't call it dim sum). Scallion pancakes, plain or served with eggs, are also popular, as are potstickers. If you are adventurous, just go to A&J and ask for help. If not, try to meet up with others who know what they're eating. The cost isn't high. You can try a bunch of stuff that can be shared. Other than A&J, you can try Peking Village on Gallows Road (I haven't been to A&J in years).

              1. re: beanodc

                You order off a menu at A&Js and it's not dim sum but it's more of a brunch/breakfast, tapas-like dishes. It's more wheat heavy, both pan fried and deep fried (savory crullers, dumplings, thousand layer pancake, scallion pancakes, noodles). The menu is extensive and can be overwhelming but it's fun to go through. I think they make their own thick noodles in house and they're very good. I like to see what looks good on other tables (wait is usually long) and try to figure out what it is. They only take cash. As Mark's Duck House goes, if you go during prime time (11:30-1:00 about), it's still good. I rarely check out the prices so don't know if they've gone up. A&J's is very inexpensive. One of my favorite dishes is the wide cut noodles w/ ground pork and vegetables and it was about $6. They have another noodle dish w/ fried pork chops and mustard greens that is also excellent. If you like dan dan noodles, I know people who love it there but it's a little sweet for me.

              2. re: Chownut

                Yes, there are still big waits at the "previously overhyped" Hollywood East on the Boulevard, which IMHO (and many others as well) continues to serve the best dim sum in the area. New Fortune a close second, and Oriental East and Silver Fountain somewhere behind.

                None of the places in NoVa or DC, unfortunately, even rank on the list.

                1. re: DanielK

                  I've found New Fortune to be mediocre at best, but the reason why Hollywood East may seem good is because the dining room is so tiny that anything from the kitchen can get to your plate fairly quickly. Hollywood East has to be the smallest dim sum joint in this area.

                  1. re: Chownut

                    We can agree to disagree. I found Oriental East and Silver Fountain to be bland, and the variety of items far short of Hollywood East, and REALLY short of New Fortune.

                    1. re: DanielK

                      Lack of variety doesn't necessarily mean the the items that are served don't taste good.

                      In fact, variety depends on what time you get there and whether you ask for those items. Most dim sum joints sell out their egg custards early.

                      NoVa is lacking in high dim sum quality because the majority of NoVa dim sum joints have Vietnamese influences, meaning these joints are Chinese-Vietnamese owned.

                      1. re: Chownut

                        Let me ask another question - are there vietnamese restaurants you would recommend for dim sum on a weekend?

                        1. re: beanodc

                          There are no authentic Viet restauarants that serve dim sum. Viets generally eat Pho or Banh Mi for breakfast and brunch.

                          If I were in NoVA and needed a dim sum fix, I might go to Mark's Duck House and order a dumpling/duck noodle soup and maybe pick some items off the dim sum cart, but I wouldn't go there just to get filled up with dim sum.

                          In fact, I don't appreciate the way the new management has jacked up the prices and try to avoid going there period.

                          I went there once to buy some roast pig and the lady tried to force me to buy the left over scraps of pig that were the lean parts. Then, she tried to force me to buy some left over dim sum that was on the counter.

                          Now, management has changed the prices where one part of the roast pig costs more than another part, and they've jacked up the prices for the roast duck too....all the while asking their customers to pay cash money if they don't want to pay tax so that they can have more profits under the table.

                        2. re: Chownut

                          But I didn't say I didn't like Oriental East or Silver Fountain because of their lack of variety - I said their food was bland. Strike two was the lack of variety.

                          I've tried OE and SF multiple times, early late, whatever. IMO, they are just not in the same league as Hollywood East and New Fortune.

              3. what is tony cheng's like for dim sum buffet on sunday?

                3 Replies
                1. re: alkapal

                  Tony Cheng's doing dim sum buffets now? That can't be good.

                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                    i've only been on sundays, iirc. maybe it is saturday, too. this was a few years ago and it was pretty good. the bar had steam table set up for the little dim sum metal containers (for lack of the real term) and a side bar with stir fry veggies, like szechuan green beans -- and other stuff including some meat and seafood and noodle dishes -- and they had sushi, too. seems like from their website they are still doing the buffet. it was good turnover, and they were constantly bringing out new dishes.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      For what it's worth (and I haven't been for a while) Dragon Sea Buffet in Springfield has (at least the times I went) a modest selection of dim sum in metal steamers. Of course, more at dinner than lunch, and the selections changed, but they were there - also peking duck in the puffy pancakes and a few other rarely-seen things.

                2. Does Lucky 3 still have their dim sum buffet? Obviously not in the same class as Mark's, but not bad and a decent value.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    Lucky 3 is closed. Not surprising since they had really gone downhill since they changed hands.