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Great Chinese food in Bethesda or D.C. area?

i
IWantFood Jul 1, 2009 08:24 PM

A friend recently moved from NY to Bethesda and insists there isn't a single, decent Chinese restaurant, which I find hard to believe. I would like to surprise her with a visit to a very good/excellent/much better than decent Chinese restaurant when I visit her. Does anyone have any suggestions for such a restaurant in the Bethesda, D.C., or D.C. area?

Thanks!

  1. c
    cfoodie Jul 1, 2009 08:39 PM

    Even though there are tons in Rockville and Gaithersberg area, there is a good Chinese restaurant known for their Peking duck that is across the street from the Mercedes dealer in Bethesda ( and next to the bentley showroom).

    1 Reply
    1. re: cfoodie
      h
      HilkaryIC Jul 2, 2009 11:09 AM

      Shanghai Village is the Bethesda place mentioned above. I like their Kung Pao chicken and tofu dishes.

    2. s
      Steve Jul 1, 2009 08:58 PM

      Rockville, MD is generally considered to have the best Chinese food in the area.

      Joe's Noodle House is Sichuan. Many recs on this board throughout the years. But don't go for the noodles! I love the shredded radish, peanuts with fried baby smelt, taro root cake, beef jerky, rice cake with pork, pressed bean curd, bacon and leek, wontons in red hot sauce.

      Mandarin Express for Yunnan cuisine. Crossing the bridge noodle soup.

      China Bistro specializes in dumplings. they have some good small plates of cold/ pickled vegetables too.

      Peking Palace in Germantown, MD for Hunan Cuisine. Tofu hot pot. Enormous menu worth exploring.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Steve
        i
        IWantFood Jul 2, 2009 10:26 AM

        Steve, when you say not to go for the noodles, do you mean that the noodles are not very good?

        1. re: IWantFood
          s
          Steve Jul 2, 2009 11:09 AM

          Exactly, nothing special about the noodles at Joe's Noodle House. They retained the name from the previous owner. Has nothing to do with the food they serve. Noodle lovers will be disappointed.

      2. e
        Ericandblueboy Jul 1, 2009 09:05 PM

        http://www.northchinabethesda.com/

        North China may be the only authentic Chinese restaurant in Bethesda. I've never been but it's supposed to be good.

        BTW, is your friend Chinese? If your friend is from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc., then he/she will not be impressed.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Ericandblueboy
          i
          IWantFood Jul 2, 2009 10:36 AM

          No, she's not Chinese, but she is vegetarian.

          1. re: IWantFood
            e
            Ericandblueboy Jul 2, 2009 10:38 AM

            Do you know what she normally orders?

            1. re: Ericandblueboy
              i
              IWantFood Jul 3, 2009 11:02 AM

              She occasionally orders noodle dishes, and likes vegetable dumplings and tofu dishes. When she came to NYC recently, we went to Grand Sichuan Eastern. Neither one of us really loved the spice used in the sichuan noodles, but the vegetable dumplings were quite good, and she said she liked the mapo tofu. She'll eat any style of Chinese cooking, as long as it's vegetarian.

        2. b
          bearmi Jul 1, 2009 09:16 PM

          There are tons of Chinese American living in Montgomery County and many of the restaurants there are better and probably cheaper than a lot of places in NYC. I am surprised that your friend hasn't found a Chinese restaurant she likes. Maybe she likes a certain type of Chinese food in NYC (such as Szechuan) that's not available in DC area.....

          Anyway, back to the subject, I like Seven Seas in Rockville. Here is their website.

          http://www.sevenseasrestaurant.com/

          1. i
            iatethesandbox Jul 2, 2009 07:05 AM

            A&J's has decent Northern Chinese Dim Sum. Fried dumplings and noodles. Bob's 66 Noodle house has decent Taiwanese food. Beef noodle soup, veggies w/ lamb and other noodles. not to mention stinky tofu! Both are on Rockville Pike and cash only.

            4 Replies
            1. re: iatethesandbox
              s
              Steve Jul 2, 2009 11:18 AM

              Both of these are very good suggestions. Long list of CHowhound favorites at Bob's 66 if you do a search, especially going a few years back.

              1. re: iatethesandbox
                w
                wombat Jul 5, 2009 07:40 PM

                I'd think twice about bringing a vegetarian to A&J's. I can't find their menu on line but while I know they have a few vegetable dumplings, I think it might be a frustrating experience.

                1. re: wombat
                  DanielK Jul 5, 2009 07:52 PM

                  Actually, there are plenty of vegetarian items on the menu. Most of them are cold plates, but there are a few dumplings and other dishes, including at least 1-2 noodle dishes.

                  1. re: DanielK
                    f
                    FoodieGrrl Jul 6, 2009 08:45 AM

                    Agreed - the dan dan noodles and the hot and sour noodles are both vegetarian. There is a vegetarian pan fried bun, as well as steamed vegetarian dumplings. Also, there are several cold plates, as DanielK points, out that are vegetarian-friendly including seaweed, tofu or gluten in various forms, and others.

              2. d
                dining with doc Jul 2, 2009 10:34 AM

                if you like authentic chinese restaurants where you may be the only non asian there then go to:
                Wheaton: Paul Kee Duck House, Full Key Duck House, Wong Gee
                Chinatown DC: Eat First, Chinatown Express
                Odenton: Grace Garden

                You will love these places!

                4 Replies
                1. re: dining with doc
                  s
                  Steve Jul 2, 2009 11:16 AM

                  Whatever you think of the food at Chinatown Express, (I find it extra oily except for steamed dumpling), whenever I have been there it is almost completely non-Asian, so we must be going at different times. I love the condiments they set out on the table.

                  Grace Garden is a great suggestion. Very out of the way, about halfway to Baltimore. So if you go it's worth special ordering some of their best items in advance. Do a search about this.

                  1. re: Steve
                    d
                    dining with doc Jul 3, 2009 07:15 AM

                    every time I have been to chinatown express there have been large groups of asian buisnessmen at those large round tables in the back sharing large meals. I have not experienced oily food there. I prefer Eat First but go to Chinatown Express for a change of pace sometimes

                  2. re: dining with doc
                    c
                    Chownut Jul 2, 2009 11:27 AM

                    Wong Gee is pretty bad.

                    1. re: Chownut
                      d
                      dining with doc Jul 3, 2009 07:16 AM

                      I have been to Wong Gee twice and enjoyed everything we sampled each time. The owner is a former part owner of Eat First in Chinatown

                  3. t
                    tdonline Jul 3, 2009 05:38 AM

                    Not answering the OP question directly...I think non-Cantonese Chinese food in DC is pretty decent. And they're places already mentioned here plus Hong Kong Palace in VA. Dim sum is dismal here though. Really bad and haven't had a great or even good meal yet. I pretty much just wait until I go to LA for great dim sum.

                    And to be honest, I can't think of a great Chinese meal in NYC either. But I've only visited NYC and not lived there so my sample size is tiny. I have eaten in all three "chinatowns" in NYC. I'm trying to round up friends for a culinary trip to NYC and spend more time in the Queens Chinatown.

                    1. i
                      IWantFood Jul 4, 2009 10:08 AM

                      Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. Can't wait to try them!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: IWantFood
                        b
                        bigplate Jul 4, 2009 07:50 PM

                        After 17 years of trying Chinese in the area, after having moved form NYC where the Chinese food definitely was better, we like New Fortune on 355 in Gaithersburg, both for regular meals and dim sum. Chinese is probably the weakest Asian food in the DC area. I have to say that some of the ones mentioned in the earlier posts are definitely not as good as New Fortune. OUr Chinese friend is a fan of Gui LIn on Route 28 in Rockville and we enjoyed that too.

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