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Aug 2, 2009 12:33 PM

Who Needs Mark's Duck House?

Another great meal at XO taste across the street.

Restaurant was nice, cool, and clean. Mostly asian families.

Ordered the XO Shrimp Rolls, Kingdom Porkchops, Salt/Pepper Shrimp, stir fry snow pea leaves, shredded pork noodles, and brisket casserole.

Everything was good, no MSG thirst afterwards, great service, free sweet soup dessert, and food was fairly priced.

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  1. I had a pretty nice meal at XO Taste. I enjoyed their soft rolls with XO sauce and their BBQ dishes (really enjoyed the curry sauce brisket, though it was fattier than my cardiovascular-ly challenged husband could eat). But - I still need my dim sum. And, increasingly, Marks is the one of the few places to get dim sum. I went to Fortune the other day and see that it isn't really Fortune anymore - seems to be a Vietnamese seafood place.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MarietteB

      You're right...Mark's has dim sum but XO Taste doesn't.

      I spoke to the boss and he said XO Taste will probably not go the dim sum route, but may be looking into something more sophisticated like chinese tapas like dishes.

      For dim sum, I generally stick to Montgomery Cty.

    2. I just walked past Mark's today right around noon and there was a crowd of people standing outside. Is it really that popular? Maybe by default if it's the only dim sum in the neighborhood, where people go for dim sum on Sunday.

      3 Replies
      1. re: MikeR

        Fortune is right across the street; it fills up before noon on Sundays. Maybe Mark's gets their spillover. Fortune isn't the best dim sum either, but it's better than Mark's has been lately.

        1. re: MikeR

          Mark's is definitely popular for dim sum on weekends...mainly because it's really the only decent dim sum in NoVA.

          1. re: MikeR

            The line at MDH is like that every Sunday. Always.

            Same with Fortune.

          2. I'd say Marks duck house is the best Dim Sum around the area. Far better then fortune. If anyone is getting any spillover its fortune. Marks duck house is ALWAYS full on the weekends for Dim sum, i got there during the week also and its also full. Its a great spot.

            6 Replies
            1. re: prldecivic

              I've been to Mark's and Fortune. My family regularly goes to Fortune even though it is much further than Mark's. I went to Mark's once, and it sucked. I vow to never go there ever again! At least I get reliable service and dishes at Fortune. I think China Garden is better for some dishes though (p/bor lao bao). (Though I love Fortune's char siu bao)

              1. re: discojing

                Are you talking about the same Fortune? There's a Fortune directly across from Mark's. It's right next to the HD.

                1. re: Chownut

                  yes. There are only two Fortunes, one in Seven Corners and one in Reston.
                  The Reston one is smaller, not as good, and actually reminds me of Mark's Duck House

                  1. re: discojing

                    Isn't there a Fortune in Gaithersburg? Seems like I've eaten there a time or two.

                      1. re: deangold

                        New Fortune, but not really that new...actually pretty old inside.

            2. I boycotted Mark's after a couple awful meals there last year. When I first went there about three years ago I thought it was great, particularly the roasted duck, pork and chicken, but it seemed to go downhill. I believe there is another post on here that suggests that there were new owners. I'm willing to go back but I'd like to hear more. BTW isn't there some great dim sum in Rossyln? And up in Wheaton dosen't Hollywood East have good dim sum offerings as well?

              14 Replies
              1. re: ClevelandDave

                Hollywood east is closed until August when they wil reopen in Wheaton Town Center wr whatever its called.

                1. re: ClevelandDave

                  We've been going to MDH since we moved to Falls Church in early 1998.

                  The last few times we've been there for dim sum it has been extremely heavy on the shrimp/prawn offerings and very thin on just about everything else.

                  Disappointing and it'll be a good while before we go again.

                  This new XO sounds great. I can still remember the old green Hunan Garden delivery menu sitting in a kitchen drawer!

                  1. re: Geeyore

                    The few times I've been to Mark's for lunch during the week and they bring around the dim sum carts, it's always been heavy on the shrimp. Since I'm allergic to shrimp (though not shellfish in general) I think all I ever tried was a pork bun, which was OK. But I certainly couldn't make a Sunday brunch out of it. For that, I'm sticking with my Aunt Jemima buckwheat pancakes as long as my supply of mix holds out.

                    1. re: MikeR

                      For the most part, dim sum, and chinese food in general, is heavy in shrimp and pork.

                      1. re: Chownut

                        Yes, and on my last visit for Sunday dim sum I saw roughly 5 plates of bok choi and a few plates of roast pork (Vietnamese heo quay) over the course of 45 minutes. That's it. Almost everything else was was shrimp-based.

                        Yes, I know I could have asked for the items I wanted.

                        That's not the point.

                        Many people on CH have commented on the recent decline in quality at Mark's Duck House. They seem to be running a cash cow on the momentum of the past decade.

                        1. re: Geeyore

                          That's the new ownership/management trying to recoup the money used to buy the joint.

                          For example, they sell roast pig. They jacked up the rpice to about $11/lb right after taking over. Now, they charge $13/lb if you request certain parts of the pig, such as the more desirable pork belly vice the uber dry pork chop.

                          Also, they are the only chinese joint I know that doesn't give free sweet soup or oranges after a meal, no matter how much you spend.

                          The old management used to suggest to asian customers that they would wave the tax if you paid in cash. The new management tried that too.

                          1. re: Chownut

                            """The old management used to suggest to asian customers that they would wave the tax if you paid in cash. The new management tried that too.""""

                            oh, that's nice -- either they are discriminating against non-asian customers for a "cash" discount or cheating virginia of tax revenues.

                            1. re: alkapal

                              I'd say the latter. Scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

                              1. re: Chownut

                                Joe's Noodle House gives you a punchcard that allows you $20 off your meal with every $200 you spend. Cash only, of course. In the restaurant world, cash is King.

                  2. re: ClevelandDave

                    Let me suggest that anyone who has a Jones for roast pork, roast chicken, roast duck, or xa xiu (Vietnamese for BBQ pork - roughly pronounced "sa see-oo") can head right over to Eden Market (3 minutes drive from MDH) to the main grocery store under the clock tower. Walk in the front door, hang a sharp right, and order what you want.

                    Prices are posted on a cardboard sign, cash only.

                    What can I say. My wife's been buying there for 10+ years as do many, many hundreds of Vietnamese Americans every single weekend. By Sunday afternoon the pickings get pretty thin, so Friday PM to Sunday AM is the best time to go. Or any weekday evening.

                    1. re: Geeyore

                      Actually, they do accept charge cards.

                      They are decent, and cheaper, but with all shops that have low volume, compared to MDH, you have to hit it when it's fresh from the ovens.

                      1. re: Chownut

                        And another nitpick; it's not the same store that has been there all along; it closed and reopened under new management/ownership a couple of years ago.

                        I wish the new management still sold containers of daikon/carrrot salad like the old store did; but that's probably a matter for a new thread.

                        1. re: Lori D

                          The heo quay stand is run by the same guys who ran it in 1998.

                        2. re: Chownut

                          Yes, you're correct. Wifey says that it had been cash only (it was written on the cardboard sign), but in recent years they will accept CC for orders over $10.00. It's a preference, not a rule.

                          However, it's simply incorrect that the Eden Supermarket stand is a "shop that has low volume. compared to MDH." Anyone visiting there on any weekend will see that from the traffic and the line.

                          And in any case the meats are superior to MDH, as well as less expensive.

                    2. I have to try that XO taste place. I've been out of the loop with regular chinese restaurant. I've been going to HKpalace and TempTasian lately . Regarding Dim Sum, I normally go to Canton Cafe in Springfield because it's closer to my house. I think Mark's, Canton and Fortune's Dim Sum went downhill from what it used to be. I go to China Garden for a little bit better Dim sum. They have more choices to offer and taste a little bit lighter and fresher. I normally go to New York once a month and eat over there for Dim Sum.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: flipeatery

                        I reserve my dim sum orgies for places like Yank Sing in San Fran or Tropical Chinese in Miami. There doesn't seem to be any place in metro DC devoted exclusively to dim sum like those above.

                        1. re: flavrmeistr

                          While I like Yank SIng myself, I generally enjoy Holywood East in its own way just as much. Uank Sing's dim sum is very light and refined, sometimes toomuch so for my taste. HECOTB has incredible desserts like I have ever had anywhere else,killer roast pig and some very complex, multipart steam items that were incredible.

                          1. re: deangold

                            Saw one of those Food network shows the other night in which a guy was waxing poetic over the barbecue pork buns at Yank Sing. I thought they were weirdly sweet and probably the only item there I wouldn't order again. The sui mai and steamed dumplings, on the other hand, are exquisite. My brother and I put away about $70 worth the last time we were there.