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Oct 7, 2009 08:10 AM

Wu's Garden in Vienna--Any Good?

I just read the Washington Post article about NY Chef David Chang in which he speaks quite highly of Wu's Garden in Vienna. Can any Chowhounds out there confirm or refute Chang's review? I'm always looking for a good Chinese restaurant, even if its culinary strengths are more Chinese-American.

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  1. I read that article. If you judge it as a Chinese restaurant, then it's no good but Chang specifically calls it a Chinese-American restaurant. I've been to Wu's for lunch. I find the food oily and not any better than other Chinese-American restaurants (but not worse either). I'd just as soon eat at PF Chang.

    1. We love Wu's. I wouldn't travel from afar for it, but we happen to live up the road. Nothing will knock your socks off, but they do everything well. It's definitely more on the chinese end of chinese-american. Food aside, the other big attractions are the friendly home-style service and the atmosphere. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside it's one of the few authentic Chinese restaurants left. I find it a real treat.

      1. I read the article too, and was intrigued. I hadn't eaten at Wu's in over 10 years (maybe 15?), back when I had first lived in that area. I remembered it being an attractive, decent, Chinese restaurant with good service but it had completely fallen off my radar. Well, I found myself in Tysons the other day with a group of old work friends, and we decided to give in a try again. My first impression on walking in was that it looked exactly the same as I remembered. We sat down at a table with a somewhat older, formal waiter (not smiling) standing off to the side. The menu looked like complete average Chinese American stuff (the stuff I surely ordered when I had been here in the 90s). The waiter came over and politely asked for our order. I asked if there were any specials, and his demeanor completely changed. He started describing specials to us and recommending things. We followed his lead and ordered completely from the specials menu (be sure to note the blackboard on the way in which we at first had overlooked): boneless braised chicken, something that I think was 'salty spicy shrimp', chicken with eggplant, and beef chow fun. One person in our party ordered off the regular menu (beef with snowpeas, which was actually quite good), and the waiter started giving him gentle ribbing on picking badly (and pretending to hesitate to give him chopsticks). I thought the braised chicken was delicious - although a few in my party declared it unexciting - but I found it amazingly good it its simplicity. The chicken with eggplant was terrific, with very fresh vegetables, and was declared the best by most people at the table. The shrimp were great, but be warned, you need to eat the shells to get the full flavor, and the beef chow fun was a very good version of this dish, with chopped super fresh green onions that made it just that much better. Didn't get the special singapore rice noodles, but they looked really good at the table next to mine. In short (sorry if this is wordy), I was pleasantly surprised and would most definitely go again. In fact, probably the best Chinese-American experience I have found in some time due to the service, decor, and good versions of standard food. No amazing new ground at this place - but a terrific place to go if you have a Chinese food craving and want something a step above.

        1 Reply
        1. re: baconjen

          It sounds like you probably had the same waiter as I've had there in the past. My regular Sunday dinner partners can be convinced to go to Wu's maybe 2-3 times a year (we go to other Chinese restaurants in the area). He always seems like he remembers us, and quite possibly he does, and is always happy to tell us what's not on the regular menu. I don't care if it's "just Chinese-American" as long as the food is fresh and well prepared, and I've never had a problem with the ingredients and preparation at Wu's.

          There's some connection, though perhaps fairly loose, between Wu's and Peking Gourmet Inn. Maybe they share the same local farm. Both feature dishes with fresh garlic sprouts in season, something about which they seem to be mighty proud.

        2. I missed the write-up in the Post, but apparently no one else did. With no food in the house Friday night and a craving for Chinese we decided to hit Wu's - our local go to spot. For the first time ever, the parking lot was packed. We had to wait for a spot. The restaurant is massive and still had a line almost out the door for a table! It was nice to see, as we're usually one of a handful of tables. So we took the opportunity to try East Chateau down the road in Vienna (next to Born and MacGruders). What a treat! Look forward to going back, extremely high quality chinese (with Mongolian twists) in a friendly but calming setting.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Meg

            East Chateau is the Chinese restaurant that we most often go to when in the mood for Chinese in the area. More interesting and more friendly than Hunan Lion, for sure.

          2. I laughed at reading David Chang's love of Wu's Garden. My parents took me there as a kid going back oh the 1970s. It's most definitely old school Chinese American restaurant, I like the Hunan Lion in Tidy bowl building better but Wu's is still a great neighborhood restaurant.

            4 Replies
            1. re: HokieAnnie

              *laughing so hard!* I'm not the only one who thinks "tidy bowl" when I look at that building! Never ate at that Chinese resto, but have at Wu's. Wu's is "old school" in decor, does food really well, and the service is great. It's just a fun time.
              Now, if you're looking for the secret Chinese menu-I don't know. Probably tho.

              1. re: monavano

                I have never eaten at Wu's, and have lived in Vienna for over 20 years. We are more of a Hunan Lion take-out family (and also love the garlic sprouts from Peking Gourmet Inn). But I will say that this thread has piqued my interest, but given that the parking lot was jammed at 7:45 this evening (Tuesday), I think that I will have to wait a while to check it out. Another plus, the comments about East Chateau (which I have also not been to) have piqued my interest as well.

                1. re: SoxFan1

                  Wu's and East Chateau both make me gag.

                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                    It seems that many restaurants make you gag. Please be a good Chowhound citizen and expand on what you don't like about them.