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Oct 22, 2009 11:05 PM

Chinese New Year/Valentine's Day

I noticed recently that next year's Chinese New Year falls on Valentine's Day.

We live in Baltimore and I think it's safe to say that there are no romantic, Chowish Chinese restaurants here, so we thought we'd venture down to Chinatown in DC.

Can anyone recommend a romantic-suitable restaurant down there (or, actually, anywhere near Baltimore or DC?) that might also be fun for Chinese New Year?


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  1. Chinatown DC isn't your destination.

    It's been awhile, but Good Fortune in Wheaton is okay ambiance. I'd just skip the ambiance and go for good food, which you can have up there at the place right outside Ft. Meade (Grace Garden), or come down and take in Hong Kong Palace in Seven Corners - something like that (HKP has okay ambiance where GG has not much at all).

    1. By Chinese New Years you will ahve two good choices in Wheaton in the new Hollywood East or New Kam Fong. In NOVA i'd second Hong Kong Palace. In Rockvile, Sichuan Pavillion. I have yet to try the new one in Derwood: Jade Garden. Grace Garden is superb!

      1. I don't know the Rockville and/or Wheaton Chinese restaurant scene, so I don't know how the recs you've received about those restaurants stack up on your two criteria: romantic and delicious. However, I've been shaking my head in bewilderment about the other recs. They're totally fine in the food department. But romantic? Not even close.

        Hong Kong Palace features metal chairs with plastic upholstery. Your fellow diners will likely be family groups with kids needing to be distracted/tended to than couples gazing lovingly into one another eyes. The closest I can come to a place that has a stab at a romantic vibe is Wu's Garden in Vienna. The dark mahogany traditional screens and traditional panels with inlaid material and cloth upholstered chairs are definitely a cut above the metal/plastic utility of HKP. The food is a source of some debate. A recent article in the POST said this is the favorite of NY Chef David Chang while Hounds on this board can't muster more enthusiasm than "it's a good Chinese-American restaurant." With the recent flurry of activity at Wu's based on the publicity, I don't know how romantic the atmosphere is at the moment.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Indy 67

          I can't think of a chinese restaurant I've been to in the US that I'd consider romantic.

          1. re: chowser

            In the 70s, we used to eat at two Chinese restaurants I'd call upscale and elegant, but I wouldn't take the next step and call either romantic: The Mandarin restaurant in Ghiaradelli Square (San Francisco) and a restaurant on 3rd Ave in NYC whose name neither my husband nor I can remember.

            1. re: Indy 67

              I remember the Mandarin Garden, back in the 80's. Much more upscale and elegant than any restaurant I can think of here. Another place is Yank Sing, too--not romantic in the L'Auberge Provencale sense but nice and quiet, at least the one in the financial district. But, then again, I haven't been to either Yank Sing in over a decade.

              But, come to think of it, Tom Sietsema just reviewed a place that might fit the OP, called Zentan. It's asian fusion (looks like a little of everything!):


              1. re: chowser

                Love, love, love Yank Sing for dim sum, but, I'm going to have to differ on your label of quiet. The financial district place is so large that there's a constant hum of conversation. Add to that the constant visual "noise" of dim sum carts going back and forth and the constant stream of people walking to/from tables and Yank Sing falls out of contention for a quiet/romantic place.

                To bring all this back to the OP's request, I suggest your treat yourself to two nights out: one to celebrate the Chinese New Year and one to celebrate Valentine's Day. I don't think the restaurants in DC are going to scratch both your itches.

                1. re: Indy 67

                  It's been a long time but I went on a weekend, and a little early for dimsum when we went to the one in financial district. I can't say I loved the dimsum there but then it wasn't busy enough to judge. And, it was well done on the inside, compared to Marks Duck House or China Garden or any of the places listed here. Definitely not places you go for romance!

            2. re: chowser

              Not the best grub, but Mr. K's in downtown DC (closed now) was very nice and upscale.

            3. re: Indy 67

              I took the OP as giving up on Romantic. If not, then I withdraw all my comments as I know of no romantic Chinese restaurant where I would reccommend the food. You can cobble together some good dishes at Seven Seas in Rockville where the back dining room is nocely put together, but the rather unfinished feel of the front room is not romantic at all.

            4. It's nice that you would like to celebrate both holidays but I really would not recommend going to a Chinese restaurant. Since the New Year Day falls on the weekend (Sunday), there will be many families out celebrating. The 13th will be "New Year's Eve" and it is very traditional to gather with family and friends.

              Also, I agree with Dean that Chinese restaurants are not really romantic. They are just not really intended to be.

              1 Reply
              1. re: DCDeb

                LOL - thank you for all of the responses. I was indeed hoping to find a romantic Chinese restaurant but realize this is a rather quixotic request. Will use this as a good excuse to celebrate twice - thanks for all of the info!