recommendations needed: good Chinese food in NOVA
I am looking for good Chinese, eat-in or takeout, in NOVA. So far the best I have found is Mama Wok in Reston. Thanks!
szechuan style: hong kong palace in falls church near seven corners
x.o. taste is hong kong style & cantonese style. opposite the willston center (but on the same side of rte 50) in falls church, also near seven corners.
Miu Kee for Cantonese and A&J's for Northern Chinese are my choices. A half hearted recommendation for Hunan East in Burke for American Chinese but order off the menu, stay away from the buffet.
china star in fairfax is very solid. Order sz tofu, crystal shrimp, fish w/ mustard greens and salt and pepper egg plant. You will not go wrong. The rabbit app is also very good. They've toned down the spice a bit since their "hay" days but if you ask, you can still get a properly spiced meal.
Delete me please
Can't say anything about Sichuan style myself, but if you are talking about the place in Sterling (near the cinemas), it has the best chinese food in that part of the county. Now that may not be saying much, since the best food in that area tends to be South American and Thai, but it is certainly worth trying. The same owners ran the (now defunct) pretty tasty Pacific restaurant in the Target shopping center.
Question on this to everyone - I started learning about the great Sichuan (and Sichuan itself) b/c of this board maybe about 4+ years ago. Since then I just haven't done the American-Chinese places.
Out of unique situations I stopped at a place I used to go to before this period in Herndon - Chen's. I used to like their Singapore Noodles and they have spiced oil for spooning into little cups. So I went again, but carefully perused the menu a bit more.
They have the cold sesame noodles, and salty crispy _______ dishes on the menu. They have the ones that could be bad or good, and a small handful of potentials. I was going to inquire whether they did other things, especially Sichuan, but they had a mass influx and I decided to come back, order the sesame noodles and salty crispy ______ and inquire then - hopefully having some cred behind the question.
Any insight into Chen's specifically would be awesome, but I'm wondering if those dishes (sesame noodles; salty crispy ________, Ma Po) are staples at times of the bad places, and I'm falsely getting my hopes up.
Currently any time I'm even NEAR 7 Corners I stop for some things from HKP for the next few days if not a meal at the time. I'd love to be able to go a couple of miles for some goodness - even if it's not quite HKP or Joe's.
re: Dennis S
Don't know about Chen's in particular, but yeah, lots of American Chinese places have ma po tofu and sesame noodles, and most of them don't do them justice at all. Assuming by "salty crispy _____" you mean the salt & pepper fried seafood family of dishes, those are less common at American Chinese places, but there are still at least a handful in the area that have them and that (sadly) also do a mediocre job with them. I'd still take that vs. some overly sweet generic "hunan chicken", but yeah, I wouldn't get your hopes too high unless someone chimes in to say otherwise about Chen's specifically.
re: Dennis S
Yep - nothing overly special, but not the bottom of the bucket generic American Chinese. There are some special dishes that might be meritous, but they're pricey and I was on a lower budget recon mission.
The noodles weren't the right ones, so I didn't order them. The Ma Po wasn't.
However, they did the spicy cucumber and a good job of it. This particular place offers hot oil in a self serve manner, and I still have this suspicion they'd cook a good meal if you knew how to order (probably in Chinese).
re: Dennis S
Different place, but I am interested in that area of Sterling anyway. Had posted this thread a while ago: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/656900 - thinking there has to be some good gems in there.
Seemed to be some sort of mid-east deli in a strip mall across a road from the main plaza that looked intriguing. I'm heading that way again this morning and may try to scout a bit more - wish it were more toward noon and I could experiment.
Places in NOVA that I would eat at (in no particular order, all have authentic Chinese food, and I'm sure I'll miss a few places):
Sichuan Village - Chantilly
Hong Kong Palace - 7 Corners
Jasmine Garden - Merrifield
Miu Kee - Falls Church on Rt 50
XO Taste - 7 Corners
Mama Wok - Reston
Mark's Duck House - 7 Corners
Canton Cafe - Springfield
Sampan - Springfield
Fortune - 7 Corners (heard it might be edible again)
A&J - Annandale
China Star - Annandale
Apparently chefs/cooks come and go at these joints all the time, even the owners may change. So if a place sucks, maybe something's happened but at one point, they were good and it's possible to suck for a period and then become good again.
I would add Tau Tau in Burke/Springfield. Sorry, I can't speak to the menu's regional roots (probably more Northern, but definitely American although great.) I've eaten there for 15 years, and its the best Chinese I've had in the U.S. Dan Aykroyd goes out of his way to eat here when around D.C.
You can order off the menu as well. My Mother and her fertility clinic took their visiting Shanghai branch President & staff there, and ordered a full on 3 hour lazy susan China-style feast -- no forewarning, just walked in and gave them a laundry list. Tau Tau' rep must have preceded them, because the Chinese officials sought it and were satisfied.
I lived in China, and their semi-American dishes rival and beat out most of the similar four/five star hotel meals I had in Bejing, Nanjing, and Shanghai. I can't speak to Tau Tau straight up authentic dishes, but if you ask, they can make it and will likely be psyched to do so.
Canton Cafe in Springfield is the place for Cantonese. I haven't eaten there since it opened close to 8 years ago. No idea what their management and staff is now. However, they're almost entirely packed with Chinese clients in an area that doesn't have an expat community really. They're the type of place that has chalkboard menus stretching nearly the entire interior perimeter of their large restaurant -- all written in Chinese (half with small english title translations scrawled below.) i ordered a salt-baked frog just for novelty and that is exactly what ti was, teleported from Guangzhou, no soft gloves presentation for Americans.
Tau Tau is great, printed menu is on the American side b/c they're in the suburbs, but their cooks are first class.
Canton Cafe could have been teleported from S China. Reputation probably lets them thrive where rent is cheaper and fans are willing to drive to.