HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Do you create unique foods? Tell us about it

Sampan Cafe, Szechuan Star, Peking Gourmet make List of Top 100 Chinese Restaurants.

monkeyrotica Jan 19, 2011 04:47 AM

I thought Sampan Cafe was pretty decent; the dimsum was pretty weak. Have heard good things about Peking Gourmet in Frederick. Szechuan Star has been off the radar. Anyone have any experience with them?


Szechuan Star
6922 Bradlick Shopping Ctr, Annandale, VA 22003

Peking Gourmet
5732 Buckeystown Pike Ste 16, Frederick, MD 21704

  1. s
    Steve Jan 19, 2011 05:55 AM

    Don't forget about Kings' Buffet in Sterling, logging in at #72.

    Mmmm, steam table......

    Oklahoma has pretty good representation on this list, with two places. Who knew?

    1. TheMatt Jan 19, 2011 07:25 AM

      I'm not sure how much stock I'd put in this. Szechuan Star is a perfectly serviceable American-Chinese restaurant, quite good the few times I've been there (in the strip mall near my local Giant), but I'm not sure I'd call it Top 100. But, then, I tend to like Chinese restaurants that aren't mainly American-Chinese. (Though maybe Szechuan Star has a Chinese menu I've never seen...)

      In fact, after looking at the menu for Yang Ming (the #1) it appears that service and ambiance might be more important than food. And I can see how others might want that, but for me, I'll eat in dingy (but clean) surrounds with just enough service if I get authentic flavors I've never had before.

      Szechuan Star
      6922 Bradlick Shopping Ctr, Annandale, VA 22003

      6 Replies
      1. re: TheMatt
        monkeyrotica Jan 19, 2011 08:12 AM

        The consensus seems to be that the Top 100 Chinese List is a pay-to-play scam. I've seen the posters in many of the bulletproof Chinese carryouts in DC. Some of the places were pretty dingy.

        1. re: monkeyrotica
          dpan Jan 19, 2011 08:27 AM

          I wouldn't put much stock in this ranking. These restaurants probably paid to be listed. Most of them are in out of the way places, and I don't see any of the really good places in NYC or LA listed.

        2. re: TheMatt
          KeithW Jan 19, 2011 09:32 AM

          Even if the list itself is unreliable, does anyone know if Sampan Cafe is any good?

          I am sometimes in that neighborhood and could use a decent Chinese/American Chinese place. Their menu looks interesting, in that they have whole fish, fried squid, and other non-American stuff. I usually go to Canton Cafe in Sprinfield but I am happy to try another place.

          1. re: KeithW
            monkeyrotica Jan 19, 2011 10:26 AM

            The American-Chinese is competent but nothing special. Their dim sum used to be quite good, but they've cut back substantially on the number of dishes. The Hong Kong noodle dishes and the casseroles are quite good. Haven't tried any of the whole fish dishes, but they do keep the fish in tanks in the back so they're probably fresh.

            1. re: monkeyrotica
              dpan Jan 19, 2011 11:22 AM

              Only been there once for dim sum. It was okay, but I found that I had the usual dry mouth afterward, which is indicative of MSG usage.

            2. re: KeithW
              sweth Jan 20, 2011 06:29 PM

              I'd put Sampan in the middle tier of the non-Americanized-Chinese places; the Hong Kong menu is pretty good, and while Canton Cafe is better, Sampan is the closest place to me that has vaguely authentic dishes, so it's become my go-to place if I don't want to trek to Canton or one of the Key/Kee restaurants. The dim sum isn't bad, although as monkey notes, it's been pared back a lot; they do a fine job on the things that I'm always craving when I seek out dim sum (fried taro stuffed with pork, rice noodles with pork, steamed gai lan), though, so I don't mind so much.

          2. j
            jenniferpdc Jan 20, 2011 11:28 AM

            I'm suprised Peking Gourmet Inn by Seven Corners isn't on the list. For me, they have the best chinese I've had in DC. The peking duck is worth the trip from Capitol Hill. The fried dumplings are excellent too, very delicate and not overly doughy.

            Peking Gourmet Inn
            6029 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041

            Show Hidden Posts