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Dim Sum, again...

n
nosey Feb 5, 2011 07:52 AM

We are looking for a good Dim Sum experience for about 10 people. Willing to drive from Annapolis if it is worth it. I have looked at lots of Dim Sum threads on here, but most reviews seem old. Any new reviews or updates?

  1. DanielK Feb 5, 2011 09:53 AM

    My quick search on the board yielded at least 7 dim sum threads that were posted on during 2010.

    Nothing in DC. In MoCo, New Fortune (Gaithersburg) and Hollywood East (Wheaton) get the most love, with Oriental East (Silver Spring) and Silver Fountain (Aspen Hill) not far behind. After that, the drop-off is pretty severe. I don't personally think any of the places in NoVa measure up.

    There are also places like China Bistro (Rockville) and A&J (Rockville, Annandale) that have dumplings and small plates, but aren't Hong Kong-style dim sum.

    -----
    Hollywood East Cafe
    11160 Veirs Mill Rd., Wheaton, MD 20902

    Oriental East
    1312 E West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD 20910

    China Bistro
    755 Hungerford Dr, Rockville, MD

    A & J Restaurant
    1319 Rockville Pike Ste C, Rockville, MD 20852

    New Fortune
    16515 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

    Silver Fountain
    13533 Connecticut Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20906

    1. h
      HowChowBlog Feb 6, 2011 01:57 PM

      Search for Red Pearl in Columbia. They started in 2010, and they're excellent. Large, modern place. Lots of carts on the weekends. Menu options during the week or at night. Definitely worth a drive from Annapolis, and I think they'll take reservations for a large group. I'm not an expert, but I'd give it an edge over Asian Court in Ellicott City for decor and slightly more-interesting food.

      I'd say Red Pearl and Asian Court are both the equal to Oriental East. They should be slightly closer to you than the MoCo places.

      -----
      Oriental East
      1312 E West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD 20910

      Asian Court
      9180 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21042

      6 Replies
      1. re: HowChowBlog
        t
        tizinu May 14, 2011 07:27 PM

        I would also suggest Red Pearl.

        It still has some of the issues that I don't care for-- food sometimes cold on the cart, a bit mismanaged when it gets in the weeds-- but it has a great assortment of dim sum, which Oriental East does not. In fact, I would avoid Oriental East if you are familiar with dim sum. You've had it all before. RP has some things you won't find anywhere else-- just be aggressive in looking for waiters with trays or sit closer to the kitchen. :)

        If you're driving from Annapolis, it's probably your best bet in terms of distance and traffic. Plus, there is a nice movie theatre and mall across the street and the lakefront is a good place to walk around after you've gorged yourself.

        -----
        Oriental East
        1312 E West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD 20910

        1. re: HowChowBlog
          c
          chowsearch May 15, 2011 01:16 PM

          Last two visits to Red Pearl in the past six weeks yielded substandard cooking such as undercooked shrimp with iodine taste, cold items, unhappy management...and both times were around 12 with the house not full.

          1. re: chowsearch
            t
            tizinu May 17, 2011 11:08 AM

            I went there < two months ago at noonish and had a great time. The house was completely packed and as long as you were aggressive with the trays, the food was hot and fresh. I didn't have the shrimp though (love shrimp, don't care for it in dim sum as it's typically premade stuff) but the pork spareribs, the crispy bbq pork, and the chicken feet were very good. Even the congee was good-- not too salty, lots of egg and pork in it.

            I enjoyed their alaska roll, the stuffed clams, and the other sundries. A loooooong time ago, they made black skin chicken soup and that was wonderful but I don't expect that to come back again. But it's the only place in HoCo that is worth going to now for dim sum.

            1. re: tizinu
              c
              chowsearch May 17, 2011 06:46 PM

              Previously had a good time, wondered if a startup chef left.

              1. re: chowsearch
                t
                tizinu May 18, 2011 07:57 PM

                That's probably a negative. The start up chef is the owner of the restaurant (he was hired from Jesse Wong and then he started it himself.)

                I will have to go check the place out again, but it's really hard to beat the location from Annapolis.

                1. re: tizinu
                  c
                  chowsearch May 18, 2011 08:51 PM

                  The owner was not cooking when I was there for dim sum, he was rushing around looking stressed, running tray offerings around to tables and restocking carts. Dim sum is often made by specialists who come in very early Saturday. Maybe they had somebody in showing them how and then their contract was up. I saw the former owner of Asian Court there a few times during dim sum at the beginning and she said she was "helping out."

        2. KWagle Feb 18, 2011 05:23 PM

          I was at Hollywood East on Saturday with Jon Singer and LJ, and once again we had an amazingly good dim sum experience, including steamed dumplings with duck and black mushrooms that they only do on weekends. They also serve dim sum from the menu on weekdays, and it's even better on account of being blisteringly fresh, but the duck is only on weekends.

          (If you arrive after about 1, you might have to ask for the fried foods from the menu, and then they'll make a tiny trayful, bring it by your table, and moments later it'll be gone as everyone else who's been waiting for a seemingly nonexistent fried food cart snaps it up. This is one of many reasons I just don't understand the appeal of the cart thing.)

          None of the other DC-area dim sum places I've been to have been good enough to bother mentioning, thought I haven't tried them all, especially since the DC area has so many other amazingly good Chinese options. And HWE's dinner food is only okay, not bad; I'd probably pick New Kam Fong for dinner. But their dim sum department is first-rate and deserves a lot more acclaim than it gets.

          -----
          Hollywood East Cafe
          11160 Veirs Mill Rd., Wheaton, MD 20902

          New Kam Fong
          2400 University Blvd W, Wheaton, MD 20902

          5 Replies
          1. re: KWagle
            DanielK Feb 18, 2011 10:44 PM

            I'm not sure why you think HWE doesn't get acclaim for dim sum. There are at least a half dozen recent threads that proclaim it to be either the best in the area, or at least one of the top 3.

            1. re: DanielK
              KWagle May 15, 2011 03:33 PM

              Well, that's only a perception. It seems to me that HWE deserves at least as much acclaim as the Sichuan places (though perhaps not as much as Grace Garden or Hunan Taste) and I don't think it's getting that.

              -----
              Grace Garden
              1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD

              Hunan Taste
              718 N Rolling Rd, Catonsville, MD 21228

              1. re: KWagle
                DanielK May 15, 2011 09:25 PM

                Well, I'm one who believes that they aren't as good as they were before the move. I used to consider it a tossup between New Fortune and HWE as to which was better, leaning towards HWE, but post-move I'm firmly in the NF camp. NF boasts a far greater variety, and assuming you aren't sat in Outer Mongolia, and suffer from non-fresh carts, the quality coming out of the kitchen is a notch higher and more consistent.

                There are individual things that HWE does better (dessert, specifically, and a few of the steamed seafood dumplings), and I still go to HWE when in the hood, but if you ask me straight up which one is better, it's NF in my book.

                Aside - HWE may make to order during the week, but the variety is much more limited. NF still does carts on weekdays, and it is also more limited than the weekend selection.

                -----
                New Fortune
                16515 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

                1. re: DanielK
                  r
                  repete May 17, 2011 08:40 AM

                  I think this was the case right after the move, but HWE seems to have regained its footing if my most recent visit was any indication. HWE has always seemed to do the difficult pieces better IMO.

                  1. re: repete
                    DanielK May 17, 2011 10:16 AM

                    They're certainly not off my rotation, but I'll have to get back there soon.

                    One of my favorites there used to be the siu mei - they used to be absolutely spectacular, tender wrappers, light filling, and a big chunk of shrimp on top. The last few times (3-4 months ago was probably my last visit) they were good, but not so amazing that you immediately want another tray.

          2. b
            Bart Hound May 16, 2011 01:29 PM

            I like "Fortune" in Baliey's Crossroads. There's always a large (all Asian) crowd there.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Bart Hound
              Mulan May 16, 2011 03:37 PM

              Do you mean in Seven Corners Shopping Center. If so, they have these roast pork croissants (sometimes called triangles) which is my favorite dimsum and I've never seen them anywhere else.

              1. re: Mulan
                b
                Bart Hound May 16, 2011 04:43 PM

                Yep! That's the place. Seven Corners, not Baileys Crossroads.

                Fortune Chinese Seafood Restaurant

                6249 Sevens Corners Ctr

                Falls Church, VA 22044

                (703) 538-3333

                1. re: Mulan
                  DanielK May 16, 2011 07:29 PM

                  They have those regularly at both Hollywood East and New Fortune.

                  Fortune is ok if you're nearby, but there's no way it's worth driving from Annapolis for dim sum. I'd drive the extra hour to Philly before I'd do that...

                  -----
                  Hollywood East Cafe
                  11160 Veirs Mill Rd., Wheaton, MD 20902

                  New Fortune
                  16515 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

                  1. re: DanielK
                    c
                    chowsearch May 16, 2011 10:48 PM

                    Where in Philadelphia?

                    1. re: chowsearch
                      DanielK May 17, 2011 07:02 AM

                      It's been a couple of years since I've been, but I fondly remember dim sum meals at Imperial Inn, Joy Tsin Lau, and Hong Kong Golden Phoenix. Revelatory, no, but very good.

                      1. re: DanielK
                        s
                        Soup May 17, 2011 06:19 PM

                        was at JTL this winter, it is still good (better than anything around DC). Phili has a very good chinatown.

                        1. re: Soup
                          DanielK May 17, 2011 07:49 PM

                          What's great about all of those places is that their regular menu is also spectacular. I don't think they have better dim sum than New Fortune, but I wouldn't go to New Fortune or HWE for a meal other than dim sum.

                          -----
                          New Fortune
                          16515 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

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