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Seven Seas - Rockville

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My wife and son aren't big Chinese food fans, so rallying the team for Joe's Noodle House or Szchuan Pavilion just isn't an option. Usually we make our way over to Tony Lin's, where at least I can oder something for myself off the Chinese menu.

Tried Seven Seas on Saturday looking particularly for three of my old favorites there. Really disappointing. Didn't they used to have a large fish tank up front? No more. Plenty of empty tables on a Saturday night at 8pm. No asians. There is no longer a Chinese menu. Or at least they wouldn't give me one. Didn't they used to have the red menu and the black menu? Anyway, the new menu is a laminated, pre-fab piece with color pictures that looks like it belongs at a Food Court. I tried desparately to order the Oyster and Ginger Casserole, which was not on the menu but is one of my old favorites. No one there had any idea what I was talking about.

Clams with Blackbean Sauce was overyly corn-starchy, and overly stingy for the $14.99 price tag. Pan Fried Meat Dumplings, came out within minutes of ordering, which made me a little nervous. And rightfully so as the thick wrappers couldn't be cut with a knife. Pork with Yellow Leeks was palatable, though woefully underseasoned. First time I have ever been tempted to salt my food at a Chinese restaurant. Whole Steamed Tilapia with Ginger And Scallions (they were "out" of the bass written on the board) was skimpy and soggy and mushy, and a total ripoff at what I recall to be $23.99. Snow Pea Leaves Sauted with Garlic was forgotten by the incompetent waitress. We reminded her again. Still nothing. Reminded again. Finally, as we were done, a plate of wet Water Spinach arrives.

We were less than pleased. I assume it was the owner and his family occupying the front table. They sort of pitched in to help on occassion. But they certainly didn't care what we thought enough to ask, as we walked out disappointed and shaking our heads.

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  1. I've always been hit-or-miss at Seven Seas, though a couple of my friends always try to drag me there.

    My last visit, a couple of months ago, still found the Chinese menu and the fish tank, but I also found the high prices for fresh fish, and indifferent service.

    Stick with Tony Lin's.

    1. Sorry for hijacking this thread but I live close to Tony Lin's and have wondered about the food there. Wondering hasn't led to dining as we pretty much stick to a rotation of Joe's, A&J, New Kam Fong, and that dim sum place in Gaithersburg.

      What would you recommend @ Tony Lin's? thanks

      4 Replies
      1. re: OldSchool

        At Tony Lin's, just ask for the Chinese menu. You can pretty much order with confidence across the huge menu. The waitstaff are also excited when Americans order off the Chinese menu, and they're happy to make suggestions.

        The dim sum place in Gaithersburg is New Fortune.

        And you're missing China Bistro and Sichuan Pavilion on your Rockville Chinese list.

        1. re: DanielK

          Huh. There are several things on this menu I'd like to try, especially 絲瓜小魚 (loofah with small fish) and 竹笙豆苗 ("bamboo fungus" with pea leaves.) It's much more common to see the fungus paired with loofah. They also have the eight treasure duck (which they correctly describe as including fried sticky rice) that I enjoyed immensely at Pacifica last night. Why haven't I heard about this place before? :-/

          1. re: KWagle

            Are you speaking of Tony Lins? My experience, unlike Joe's Noodle, is that the menu tends to read alot better than what actually comes out of the kitchen.

            And unlike Daniele, my sense, right or wrong, has always been that they put a lot less effort, care and flavor into cooking the dishes for non-asians.

            1. re: Pappy

              I can only speak to my experiences, Pappy, but I haven't had that issue.

              I went for the first time with my kids probably 7 or 8 years ago. When I asked for the Chinese menu, they were unsure, but very excited when I started to discuss some of the items with the waiter, who (having some English difficulties) soon called over the manager. And then my kids scarfed it all down. So even though I only go a few times a year, they remember me (and have seen the kids grow up), so I think I get "regular" treatment just because of that first meeting.

      2. This got me thinking - there's a Seven Seas in College Park (same owners at one time). Any word on how that place has fared in recent years?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Mister Big

          I've had several decent meals there over the course of many years--not great, not bad. I'm happy to go there if other options don't work out. And, since Joe's NH turned their fried baby smelts with peanuts into peanuts with a fried baby smelt garnish, it's the best place I know to get that dish.