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New Hong Kong style restaurant in Rockville - East Pearl

Stopped into East Pearl restaurant that just opened on Rockville Pk (a few doors down from the old BaLe). I was alone so I could only try one thing, but the menu is interesting -I don't have experience eating in the Hong Kong style. And the proprietess couldn't have been more lovely. I don't know this style of food so it would be great if there were folks that could weigh in, but I thought it was great.

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    1. re: Steve

      Had "pork chop with black bean sauce" from the rice portion of the menu.

    2. a family member told me before they had opened that they were going to specialize as a chinese hong kong style noodle house. looking forward to trying it out

      1. It seems you have as many Hong Kong style restaurants here as we have Taiwanese ones in Boston. But I'm still looking for really good traditional Shanghai food in either place or anywhere in between. :-/

        1 Reply
        1. re: KWagle

          The red-braised pork shoulder we had at Pacifica Cafe as well as the tofu wraps, and maybe even the batter coated fish with seaweed is as close as we'll come to Shanghainese food - unless someone can point out a place in NYC.

          The question is: does Shanghainese food 'travel' outside of its home base? I am not positive you could easily find a Shanghainese restaurant in Beijing, for example. Yunnan, Hunan, Sichuan, Xinjiang, and a dozen other regional cuisines are popular. But not Shanghainese.

        2. Huge menu -- lots to explore. Had a stir-fry dish of a sweetish chinese sausage and chinese broccoli, as well as soy chicken over rice. Both were very solid; neither was life-changing (they're only comfort foods, after all), but they were impeccably fresh and clean-flavored. Very, very solid -- the sort of Cantonese food that Rockville needs. The congees -- huge -- looked very good, and the folks at the adjoining tables were raving about them. Next time.

          1. Went there a couple of times Standard Hong Kong style menu. I was most interested in their congee which was good. The noodles are subpar. The roasted meats were so so. The service not very well put together. They do have the pork rind dishes, but the one with turnip was a failure (turnip was sour, not stewed). Unfortunately without the steamed noodle dishes, I would prefer Full Key over this place any day. Overall, unless you are dying for some pork rind dishes, I'd head for Full Key in Wheaton.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cfoodie

              Must admit,. my experiences don't match up. We had great service both when slammed and when they were slow. The only noodle I had was in won ton would with noodle and it was fine. The meats have been superb. We had a couple of casseroles and vegetable dishes that we loved, especially the Chinese watercress. Fabulous congee.

              We have long since stopped going to Full Key Wheaton as we hit a long stretch of poor meals, the last one we were served seafood pan fried noodles where the noodles were black from being burnt.

              Just goes to show how different people can have different experiences.

              1. re: cfoodie

                Found Asian Delight, another Cantonese place that has Dim Sum on the weekends in "the hood" in White Oak. They make fresh steamed noodles (somehow erased from EP's menu), has decent BBQ meats, as well as standard menu of other dishes (love their Dim Sum and soft tofu dessert) and priced very well. Never thought I would prefer this place "N' Da Hood" than a place on Rockville Pike, but it's my favorite hidden Gem so far. Went there twice this week and got nothing but superb service, decent food and great price. Their only weakness is lack of a base in their congee. Can't complain when it's closer to me than the pike.

              2. Visited again for lunch with an elderly aunt. She was interested when I told her of the new place because she had travelled to Hong Kong 45 years ago and remembered liking the food. The food was very good (she wanted a crispy beef dish and they fixed it to fit her palate, and I had a chicken and mushroom casserole). Our waitress was top notch. The entire staff was especially good.

                The only "BUT" in the visit was the noise level. On my first visit, they had only been opened for maybe a day, and there might have only been 6 other people there - I didn't notice any noise issue. It was at least half full during this visit, with several of the larger round tables full of larger parties. It was so loud that even I couldn't hear, and my aunt wasn't able to even hold a conversation. The waitress had to lean on the table to get close enough for us to hear what she was saying or what we were saying. Every surface in there is hard and the echoes from 45 people are loud. We mentioned the level of noise to the waitress and she commented "we Chinese like it loud" and from the number of other elderly patrons, we might be the only people that couldn't take it, but it was SO loud.

                I tried to explain to my aunt that restaurants want places to be loud on purpose now. I would love to work my way through some of this restaurant's menu, but not if I want to hold a conversation with my dining companions.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Terrie H.

                  I was in there last night during peak dinner time, and the place was absolutely full.

                  I would call it boisterous, but not LOUD. Not nearly as loud as downtown restaurants and bars are these days. My dining companion and I were easily able to have a conversation across the table with only slightly raised voices.

                  1. re: DanielK

                    We were there at lunch and it was loud enough that we couldn't even hear the waitress unless she leaned on the table. Once a couple of the large groups left, it was better.

                    1. re: Terrie H.

                      I wasn't denying your experience, just providing another perspective. One person's "loud" is another person's "energetic".

                      We need Sietsema to review this place so he can measure it in decibels. :-)

                      1. re: DanielK

                        Don't you have an app for that?

                2. Had the seafood pan fried noodles, two meat platter (bbq pork and duck), gai lan and wonton soup last night. I think Full Key in Wheaton is more flavorful. The pan fried noodles were decent but mostly soft noodles without as much of the crunchy bits. Full Key's duck has more prominent spicing and the bbq pork at East Pearl had some fatty bits that were almost crunchy which was odd. The wontons were large and tasty though.

                  In general, I think East Pearl has a lighter touch when it comes to seasoning. Maybe I'm just a salt fiend (which I wouldn't deny if someone accused me as such) but I would rather drive the 15 min to Wheaton to get eat at Full Key instead of the 5 min drive to East Pearl.