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Bob's Shanghai in Rockville- Report

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Three Chowhounds gathered for an impormptu lunch at this new place which is theoretically an oupost of a taiwanese chain, famed for their dumplings. It has no new signage, just the old sign for Bob's 66. It's at 305 N. Washington Ave in Rockville.

First caveat: No matter how much you love dumplings, wait at least a month to go here as the chefs (from the NY Branch) are not here yet. They are not yet serving crab or crab/pork mixture, they are not serving tang bao (large soup dumplings) , nor are they serving shengjian bao (soup and pork, fried on the bottom).

What we were served was above average. In the case of the xiao long bao, the broth inside was far more delicious than what I am accustomed to here. But four of the twelve we ordered had lost their soup before we opened the baskets, they are too large to be xiao (little) long bao, and the wrapper is nothing special.

The only xlb in the area which are 'correct' are at A & J, though the broth is not as good and their wrapper breaks too easily when you try to pick them up.

We had two other dumplings: fish dumplings and chef's special pan fried dumplings. Both above average, but still not worth a special trip.

A bowl of beef noodles with long pepper was supposed to be dry-fried, but came half-submerged in liquid and seem bolied. None of the noodles on the menu are handmade, and they are only ok. Flavor of this dish was weak.

We also had a plate of mustard greens with beans and tofu, served icebox cold, which was ok.

I'll go back when they are serving the full menu like at the Queens branch.

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  1. Peace of mind - this place really does exist. Anyway, I think they've only been open for about a minute. Mom says the chef is from Taiwan.

    Sad to hear about the burst dumpling skins. That's the worst. Have you tried the XLBs at Shanghai Taste? In December, I found those to be better then the ones at A&J.

    I probably won't be able to try these until December. I'll be hitting the NYC branch in the fall. Next DC visit is only to the city proper and my parents and I have two non-Rockville visits planned. But, I'm still looking forward to it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: beetlebug

      I haven't been to this new place yet, but I do think the ones at Shanghai Taste are very good. Probably the best I've had in the area so far (though still not as good as any place I've had them in NYC). Burma Road also used to make good XLB on weekends. Not sure if that's still the case...

      1. I knew I forgot to update some mom info. Anyway, she said that they've only been open since 3/29 and have been slammed with customers. Apparently, the dumpling makers are exhausted because how busy they have been. She told this to me last week and she's hoping the restaurant will work its kinks out. With that, my parents have been going to Shanghai Taste for XLBs.

        1. I'm not a xiao long bao expert, but I can say that when I went to Bob's Shanghai last night, the xiao long bao were delicious. They had two types: pork and crab yolk. The dumplings were intact when they arrived at the table, but my only gripe is that the soup inside was warm, not hot.

          Some of the other dishes we ordered were also delicious: snow pea leaves, tea smoked duck and the chef's special dumpling (leeks and egg). The duck was intensely smokey.

          I was also pleasantly surprised by the service. Overall, a great experience!

          3 Replies
          1. re: ineemeeny

            Thanks for the report back. It look like they have expanded their offerings. I love crab xlb, so that's good news.

            However, freshly steamed xlb should be hot.

            1. re: Steve

              I agree. Our server recommended that we poke a hole in it to let the steam out before eating it, but alas there was no steam.

              1. re: ineemeeny

                The xlb I had a couple of weeks ago were surprisingly delicate and delicious -- better than the other items I ordered.

          2. This place is now named Bob's Shanghai and the xlb here are pretty damn good. The problem with a really thin skin (which is good) is that there's a tendency to break when you pick them up with chopsticks. Nevertheless, even the slightly torn ones can make it to your mouth with plenty of soup.

            The Shen Jian bao were okay. I liked the doughy bao but the fillings weren't that plentiful or juicy, like the ones I had in Shanghai.

            You tiao was pretty good. As good as any I had around DC.

            1. I haven't been to Shanghai taste yet but various yelp reviews claim Shanghai taste has better soup dumplings than Bob's Shanghai. Does any CHer have an opinion?

              5 Replies
              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                My friend, who is Chinese, prefers Bob's. I think they are pretty similar.

                1. re: Mister Big

                  I haven't been to Shanghai Taste in a few months, since they had their zoning disputes and had to pull some of their tables. Are they back up to full capacity yet, or still down to just a few tables and doing mostly takeout business? XLB for takeout pretty much suck.

                  1. re: DanielK

                    Just there {Shanghai Taste} for a quick try... XLB excellent but the dipping sauce a little bland. Their XLB have the best filling of the Rockville XLB we have tried {Bob's, A&J, Jin River in order of preference} the soup itself is very rich, almost too "greasy" but just short. The small plates were pretty good with a great seaweed salad.

                    Wall to wall tables.

                    Bob's has been hit and miss. One time some of the best XLB we have ever had, the second time pretty bad with off flavors, dry dumplings, doughy skins and the two other dishes we had were terrible and so forgettable I forgot them. So I would put Bob's at the top of the list on a good day, and at the bottom of the list on a bad day. With it being a long haul to Bob's, we tend to go to Mama's Dumplings when we make the drive.

                    1. re: wineo1957

                      The dumplings at China Bistro (aka Mama's Dumplings - I do not know why) are world class.

                      1. re: Steve

                        Even though they are not xlb, when pan fired they can have an explosive juiciness that rivals their more delicate rivals for explosiveness. And great cold plates- better than Jin River, not quite as good as Joe's.

              2. Ate there over the weekend and didn't order the soup dumplings. Instead, I had stir fried yu choy, Shanghai stir fried noodles, and fried flounder fillet. The yu choy were bland, the noodles greasy and lacking in texture, and while the flounder was well seasoned, they were limp rather than crispy. The cooking here is very mediocre (they have the best soup dumplings in these parts).