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  1. With Rockville a bit of a hike for this father of a one year old, I'm still trying to get a grip on the level of excellence the DC crowd expects from their Chinese cuisine. My education on the finer details is somewhat lacking, but I have spent a LOT of time eating in China (to the tune of 40+ trips to Hong Kong and Shenzhen), so while I'm sometimes fuzzy on the details of how the good stuff got there, I like to think I recognize it when I have it. So I figured I'd share a little place that some of us Charm City Hounds have been frequenting for the past couple of weeks, and see if any of the Chinese fiends here have had a chance to check it out. Crackers and I have been organizing dinners at Grace Garden in Odenton as of late (and who could ask for a lovelier and more capable co-host than Crackers?), and we've been truly impressed by what we've had. It's a completely nondescript strip mall joint that seems to be subsisting on its Americanized carryout menu for the Army base across the street, but they have an authentic menu as well that focuses on the chef's native Cantonese, but also includes some Sichuan and others. We've had tender fish noodles in a velvety, subtle ginger sauce. We've had complex, fiery Sichuan fish with rice powder and crispy fried bones. We've had a sticky rice stuffed steamed duck that redefines the word comforting. We've had sliced pork belly stir-fried with toban djan, pristine baby bok choy with salted fish, salted egg shrimp with a crispy fried exterior and a volcanic head gush, mixed seafood with a superbly balanced hot/sweet XO sauce... I could go on. If it isn't bad form, here's a link to a more complete post with photos: http://www.skilletdoux.com/2008/05/grace-garden.html I'm inclined to think this is a diamond in the rough. Anybody else been there? Grace Garden www.gracegardenchinese.com 1690 Annapolis Rd. Odenton, MD 21113 410-672-3581 Mon - Thu 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM Fri - Sat 11:00 AM - 10:30 PM Sun Closed
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