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Hong Kong Palace, Seven Corners Center - New Owners Go from Cantonese to Szechuan

Falls Church Severn Corners Seven Corners Center Chinese Szechuan The Liu Family

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#1 Vince

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 05:37 PM

Hong Kong Palace has been a wonderful source of Hong Kong-style Chinese food for the last couple of years. But the restaurant of last week is no more.

In its place is Hong Kong Palace, a place of the same name but with some major changes. The kitchen is now staffed with a pair of Chengdu-trained Szechuan chefs (part owners!) who seem to know what they are doing. Yes, the restaurant has some rough spots that might be expected in any place that has just changed hands in the past week, but it appears to be very promising.

We stopped by last night expecting typical HK fare, but were surprised by all the new faces for the staff. The real change came we asked for the Chinese Menu, and we were handed a total different menu from the one we had seen in the past. It was brimming with all manner of Szechuan-style dishes. Speaking with our waiter then made things clear. The previous owners had sold the restaurant and the new owners were heading in a different direction, cuisine-wise.

As we continued to speak with the waiter we considered that this new place might have promise. We decided to share the Chengdu Spicy Cold Noodles for appetizer and ordered the Ma Po To Fu and Sliced Pork with Dried Bean Curd for dinner.

What we received were very fine renditions of classic Szechuan fare! If there were any complaints they centered around our inability to convince the waiter (and chef?) that we wanted the food spiced authentically. While there was some heat and numbing character in the entrees, it was just a little short of what we had come to expect from the best of the local Szechuan restuarants, such as Joe's Noodle House (in Rockville).

We will be definitely be going back, and I suspect that with a little effort we will be able to get the kitchen to pull out all the stops and make the dishes with the bold flavors that is the hallmark of classic Szechuan food.

I would be interested to hear reports from others.

Vince



#2 Jacques Gastreaux

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 06:04 PM

Hey Vince, welcome to DR.com. Great first post; keep 'em coming.
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#3 Vince

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Posted 02 December 2006 - 06:27 PM

Hey Vince, welcome to DR.com. Great first post; keep 'em coming.

Thanks JG!

#4 crackers

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 10:18 PM

Here is a link to the menu until the restaurant gets its website up and running. Thanks to Wayne Kaiser, who posted it on chowhound.com and also provided a good early report.
Tequila, scorpion honey, harsh dew of the doglands, essence of Aztec, crema de cacti; tequila, oily and thermal like the sun in solution; tequila, liquid geometry of passion; Tequila, the buzzard god who copulates in midair with the ascending souls of dying virgins; tequila, firebug in the house of good taste; O tequila, savage water of sorcery, what confusion and mischief your sly, rebellious drops do generate!

#5 JimRice

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 11:46 AM

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) and I had lunch here yesterday. The food was good, and we'll be investigating the menu more closely in the coming months.

When we sat down, the manager (I think, maybe an owner too) asked us if we wanted the 'typical' menu, printed like a takeout menu, or the 'traditional' menu in binders. Not knowing which was which, I told him I had heard they made good Szechuan Chinese, so whichever of the menus had that. "Ah, you want the traditional!" he said happily and gave us the binders.

The manager also asked us if we had seen the pictures on e-mail. I told him we hadn't. Apparently there was a large group of non-Chinese in recently ordering a lot of stuff and taking pictures of it. They told him they were going to e-mail it to their friends. If anyone knows where those are, I'd appreciate a link.

While we were waiting for our food to come out, the manager brought over a small dish with boiled peanuts with five flavors and a little pickled vegetable. The peanuts were good, nothing at all like southern boiled peanuts, still firm but infused with five spice flavors. The pickled veggie was thin strips of something (either radish or stems of cabbage or some other veg) in a sauce that reminded me of kimchee. Both were tasty treats.

Wontons with spicy tasty sauce were very good, not as much broth as the Peter Cheng variety, but more concentrated. Make sure you stir them around in the sauce. Scallion pancake was your typical scallion pancake, good for soaking up the sauce. We asked about the fish filet and vegetable in spicy broth, and the manager(?) suggested we get the fish and tofu flower in spicy broth, same sauce but tastier if you like tofu. It was good but I prefer firm to soft tofu. Next time I'll just get the fish and veg instead. It wasn't as spicy as H20 at Joe's, but was the same type of preparation. (Note - this is what Fuchsia Dunlop describes as beef boiled in fiery broth in "Land of Plenty".) We also asked about twice-cooked pork with green beans, and the manager explained that it was with fatty pork (I assume pork belly) and if we liked fatty pork, we'd like this. We talked about it and decided on another dish with thin slices of pork belly that were cooked a little longer in the wok to render more of the fat out, with red bell peppers, what appeared to be green finger hot peppers, and onions stir-fried together. I think the menu described it as sliced pork with chiles. This was a highlight of the meal. The pork belly was sliced thin, and the fat was crisp on the edges.

As the meal was coming to the end, and we were getting our leftovers boxed up for taking home, we were already planning our next trip. I'll be bringing our camera too. It deserves more attention.

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#6 Lydia R

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 03:09 PM

The manager also asked us if we had seen the pictures on e-mail. I told him we hadn't. Apparently there was a large group of non-Chinese in recently ordering a lot of stuff and taking pictures of it. They told him they were going to e-mail it to their friends. If anyone knows where those are, I'd appreciate a link....<snip>...I'll be bringing our camera too. It deserves more attention.

I was in the Friday lunch group "Tom" described to you. It was a great meal - field report. At lunch, we discussed if it was appropriate to post about the restaurant because it would be more easily overrun than China Gourmet/Sichuan Boy.

Please note: our group of seven was a tight squeeze at their largest table (it had a Lazy Susan) and there were only about 6 other tables (mainly 4 tops) in the restaurant. Hong Kong Palace may be too small to accommodate one of our standard DR group meals. This restaurant deserves good business, but not the "smother it in the cradle" kind.

The kitchen is now staffed with a pair of Chengdu-trained Szechuan chefs (part owners!) who seem to know what they are doing. Yes, the restaurant has some rough spots that might be expected in any place that has just changed hands in the past week, but it appears to be very promising.

Thanks for your information and crosspost. Are there other Chinese restaurants you can recommend?

"I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to life for." Lou Gehrig 1939

 


#7 Vince

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 06:38 PM

Thanks for your information and crosspost. Are there other Chinese restaurants you can recommend?


I keep looking...

Oriental Gourmet's (N. Harrison St, just North of Lee Hwy) Chinese menu has some good Szechuan dishes, but I have found it very difficult to get the staff to translate to the chef my desire for the authentic bold spicing that is the heart Szechuan cooking. As I work my way through Fushia Dunlop's great cookbook, I find myself becoming much more critical of many local restaurants.

HKP is not perfect, but is is one of the best locally (Arlington/Falls Church). I still prefer Joe's Noodle House, but that is a long trip for most everyday meals.

Vince

#8 jparrott

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 06:41 PM

Some people have been high on Sichuan Village in Chantilly. I work a few blocks from there, but no one wants to go try it (and I'd like to go with a Mandarin speaker/someone more confident than I in ordering).

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#9 johnb

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 07:46 PM

The manager also asked us if we had seen the pictures on e-mail. I told him we hadn't. Apparently there was a large group of non-Chinese in recently ordering a lot of stuff and taking pictures of it. They told him they were going to e-mail it to their friends. If anyone knows where those are, I'd appreciate a link.

The pictures are linked in the Chowhound thread started by Steve which Lydia linked earlier. If that is too complicated, here is a direct link:


http://picasaweb.goo...570716745731170

#10 JimRice

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 10:06 AM

Thanks for the links. I hope they don't get burned out or overcrowded there as well.

So, who's going to be the first one to try and report back on the Ox Penis?

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Overheard at Clyde's: "Cantaloupe? It's like the banana of the melon family!"


#11 Saycheese

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 11:51 AM

Could someone please post the address of this restaurant. Thanks very much!

#12 Lydia R

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 01:00 PM

Could someone please post the address of this restaurant. Thanks very much!

It was in both Tyler Cowan's guide and had its own website before the change in ownership (website doesn't look updated): 6387 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 703-532-0940 - off Route 7 past Seven Corners headed towards Alexandria and in the Shoppers Food Warehouse shopping center.

"I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to life for." Lou Gehrig 1939

 


#13 chazas

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 04:36 PM

Great find! We had lunch there the Saturday before Xmas. It was almost empty when we arrived about noon, but there not a free table when we left at 1. We were asked how spicy we wanted our food, and asked for it to be spicy. I think that our request was heeded. I remember eating at a Szechuan restaurant in Beijing where the food was so hot and I was sweating so much my hair was matted - and the other patrons were giggling at us. It wasn't quite that spicy, but did come close.

The meal started with complimentary 5-spice soybeans, a nice touch.

We officially started with the Spicy Szechuan Beef Tendon, a nice cold dish that appeared to be very popular - we saw it going to a lot of other tables. Spicy hot, but not unbearably so.

For our mains, we split three dishes between the two of us. That's standard practice for us at authentic Chinese restuaurants when we're hungry, but here it was just too much. The portions were quite large, and we had too much food on the table.

For me, the highlight of the meal was Fried Chicken with Dry Chili Peppers. This was fried boneless chicken chunks, dipped in tons of ground Szechuan peppercorns, stir fried with dried red peppers and sliced, unseeded jalapenos. This dish came the closest to making my head sweat - and clearly made my mouth tingle, so much that I finally had to stop, even though I would have liked to eat more. I suspect that I'm grateful for the use of jalapenos rather than something hotter.

We also had the Twice Cooked Pork with Dry Long Bean. I was ready for the belly pork, which a prevous poster reported - and it was delicious. I was also expecting the long beans to be dry fried - basically, stir fried until they were wrinkled. I was surprised to get some kind of long bean that clearly had been dried and then reconstituted. They were very dark in color, and a little sweet - very unusual and very good. The dish had a nice flavor of hot bean sauce but wasn't too spicy at all, a very refined flavor. It was quite oily, however.

Finally, we had the Stir-Fried Pumpkin, which was a huge plate of shredded squash of some kind, in a very mild, light sauce. Very simple, but very cooling after the other dishes.

We're definitely going back - I'm even willing to try the "Ox P" and will also try to get some translation help for the specials on the wall.

#14 Sthitch

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 11:49 PM

I have missed all of the previous attempts at authentic Sichuan around the area. This was mostly because my wife is a wimp when it comes to hot foods. With a large dose of pouting, I convinced her to give it a try. The deal was that for every hot dish we ordered that we would order one that was not.

As we approached the restaurant, I quickly noticed that we would be the only non-Asians in the restaurant, always a good sign. We were greeted by the affable owner who excitedly asked "traditional menu?". He was very happy that we said yes. He brought the menus and immediately apologized for any misspellings. Yes, there were some, but I doubt I would have even noticed if he had not mentioned it. I tried to convince my wife to get the bull frog, but to no avail, so we decided on the scallion pancake and the tangy wontons (one of the misspelled items). Alas, they were out of the pancake, so we asked what he recommended, he suggested the tea smoked duck. The wontons were as good as described above, and I would definitely order these again, but they need the oil and/or the pepper to complete the dish. The tea smoked duck was fabulous, not only was the skin nicely seasoned with he smoke, but deeper into the meat other spices showed themselves.

For our entrees we decided on the Chicken with Pickled Vegetables and the Twice Cooked Pork. The owner was happy that we ordered the pork, and explained that it was fatty, and made just like in China. The Chicken was not marked as being hot, but it was. Oh was it hot, it made the pork seem like a bowl of ice cream. The flavor was fabulous, and the texture of the chicken was sublime. But damn was it hot. The twice cooked pork with long beans was fantastic. The meat was good and fatty (as advertised) and as Chavas wrote, the beans were quite unusual. These were the favorite part of the meal for my wife. Personally, I liked the pork better than the beans, but then again, I am far more of a carnivore than she is.

I want to go back again tomorrow night and explore more of the menu, but I doubt that I am going to be able to convince my wife to make a return trip for another few weeks.

#15 porcupine

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 07:54 AM

A small group of us met for lunch at Hong Kong Palace, and I have to report that the Cumin Beef was the tastiest dish I've had at a Chinese restaurant in a long, long time. The beef itself was still juicy*, and the balance of cumin and Szechuan peppercorn was just right: hot and numbing enough to make your mouth water without killing your tastebuds, teasing you to keep tasting just one more bite to figure out what those other flavors are. Also outstanding was the snow pea leaves with garlic. I would brave the onerous trip through Seven Corners at any time to eat these two dishes again.

*I know that beef is cooked all the way through in Chinese cuisines, but I usually find it too tough and dry to stomach

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#16 JimRice

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 02:56 PM

I take it nobody's tried the "Ox P" yet? Oh well, neither have I. But I finally got back there last night. mainly because Barb and I were too tired to cook and I had just looked at Tyler Cowen's page and saw the pictures of the food he had.

Tyler Cowen's page on Hong Kong Palace

So, we had the cumin lamb, Chengdu style kung pao chicken, szechuan dried beef, and scallion pancake. All were as good as everyone else has said. The hottest one was the dried beef, which had us sweating before diving into the relative comfort of the kung pao chicken and cumin lamb.

I've got to make this a regular stop, the food is just too good to be ignored.

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Overheard at Clyde's: "Cantaloupe? It's like the banana of the melon family!"


#17 Sthitch

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 11:27 AM

The Chengdu style kung pao chicken was one of the best Chinese dishes I have ever had. Every bite made my happy. One thing that I have not seen mentioned on this thread was the quality of the rice that is served with the entrees is a step above that at other Chinese restaurants in the area. But this all makes their choice of soy sauce all the more perplexing, nowhere on the ingredient list do you find soy mentioned.

#18 Heather

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 02:21 PM

I had lunch here with a couple of friends today and tried a few of the spicy dishes. I don't have a lot of time to spend on this post, but had to make two comments:

1. the spicy noodle soup with intestine is terrific, and a terrific bargain at $7.
2. the cumin lamb there is the best cumin lamb I've ever had.

#19 V.H.

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 03:37 PM

Goldenticket and I had lunch there earlier this week and were very impressed with the quality of the food. We started with the tangy spicy wonton. We had ordered this dish at Temptasian where it was tiny wontons in a large bowl of tangy spicy broth. At Hong Kong Palace, the wontons are bigger, less delicate, but absolutely delicious when swiped in the slick of spicy oil and sauce that cover the bottom of the plate. From there, we moved onto the Twice Cooked Pork with Dry Long Bean and the Old Buddha's Braised pork. The Twice Cooked Pork was very good but the braised pork was a stunner. It was small chunks of very fatty pork braised with peppers and dried shitakes in a fragrant brown stew. The five spice flavors complemented it without being overpowering and every bite was luscious with all that good fatty porkness. I think you could stew shoelaces in this sauce and they would be amazing.

Because my 4 yr old was with us, we also ordered the bbq pork with snow peas off of the americanized menu for her. Unlike many places, the bbq pork here was juicy and tender, showing that the restaurant's attention to quality does not lie solely within its traditional menu. The only downside to this place is the service. They have a small staff and probably only one or two people back in the kitchen. This quality food does not come out quickly so you should plan for that if you're eating with kids or a large group.

I went back there today to get some takeout and talked to the hostess about the tank of live tilapia in the back. She pointed out that the fish were prepared whole on the menu in three different ways, including a whole fried fish served with a spicy black bean sauce. I had already placed my order for the chengdu kung pao chicken (spicy! awesome! not like other places!) but now I know what to get the next time I'm there.

#20 JimRice

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 08:56 PM

Mapo Tofu travels well, and tonights may be the best we've ever had. Also, the beef with pickled vegetable (mostly cabbage) is an unsung hero, one that cools and soothes before you get another spoonful of the spicy stuff. With BiscuitGirl having a pinched nerve in her neck and us not going out for dinner, we'll be getting takeout from here weekly at least.

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Overheard at Clyde's: "Cantaloupe? It's like the banana of the melon family!"


#21 Toby

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 08:23 PM

Had lunch at Hong Kong Palace today and I am already planning to go back. The dry beef appetizer was amazing. Served cold in a dark, spicy sauce topped with sesame seeds the delightfully chewy meat had a haunting taste of cinnamon (5 spice?) that was not overpowered by the hot spices. Ma po tofu was exemplary, cumin lamb was the best rendition I have ever had. The ish with vegetable in spicy broth was quite good. The spicy wontons good but not up to Peter Cheng's or some wonderful ones we had in London. To top it off the service was absolutely delightful, the waitress spoke English and was very accommodating. We ordered our food prepared with the traditional spiciness and the result was perfect, hot but not overwhelming.

#22 Ilaine

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 04:38 PM

We ordered so much food at Hong Kong Palace last night they let us have one of the big tables. Really good, better than China Star, better than Temptasian. Cumin lamb lives up to the recommendations.

I'm just here for the chow.


#23 Antonio Burrell

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 10:13 PM

i really want to like this place as it is much closer than JNH but after my first visit, ithink i'll pass. I have been craving chili, chili, chili and wanted some schezuan crispy beef. Ordered some here, specified that I didn't want it to be sweet and that I wanted it as hot as they could make it. Unfortunately it was still sweet, no dried chilis, no schezuan pepper; the saving grace was that it was very, very crispy, which I loved. The dumplings with chili oil were flat, wet and flavorless. I wish my experience mirrored others here, and I'll probably try again if in the area, but for great schezuan, I'll probably stick to JNH. On the plus side, the service was great and the Lo Mein my wife ordered was as good a rendition as I've ever had.

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#24 StephenB

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 02:22 PM

i really want to like this place as it is much closer than JNH but after my first visit, ithink i'll pass. I have been craving chili, chili, chili and wanted some schezuan crispy beef. Ordered some here, specified that I didn't want it to be sweet and that I wanted it as hot as they could make it. Unfortunately it was still sweet, no dried chilis, no schezuan pepper; the saving grace was that it was very, very crispy, which I loved. The dumplings with chili oil were flat, wet and flavorless. I wish my experience mirrored others here, and I'll probably try again if in the area, but for great schezuan, I'll probably stick to JNH. On the plus side, the service was great and the Lo Mein my wife ordered was as good a rendition as I've ever had.

Antonio, Melony says the next time you're there you should speak with her when you order.
--What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?
--Why then the beef, and let the mustard rest.
--Nay, then I will not; you shall have the mustard,
Or else you get no beef of Grumio.
--Why then the mustard without the beef.
_________________Taming of the Shrew

Conscience freed from every clog,
Mahometans eat up the hog.
________________ William Cowper, 1779

#25 Twinsdaddy

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 04:31 PM

i really want to like this place as it is much closer than JNH but after my first visit, ithink i'll pass. I have been craving chili, chili, chili and wanted some schezuan crispy beef. Ordered some here, specified that I didn't want it to be sweet and that I wanted it as hot as they could make it. Unfortunately it was still sweet, no dried chilis, no schezuan pepper; the saving grace was that it was very, very crispy, which I loved. The dumplings with chili oil were flat, wet and flavorless. I wish my experience mirrored others here, and I'll probably try again if in the area, but for great schezuan, I'll probably stick to JNH. On the plus side, the service was great and the Lo Mein my wife ordered was as good a rendition as I've ever had.

You want hot? Try the tiger skin peppers. Make sure you have a bottle of beer handy.

In my experience crispy beef is not what I'd order if I wanted a spicy dish. Please give it another try and let the server (I don't know Melony personally but might as well seek her advice) offer some suggestions.

For a few cell-phone photos of a meal my brother and I shared at HKP, go to his entertaining blog, EatWells LiveWells, http://www.eatwellsl...-church-va.html

"Consider the source" -- Jim Bouton, Ball Four.


#26 StephenB

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 11:45 AM

Escoffier, Grover and I arrived yesterday, Saturday, at 5:30 when only one other table was occupied. By the time we left an hour later, the place was teeming, with several people waiting on line. The place has definitely been discovered by the local Chinese community. We had the sliced pork with garlic sauce, the spicy wontons, that crispy chicken with dried chili that's advertised in Mandarin on the wall (luckily, Grover can read it), and the fish in hot, peppery broth, which they refused to admit is a soup. Thus we had to ask for soup bowls. Then we had to ask for soup spoons. What is the problem anyway? The only other way to consume it would have been with a straw. Anyway, everything was spiced to the max, and made us happy (and me sweaty). Moral: Joe's Noodle House doesn't know about noodles and Hong Kong Palace is far afield, tastewise, from Hong Kong. But good.
--What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?
--Why then the beef, and let the mustard rest.
--Nay, then I will not; you shall have the mustard,
Or else you get no beef of Grumio.
--Why then the mustard without the beef.
_________________Taming of the Shrew

Conscience freed from every clog,
Mahometans eat up the hog.
________________ William Cowper, 1779

#27 StephenB

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 06:19 PM

The chef has just returned from Szechuan and is augmenting the menu. Unfortunately, none of the new stuff is in English. It's up on pastel sheets on the wall. Today, with the help of Melony (who runs the place), we ordered:

--Squid with garlic sauce.

--Fish in broth with vegetables and peppercorns

--Preserved pork (ultimate bacon)

More than enough for two people, enough for significant carryout.

Melony says she can't do an English translation because the list changes every day. I might contend that it's no more energy than writing it in Cantonese. But I'm too busy working my chopsticks.
--What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?
--Why then the beef, and let the mustard rest.
--Nay, then I will not; you shall have the mustard,
Or else you get no beef of Grumio.
--Why then the mustard without the beef.
_________________Taming of the Shrew

Conscience freed from every clog,
Mahometans eat up the hog.
________________ William Cowper, 1779

#28 ema

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 09:02 AM

I have been to this restaurant several times and its always crowded with Chinese families. The food at Hong Kong Palace is not as spicy as some of the other Sichun restaurants I have been to, such as Lao Sichuan in Chicago. http://www.laoszechuan.com/menu.htm Its possible for me to order all spicy dishes and not need any none spicy dishes in between to balance the flavors. I haven't had anything bad there, but for almost every dish I tried, I have had a better version in either Chicago or Ann Arbor. For example, Lao Sichuan had better water cooked fish, the broth was spicier, more flavorful, and the fish was more tender. Middle Kingdom in Ann Arbor had better fish with bean curd flower (bean curd flower means very soft tofu, but Hong Kong Palace uses medium firm tofu) and Sichuan cold noodle.

The two dishes I liked the most in HKP are Corn and egg yolk and Fei Teng fish. Corn and egg yolk was a surprisingly good dish. The kernels were sweet and juicy on the inside and crunchy and eggy on the outside. You can't get this dish to go because the steam inside the container will destroy the crunchiness of each kernel. Fei Teng fish used to be a special on the wall, which has no English translations, but now they put it on the menu due to popular demands. Its basically a live tailapia from the tank, hacked to pieces, and boiled with a spicy hot pot like broth. The fish is savory and tender and its a dish that I saw alot of tables ordered.

Next time, I am going to try the fried fish with peanut and the kong pao chicken. Saw several tables ordering fish with peanut and it looked very intriguing. I like to order my food and constantly look at other tables and figure out what I am going to savor next time. :lol:

#29 JimRice

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 08:28 PM

I was there tonight, and noticed they had a new webpage. Hong Kong Palace Maybe next time I'll get something other than kung pao chicken and mapo tofu. Then again, maybe not. Yum.

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#30 SeanMike

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 10:58 PM

Nice music. Thank goodness for AdBlock! :lol:

I'm going to do my best to hit it this weekend.

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#31 StephenB

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 06:12 PM

On Christmas day, four mixed non-Christians sneaked in before the flood at 5:30, and ingested:

A 4 tangy spicy wonton
preserved pork (special)
fish in broth with vegetables and peppercorns (special)
C 33 chengdu smoking tea duck
C 2 ma po tofu
C 20 spicy sichuan ribs
pan fried celery & wooden ear mushroom

This is what I will order on the eve of execution.
--What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?
--Why then the beef, and let the mustard rest.
--Nay, then I will not; you shall have the mustard,
Or else you get no beef of Grumio.
--Why then the mustard without the beef.
_________________Taming of the Shrew

Conscience freed from every clog,
Mahometans eat up the hog.
________________ William Cowper, 1779

#32 StephenB

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 09:18 PM

13 people showed up at HKP. Here's what we had:

tangy spicy wonton (2 orders)
preserved pork (special) (2 orders)
beef & beef tendon with szechuan spicy sauce(2 orders)
fried dry fish with peanut(2 orders)
spicy oil-touched chicken(2 orders)

steamed cod fish with ginger & green onion(2 orders)
chicken with hot garlic sauce
beef with vegetable in peppery broth
chengdu smoking tea duck(2 orders)
ma po tofu
spicy sichuan ribs
pan fried celery & wooden ear mushroom(2 orders)
cumin lamb(2 orders)
stir-fried sliced pork with chili pepper
garlic flavor fried flounder

It was exactly the right amount, neither too much nor too little. We paid $25 pp. I hope the attendees will say what they liked best.
--What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?
--Why then the beef, and let the mustard rest.
--Nay, then I will not; you shall have the mustard,
Or else you get no beef of Grumio.
--Why then the mustard without the beef.
_________________Taming of the Shrew

Conscience freed from every clog,
Mahometans eat up the hog.
________________ William Cowper, 1779

#33 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 11:18 PM

Thank you Stephen for doing the legwork. 15 dishes in any one evening is stupendous. These are my takes on the food:

tangy spicy wonton - not necessarily a starter to a big meal, wontons can be a meal in itself
preserved pork - cured pork with plenty of fat, stir-fried (not for weight watchers)
beef & beef tendon with szechuan spicy sauce - tripe and beef with tendon, marinated in hot sauce and served cold
fried dry fish with peanut - tiny little fish, about an inch long each, fried crispy without batter, you can taste the fish but it's not overwhelming
spicy oil-touched chicken - skin and bone, tender, but not very spicy or flavorful.

steamed cod fish with ginger & green onion - nicely done, not fishy, this recipe goes with many types of fish, many times with whole fish
chicken with hot garlic sauce - didn't try
beef with vegetable in peppery broth - (water cooked beef in Chinese), beef stewed with napa cabbage in a spicy star anise broth, also available as a delicious fish dish (I've had it a Jasmine Gardne and Peking Village)
chengdu smoking tea duck - duck with skin and bone (poultry is always well done in Chinese cooking)
ma po tofu - a good version, definitely try it if you like tofu
spicy sichuan ribs - I've never had this before, a little overcooked and not much flavor to me
pan fried celery & wooden ear mushroom - I like veggies but I've never had this combination....lightly stir-fried
cumin lamb - intro to Sichuan cuisine, you gotta try it, then try the cumin fish at HKP
stir-fried sliced pork with chili pepper - this is chinese comfort food, nothing fancy, just tender pork stir fried with spicy pepper, the spiciness makes you eat rice and get filled up (that's what yo mama wants you to do)
garlic flavor fried flounder - nice batter and great frying, could use a little more pepper in the batter....serve this with fries and and they can serve this in the UK (you can say I'm comparing apples to oranges but how many people have had English fish and chips but never had Chinese filet o' fish?)

#34 catharine

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 09:07 AM

A great meal last night. Thanks, all!

Cumin lamb is always one of my top picks and it didn't disappoint last night. I plan to follow Eric's suggestion to try the cumin fish next time. My new favorites from last night are the Garlic Fried Flounder (which is almost as good as my favorite Salt and Pepper Shrimp) and the Spicy Sichuan Ribs. I really enjoyed the steamed cod more than I expected to, and the tea-smoked duck was also a nice surprise.

#35 Tweaked

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 10:31 AM

The winners for me were:

Cumin Lamb
cod dish
beef (tripe) & beef tenderloin
preserved pork (think bacon)
spicy riblets
tea smoked duck
stir fried pork with chili pepper.

well worth the trip over the river.
Meat is Murder...Tasty Tasty Murder

#36 u-bet!

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 10:57 AM

Pics?

#37 DanielK

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 12:14 PM

Pics?

I didn't notice anyone taking pictures.

I thought most of the dishes were very good. A couple of misses - the spicy oil-touched chicken was bland, and the chicken with hot garlic sauce was too sweet. Overall, the heat level wasn't high enough - I think they toned it down for us.

If I had to choose, I still think that Joe's Noodle House does a better job with many of the dishes that we had, but for the NoVa folks it's a good substitute for the drive to Rockville!

#38 ema

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 01:48 PM

I wish I was there. Was the steamed cod nice and tender like the ones in Cantonese restaurants?

#39 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:37 PM

I wish I was there. Was the steamed cod nice and tender like the ones in Cantonese restaurants?

I think Miu Kee did the cod a little better on the tenderness front on my last visit there. It could've been the particularly fish, the timing, etc. The fish last night was very flavorful.

#40 Twinsdaddy

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 11:27 AM

Glad to see HKP has some new fans. One note: For anyone who thinks HKP's food is not spicy enough/toned down, etc., try the tiger skin peppers. You won't complain anymore.

"Consider the source" -- Jim Bouton, Ball Four.


#41 deangold

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 09:39 PM

Kay & I used Super Bowl Sunday as an excuse for a lazy mid afternoon lunch at Hong Kong Palace. After actually finding the place without misadventure, we over ordered yet managed to polish off most of it. The result is a desire to go back and try some more.

We started with cucumber in sauce, an inauspicious start: a pile of cucumber sliced with a jazzed up hoisin sauce dip. Nothing special. The fried dried fish with peanuts was a much better dish, although I prefer the Taiwanese version at bobs with more flavors from the seaweed addition. Our third started was the boiled dumplings in spicy sauce. I found the dumplings a bit doughy and the bowl too small to allow for the dumplings to really soak in the sauce. After the three apps, I was thinking what's the big deal? Then the entrees came and I found out!

We had the chicken with the crunchy peppers. The peppers are filled with a peanut & sesame crunchy candy and add a sweet hotness to the dish that was just addictive. This was superb! Even better was the fish with vegetables, also from the untranslated dishes on the wall. Similar in appearance to H20 from Joe's. this was fried flounder in a brown sauce atop a pile various veggies including something pickled. The amazing thing of this dish was how the flavor changed with every bite. These two dishes had us stuffing our faces, sweating and gulping beer and wishing we had brought friends so we could have ordered more!

Usually I go for Sichuan for the small plates especially, and here it was the entrees that made the day. A great find and thanks to the many posters who have talked up this place enough to make me want to venture into the Bermuda's Triangle that is 7 corners.

Dean Gold ~ Chef/Owner Dino's Grotto

1914 Ninth Street NW

Metro Green/Yellow Shaw Howard or U/Cardozo

Pay Parking Lots: 7th & T ~ U between 9th & 10th

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#42 deangold

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 07:56 PM

A late lunch today and another mixed bag...

Starter of wood ear mushroom salad a wondrous garlicky mix tangy with vinegar and some sort of bean/nut overtone was superb. The chopped chicken with green and red pepper and corn was a plate of lots of frozen or fresh but not fresh corn, a very salty/soy dominated chopped chicken base that was slightly greasy. Good but nothing to go our of the way for.

So far, my experiences are when HHP hits the, its out of the park (having screwed the thirdbaseman, Madonna or the pooch I know not :P) but when it doesn't, its just OK and certainly not worth the while of taking on the dangers of driving in Virginia and that Bermuda's Triangle known as 7 Corners! But I will be back to see more of the home run hitting contest!

Dean Gold ~ Chef/Owner Dino's Grotto

1914 Ninth Street NW

Metro Green/Yellow Shaw Howard or U/Cardozo

Pay Parking Lots: 7th & T ~ U between 9th & 10th

Dino's Grotto In Shaw
Dino's Grotto on Twitter
Dino's Grotto on Facebook

 


#43 goodeats

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:52 PM

Starter of wood ear mushroom salad a wondrous garlicky mix tangy with vinegar and some sort of bean/nut overtone was superb.

Wood ears are hard to compliment as they tend to acquire a very slimy texture if not done well, as evinced at the DR.com dinner of "wood ear with celery" dish. I've seen it worked mainly in herbal soups when it would take on the medicinal flavor, but otherwise, have seen many a misses with its misuse. I would avoid here in the future, even though it sounds like you will.
Taste. Feel. Be comforted.

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#44 StephenB

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 06:20 PM

At lunch today, Melony the Manager volunteered that on January 29, when a baker's dozen of us convened there, she was off duty, and the woman who was taking her place confessed subsequently that the group seemed to be uninspired by the spice level of the servings. It's true that the Scoville Scale was down a bit from what I'm used to at that place. This is not to say that the food was bland, only that it could have been kicked up a notch. Anyway, the woman in question is now gone, and Melony promises that dishes will not be dumbed down, even a little, when she recognizes us. Of course we all understand that extreme Szechuan food is not palatable to everyone who frequents the restaurant. So we just need to say we're from the rockwell group -- or flash our membership card. And let the peppers erupt.

As if to balance the equation, the tilapia bathed in a variety of spices, and the jumbo shriimp with garlic and cumin, brought tears to my eyes, mostly but not all of joy.
--What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?
--Why then the beef, and let the mustard rest.
--Nay, then I will not; you shall have the mustard,
Or else you get no beef of Grumio.
--Why then the mustard without the beef.
_________________Taming of the Shrew

Conscience freed from every clog,
Mahometans eat up the hog.
________________ William Cowper, 1779

#45 deangold

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 08:25 AM

Third meal here. They are open till 11 on Friday and Saturday night and we closed the place on Friday.

The sublime: spicy Sichuan dry beef: somewhere between Joe's beef jerky and the crispy beef in style. Just beef, thick sauce clinging to said beef, sesame seeds. Exceedingly hot and lovely.

bacon from the special menu: smoky dense bacon with peppers- red, green & hot green), black beans & some other veggies. Great flavor, very reminiscent of the dishes I used to feast on at Henry's Hunan & Brandy Ho's in SF many years ago, but to my mind the sauce was not particularly Sichuan in style as it was a little runny and lighter than what I expect in sichuan style. Not a knock, just an observation.

Good: wood ear mushroom salad (cold). wood ears, chopped garlic, sesame oil) first bites nice, then it seemed a little boring. Made a nice refresher for the beef. If it had more galic it would have been better.

Miss: fish fillet soup with sour cabbage. Advertized as hot and was not. Needed more sour veggie and more heat. The broth was pretty watery. The H25 at Joe's kills this one.

HKP continues to be a mixed bag to me but one I will continue to explore. There are some absolutely killer dishes, some dishs miss and some are in between. They are super friendly and, important for me, open late. With a few more visits our roster of dishes we like will be large enough to allow for a good rotation. If placed in the middle and have the choice of Joe's and HKP, I would probably pick Joe's a majority of the time, but HKP would get definite play. But when in the general area, it is one of my top four Asian: Honey Pig, Od Gad Jib, HKP and Il Mee Buffet in that order. Another trip to Temp Asian may make that a top 5 list.

Dean Gold ~ Chef/Owner Dino's Grotto

1914 Ninth Street NW

Metro Green/Yellow Shaw Howard or U/Cardozo

Pay Parking Lots: 7th & T ~ U between 9th & 10th

Dino's Grotto In Shaw
Dino's Grotto on Twitter
Dino's Grotto on Facebook

 


#46 goodeats

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 09:56 AM

Good: wood ear mushroom salad (cold). wood ears, chopped garlic, sesame oil) first bites nice, then it seemed a little boring. Made a nice refresher for the beef. If it had more galic it would have been better.

I find wood ear is best used in soups or stews. I don't think it's really meant for salads, due to its slippery, slimey texture, which is also why I have found this dish to be an odd pairing on their menu.

ETA: I just asked my Sichuan colleague (hence the strikeout) and he said that they usually add hot/chili oil, chopped garlic, cilantro, shredded ginger, vinegar, sugar (a touch), and soy sauce (he also said the soy, sesame oil, or vinegar are optional. Just whatever you would like in the "chilled" meals).

Edited by goodeats, 19 July 2009 - 09:59 AM.

Taste. Feel. Be comforted.

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Oh ply me with barley,
Or ply me with rye,
Just don't expect to hear
A coherent goodbye.

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#47 StephenB

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 10:08 AM

Lunching solo, I tried the shredded pork with pickled vegetables and was glad I did. It was not marked as spicy but it could have been.
--What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?
--Why then the beef, and let the mustard rest.
--Nay, then I will not; you shall have the mustard,
Or else you get no beef of Grumio.
--Why then the mustard without the beef.
_________________Taming of the Shrew

Conscience freed from every clog,
Mahometans eat up the hog.
________________ William Cowper, 1779

#48 RWBooneJr.

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 12:22 PM

Anyone looking to experience the wonderful numbing sensation created by real Sichuan pepercorns should try the Chengdu Kung Pao Chicken. It sounds, and looks, like the typical Americanized version. But the subtle, carmel sweetness of the chicken shows it to be much more, and also proves to be the perfect vehicle to showcase the pepercorns.

#49 mame11

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 08:22 AM

On a rainy night, a friend and I headed to Hong Kong Palace. Even though it took forever to get home in the monsoon, the trip was worth it. Starving, I put in an order for Dan Dan Noodles as soon as we were seated. My friend asked what's that... I said a great way to experience the Schezwaun pepper. Unlike Joe's, their version did not disappoint. It was loaded with heat and pork. It was really a treat.

For our entrees we ordered the special crispy chicken that is on the Chinese board and Tea Smoked Duck. The chicken was outstanding and completely addictive. It is fried along with fried peppers of some kind which are actually sweet and edible. However, the Tea Smoked Duck was gross. I have had Tea Smoked Duck before and never been able to smell the smoke before it gets to the table. To me it smelled like it had been steeped in liquid smoke for days. The texture of the duck was off and it was cold. For the first time ever I sent a dish back in a Chinese restaurant. At first the manager (who is incredibly nice) wasn't sure why we didn't want it but then she touched a piece of the duck and understood. She suggested replacing it with cumin lamb (one of my faves) and I'm glad we did. It was incredible. It was well seasoned, and not over cooked. The little sauce that there was was a great addition to rice.

#50 Twinsdaddy

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 08:54 AM

On a rainy night, a friend and I headed to Hong Kong Palace. Even though it took forever to get home in the monsoon, the trip was worth it. Starving, I put in an order for Dan Dan Noodles as soon as we were seated. My friend asked what's that... I said a great way to experience the Schezwaun pepper. Unlike Joe's, their version did not disappoint. It was loaded with heat and pork. It was really a treat.

For our entrees we ordered the special crispy chicken that is on the Chinese board and Tea Smoked Duck. The chicken was outstanding and completely addictive. It is fried along with fried peppers of some kind which are actually sweet and edible. However, the Tea Smoked Duck was gross. I have had Tea Smoked Duck before and never been able to smell the smoke before it gets to the table. To me it smelled like it had been steeped in liquid smoke for days. The texture of the duck was off and it was cold. For the first time ever I sent a dish back in a Chinese restaurant. At first the manager (who is incredibly nice) wasn't sure why we didn't want it but then she touched a piece of the duck and understood. She suggested replacing it with cumin lamb (one of my faves) and I'm glad we did. It was incredible. It was well seasoned, and not over cooked. The little sauce that there was was a great addition to rice.

Great plan B -- the cumin lamb at HKP is a great dish.

"Consider the source" -- Jim Bouton, Ball Four.






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