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Q - The Flagship Restaurant of Peter Chang, 4500 East-West Highway in Bethesda

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On 5/16/2017 at 3:52 AM, jasonc said:

they are called pineapple buns but they don't have pineapple in them!

Yeah, I think they are called "bolo bao" and sold in much larger form at most Asian bakeries in town.  I like the ones at Bread Corner just fine, but anyone ever traveling to Asia should try the ones at BreadTalk if possible.

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3 hours ago, MMM said:

 I always wonder when I'm unimpressed with restaurant food, that is supposed to be exceptional, whether I just ordered the wrong things.  

You ordered mostly from his "greatest hits" list so it's either your taste buds are screwy or the dishes weren't well seasoned. 

BTW, that dim sum platter pictured looks awful in terms of make-up.  Why so heavy on sweets?  If Peter ate that for lunch, he wouldn't be so slim.

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mtureck   
2 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

BTW, that dim sum platter pictured looks awful in terms of make-up.  Why so heavy on sweets?  If Peter ate that for lunch, he wouldn't be so slim.

I probably needed to add something to the pic for purpose of scale, but the buns were pretty small...maybe half the size of a normal pineapple bun, if not a little smaller.

It didn't make for a big lunch at all.

 

 

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2 hours ago, mtureck said:

I probably needed to add something to the pic for purpose of scale, but the buns were pretty small...maybe half the size of a normal pineapple bun, if not a little smaller.

It didn't make for a big lunch at all.

I wonder if a Chinese person ordered the dim sum platter, he/she would have received the same items.  I can easily spend $20 on dim sum by myself (that's without any leftovers).  $16 is to appease the budget conscious diners, but then you wouldn't get a whole lot of food.  I get it, running a restaurant is tough....people like me find reasons to bitch and moan.

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mtureck   
8 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I wonder if a Chinese person ordered the dim sum platter, he/she would have received the same items.  I can easily spend $20 on dim sum by myself (that's without any leftovers).  $16 is to appease the budget conscious diners, but then you wouldn't get a whole lot of food.  I get it, running a restaurant is tough....people like me find reasons to bitch and moan.

That's actually something I should have mentioned to them when they asked for input...not if a Chinese person would have gotten something else, but that I was a little disappointed that the selection was so mainstream. I was hoping there would be a little more uniqueness/flair.

Again, nitpicking here. I enjoyed it.

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Lydia R   

There's a "First Bite" review from Tom Sietsema. He relates mixed experiences that he thinks time will heal. The article includes photos, by Dayna Smith, of the PK Duck app and Coral Fish. The revelation, for me, is the dim sum on weekends (Tom doesn't comment on the weekday Dim Sum lunch box).

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Shaho   

Had a large group dinner in one of the private rooms last weekend. Didn't pay much attention to the main dining room, but the private rooms are nicely decorated, with space for 15-20 diners. Appetizers (Bubble Pancakes, Dry Fried Eggplant, Bamboo Fish) were good and largely the same as the Rockville location, maybe $1 more in price. Wasn't a fan of the Steamed Rice Flour Beef - the texture was mushy, meat was tough, and the flavors were more sour than savory - but the Peking Duck  was solid and fairly priced, and came with a few exceptionally sweet orange slices that worked surprisingly well in the pancake. The "Veggie Box" dish Tom mentioned was fantastic, a wonderful blend of various diced vegetables wrapped in tofu skin and served in a brown mushroom sauce. 

Our waitress recommended everyone order an individual entree rather than the normal Chinese family style meal, so I didn't have a chance to try too many dishes. The Kumquat Beef was similar to Black Pepper Beef, but didn't really mesh well with the kumquats, which were extremely sour on first bite, followed by a mellow sweetness. The Beef with Dill definitely did not come on a sizzling iron plate, and along with the Shrimp and Scallops dish was just sort of bland. The Guai Flavored Chicken Casserole was essentially a spicy Thai curry with added sour notes, and was good. Friends seemed to enjoy the Coral Fish, though the bit I tried was more batter than fish. Presentations were definitely a step up from the Rockville location, with elegant-looking traditional Chinese pots used for several of the dishes. Overall Q was a bit disappointing for the price point, but there are definitely some gems on the menu. I plan to come back at some point to try some of the other more exotic sounding dishes and their dim sum menu.

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On 5/17/2017 at 2:00 PM, silentbob said:

Yeah, I think they are called "bolo bao" and sold in much larger form at most Asian bakeries in town.  I like the ones at Bread Corner just fine, but anyone ever traveling to Asia should try the ones at BreadTalk if possible.

Are there Asian bakeries in Chinatown (DC) that you would recommend? I love pineapple buns, sesame balls, etc. and I know a few places in Chinatown have them, but I have fared badly just stopping into random places (couldn't find pineapple buns or sesame balls, and while I'm happy to try new treats, I got a mooncake that was utterly stodgy and not worth the indulgence, and another not very good bun or two).

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We had lunch here yesterday and I have little to add to what others have mentioned: the food is similar to the Rockville location, but somewhat more expensive. A few more options, particularly dim sum, which were solid but not stunning. There were also some service issues, nothing major but they seem to be still finding their feet a little. There were no dipping sauces for the dim sum - not sure if this was intentional.

I didn't love the decor - they hadn't opened the outside seating despite the nice weather, so we were sitting in a booth against a large, plain grey wall. 

All in all, a good option, but I wanted to like it more than I did. It is expensive without being opulent. I will go back to try a few new things on the menu, but so far I am not optimistic that this is going to be a more exciting place to eat than some of the places in Rockville.

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mtureck   
16 hours ago, chinarider said:

There were no dipping sauces for the dim sum - not sure if this was intentional.

I was given two sauces with my dim sum, a hot pepper oil, and a garlic sauce.

Sounds like a service issue.

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sandynva   

We had a wonderful brunch here yesterday. If you're an admirer of Chang's food, you should definitely go, and I say this as someone who was initially put off a bit by the prices and lukewarm reviews above. 

I go to the rockville location of peter chang often and the food i get there is all about ma la, cumin, coriander and a bit of sour. what surprised me (and my dining companions, who also like Chang's food) is how different what we had yesterday was, yet it was still great. we deliberately stayed away from ordering things we get at the other restaurants, and ended up focusing on the dim sum, which incidentally seems like it might be a better value than the dinner menu. for example, on the regular menu vegetable dumplings are $8 for 4, and duck bao are $7 for 2. i think the barbecue pork bao on the dim sum menu were $5. most of the dim sum items were $5-6 and you would get 2 larger items (like buns) or 3 smaller (vegetable rolls or soup dumplings). (apologies for not taking a picture of the dim sum menu) 

We ordered a lot, so much that i can['t remember it all, but this is what i do remember-

barbeque pork bao-i didn't have these but others enjoyed them

taro puffs, soup dumplings, hot and sour wontons--supposedly all excellent, though as these had meat i didn't try them. my companions said the texture on the taro was particularly good 

vegetable rolls--the soft noodle crepes filled with vegetables--most places only have meat versions, so i was very happy to have these, the chewy texture was great. 

vegetable and noodle stir fry--a simple stir fry of fresh vegetables with chewy broad noodles almost like the ones in drunken noodles--simple but lots of that fresh wok flavor, more so than any dish i can remember having recently. i don't know that i'd get these again--there are so many other things that were absolutely great and in general i prefer strong flavors to subtle--but these were very good for what they are. 

schezuan noodles--angel hair with a hot and numbing sauce with a nice note of sourness. very good. 

summer squash emerald noodle--GET THESE. green linguine with thin noodles of zucchini in a curry sauce. I add zucchini to pasta quite often to make it healthier. This was totally different--the ribbons of squash somehow made the noodles juicy and really contributed to the texture and the sauce was absolutely delicious. so good. 

vegetable dumplings (off the dinner menu)--the dumplings were very good, the translucent wrapper nicely chewy yet tender, and the dumplings flavorful, and came with two sauces, one chil garlic the other some sort of soy mustard thing that was delicious. 

vegetable box--as people have said this is great. i mostly enjoyed the sauce, which didn't taste of mushrooms as much as pure umami. the little envelopes of stuffed tofu skin are nice (though a little hard to cut) but the dominant flavor is that sauce, which even the mushroom haters liked. i think we all would've been happy to have a bunch of that sauce poured over anything. this is a pretty large plate, with four palm-size tofu envelopes and a lot of bok choi

The service was great, really friendly and attentive, and very solicitous of our infant, and when our waiter heard we were fans of the chef, he had him come out and meet us, which was so sweet. 

We'll be back again, and soon. 

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schulju   

A group of 5 of us (2 of my companions were from Southern China), tried Q for the first time Thursday night.  We all had positive impressions overall and wanted to return for the dim sum brunch.  This was a business dinner, so I didn't take any pictures.  Interestingly enough, the person picking up the tab thought the bill was very reasonable for the amount of food we had.  

We started with four of the dim sum appetizers.  I loved the texture of the Scallion Bubble Pancake when it arrived at the table, but it does get a bit greasy as it cools.  We all really enjoyed the Cilantro Fish Rolls, these were crispy and the cilantro gave them a pleasant flavor.  Pan Fried Pork Dumplings were good, a bit more gyoza than dumpling, but the meat had a very nice flavor.  The only appetizer we didn't love was the Joyful Pyramid Dumplings.  These were beautifully presented, each dumpling having a different color wrapper, but they were over-steamed and the wrappers were too soft.  They fell apart as you tried to remove them from the bamboo steamer.  

We reserved a whole duck.  I was a bit disappointed in the Peking Duck.  It was sliced very thickly, which means it was a bit greasy.  It also came to the table a barely warm.  (The duck is carved and plated in the kitchen.)  One of our party was quite late (almost 45 minutes) so I'm prepared to chalk this up to the kitchen having to hold the entree, but next time I'll only try the appetizer before I order the whole duck again.  

In addition to the 4 appetizers and the duck we ordered two entrees.  Perfect amount of food for 5 hungry people.  I loved the Fu Rong Chicken.  I am not one for really spicy dishes, so this was right up my alley.  The chicken absolutely melted in the mouth and there were a ton of bright, crisp veggies with the dish.  Highly recommend for those that want to retain some of their stomach lining.  My colleagues absolutely loved the Hot and Numbing Fish in Clay Pot.  This dish arrives at the table boiling hot and remains really hot the whole time we were there.  This was a bit too hot for me, I only tried a bit of the broth on some rice.  The broth was rich and complex.  My spice loving friends didn't think it was numbing hot, but they enjoyed it quite a bit.  

All in all a great experience, but not a replacement for Peking Gourmet Inn, unfortunately.  I keep looking for a reason to never have to go to PGI again.  

I can't wait to go back for a dim sum brunch.  I will report back once I've had the opportunity.  

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