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Grace Garden, Szechuan on Annapolis Road in Odenton - Chef Li Comes From Hunan Manor in Columbia

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Pool Boy   

It is so hard to get to the whole menu - you pine for the dishes that you know are awesome, and yet you want to try all of it!

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So, we happened to need to be in Severn tonight, and thought, "ooooh, we'll have grace garden for dinner!"

Sadly, no. They are closed for the next two weeks and will reopen on 19 Jan, according to the note on the door.

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Pool Boy   

For the first time tried House Special Chili Stir-Fry which was really good. Not obnoxious heat just for heat's sake, but a pleasing slowly building heat that makes your mouth sing. A triumph.  

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Shaho   

Haven't had a bad dish here. The wok breath is really evident on dishes like the Beef Chow Fun, which is just a level above any other place in the area I've tried. The Dan Dan Noodles taste like lunch at home, but the pork is crisped in a way that would be impossible in any home kitchen. The sauce that came with the Black Pepper Beef Short Ribs was so good we took it home by itself, tangy with a peppery kick. Even the chive flowers simply sauteed with garlic were excellent. Sichuan Fish Filets and sauteed bok choy were just OK. The flavor of the Sichuan Steamed Pork with Rice Powder, and particularly the potatoes underneath, was great, but the last time around the pork belly was almost entirely fat, which was a little too rich.

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DonRocks   

Haven't had a bad dish here. The wok breath is really evident on dishes like the Beef Chow Fun, which is just a level above any other place in the area I've tried. The Dan Dan Noodles taste like lunch at home, but the pork is crisped in a way that would be impossible in any home kitchen. The sauce that came with the Black Pepper Beef Short Ribs was so good we took it home by itself, tangy with a peppery kick. Even the chive flowers simply sauteed with garlic were excellent. Sichuan Fish Filets and sauteed bok choy were just OK. The flavor of the Sichuan Steamed Pork with Rice Powder, and particularly the potatoes underneath, was great, but the last time around the pork belly was almost entirely fat, which was a little too rich.

Is the Beef Chow Fun make using dried beef? I almost prefer it that way, as using cuts such as fatty brisket can be just too gloppy for my taste (and generally served in Hong Kong style restaurants rather than Szechuan-influenced places). I'm curious to know, and I hate that Grace Garden is so far away from me. :(

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Shaho   

Is the Beef Chow Fun make using dried beef? I almost prefer it that way, as using cuts such as fatty brisket can be just too gloppy for my taste (and generally served in Hong Kong style restaurants rather than Szechuan-influenced places). I'm curious to know, and I hate that Grace Garden is so far away from me. :(

I'm not sure what cut the beef is, but I don't think it's dried and it seems to be the same kind as you get just about anywhere else. This is my little sister's favorite dish, and although she's not an adventurous eater, she mentioned that the Chow Fun here was noticeably better than anywhere else, and the beef tasted more "real." I think Chef Li was originally trained in Cantonese cooking, then later in Szechuan cuisine, so there is an interesting combination of styles here.

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Toogs   

dammit I knew I forgot something, it was the eggplant.  I don't understand what a fish noodle is but it was the best thing we had.

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Pool Boy   
1 hour ago, Toogs said:

dammit I knew I forgot something, it was the eggplant.  I don't understand what a fish noodle is but it was the best thing we had.

That is just another reason to force yourself to go back. :)

That said, those fish noodles are amazing. :)

 

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Just went for lunch. Lot more time in Ho Co, because of new lady friend, but there are some lovely places here. 

Man, is this place "hole in the wall". Cozy, though. People seemed to be regulars and very comfortable in there. Large round tables mostly, good for large groups and ordering everything. We got what was mentioned very frequently here - fish noodles, crispy eggplant, and tofu pockets in spicy sauce.

The fish noodles were really good! Didn't know what to expect. It's ground up fish and shrimp made into noodles. How do you do that?? Also with some ginger and scallions. Delish. The crispy eggplant was fried up crispy and had a General' Tso-ish sauce on it. Very good. Was thinking was going to be like Chang's eggplant, but definitely different. Didn't love the tofu pockets. She doesn't really love tofu, and I was hoping this was one of those tofu dishes that convert people, but not really. Super soft. Sauce was mildly spicy (ha!). 

Great little place. Saw stuff coming out that I wanted to know more about. Need to come here with at least 2 more people and a big appetite.

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Unfortunately the beef chow fun we ordered the other day lacked wok hei and the portion size seemed slightly meager.  That said, all the other dishes were excellent, including the crispy eggplant and the Szechuan steamed pork (good balance of meat and fat IMO).  Service was also super-friendly.  We're really lucky that there are so many as good or better options in Rockville, but won't hesitate to return here if/when in the area again.

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DanielK   
1 hour ago, silentbob said:

We're really lucky that there are so many as good or better options in Rockville, but won't hesitate to return here if/when in the area again.

I think about 3-4 years ago, GG was *better* than most of the good places in Rockville, but has since slipped a notch. It's still on my list of places to hit in the area, and I still unreservedly recommend it to locals, but there have been enough weak spots on my meals in the last couple of years that I'm not usually willing to make a special trip here.

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