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Al Dente

Shanghai Village, Owner Kwok Cheung's Chinese on Bethesda Avenue Near Bethesda Row

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I tried using the useless p-o-s search function here and didn't find a thread, so please merge if need be.

Has anyone been here? We're having dinner there tonight.

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I tried using the useless p-o-s search function here and didn't find a thread, so please merge if need be.

Has anyone been here? We're having dinner there tonight.

[btw the best way to search for a thread like this is going into google and typing:

donrockwell "shanghai surprise"

the restaurant you're looking for will come up #1 every time if a thread exists

also keep in mind that every single thread here has an entry in the dining guide, so if you go to bethesda and it's not there, then it doesn't exist]

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[btw the best way to search for a thread like this is going into google and typing:

donrockwell "shanghai surprise"

the restaurant you're looking for will come up #1 every time if a thread exists

also keep in mind that every single thread here has an entry in the dining guide, so if you go to bethesda and it's not there, then it doesn't exist]

I can't remember which restuarant I was looking for, but I swear I found a thread on a restaurant that wasn't in the guide! It was just a few days ago too. Anyway, I did search in the guide and it wasn't there. Good to know the google trick.

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I can't remember which restuarant I was looking for, but I swear I found a thread on a restaurant that wasn't in the guide! It was just a few days ago too. Anyway, I did search in the guide and it wasn't there. Good to know the google trick.

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I've always wondered, especially for local chains with 5 or less outlets, why we didn't duplicate the places in the local post for the guide. It's a bit disconcerting scanning the Bethesda listing, and not seeing Jaleo, for example...

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It's one of our favorite Chinese restaurants. The chef/owner owned the former China Village on Bethesda Avenue for years (20-30) and moved to Shanghai Village several years ago. We eat lots of different dishes there and usually like everything. The Peking Duck is good. Check out the specials board as well as regular menu. Hope you enjoyl it!

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Had dinner here last night for the second time in the past few weeks. Some friends of my in-laws recommended it-- they often bring fresh fish back from the Eastern Shore for the chef to cook up for them.

Friendly staff, including the chef who came out several times to visit with us Heineken in hand. The Peking Duck was right up there with the best I've had. I liked the chicken with walnuts. They have kick-ass very meaty spare ribs as well as a roasted pork loin appetizer which was outstanding. The waitress described a stir-fried soft shell crab that I went for, but it came out deep-fried with a spicy sauce on the side. I might have to go back and demand a better preparation, because I think this chef could do something really great-- certainly something better that the flat tempura-style dish I was served.

Overall, a solid restaurant. I'd like to see the chef get a little more creative because I think he has the chops.

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Stopped by with a bunch of friends on Saturday night for a post mud run dinner. We got two orders of Peking duck, which many others have mentioned is very good. The chef carves all the ducks table side, which is pretty impressive and talks to all the guests. They have a surprisingly high percentage of senior citizens as guests, but they are probably all regulars. We also ordered steamed dumplings, which were amazingly juicy almost like soup dumplings. Beef chow fun and fried halibut were okay. The halibut was heavily battered, a bit underseasoned, and cut up into pieces before frying like slightly large chicken nuggets. Our serve was a bit strange when we asked for fried bananas for dessert, denying us because the kitchen was too busy. This makes me wonder if their fried bananas are actually the caramelized kind and not just batter-dipped. But now we might never find out.

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Anyone been here recently? Is the Peking duck still a decent choice here?

We've been going for years. And, for most of that time, we'd have said it had the best duck to be had in the area, including Mark's Duck House. Really flavorful, crispy skin and always, always carved table-side by the chef if you ordered a full duck. He didn't do that for the half duck. Several of the other dishes (e.g., shrimp, fresh fish w/ ginger/garlic, stir fried beef noodles, eggplant with garlic) were very good but the duck was really The Thing.

But, about 6 or 7 months ago we went and were pretty shocked. As always, we ordered a whole duck. But, this time it came out already carved and without the chef. It tasted like it might have been carved hours before and just scooped out from a warming bin in back. Kind of dry; tough. It had never, ever been like that in dozens of visits--we were pretty aghast. We of course asked about this--why the drastic change? That question wasn't taken well. The Chef was in that night we knew. We were told by a waitress that it was too busy for the Chef to carve table-side. That made no sense to us since he'd always, for many years, done this even when the place was packed. He didn't come to our table to explain or apologize. And, it wasn't busy at all. We noticed a quality decline in other dishes also.

We were so disappointed and floored by this, we haven't gone back since. The Chef has tons of experience cooking for VIPs and the regulars. There's a picture of Ted Kennedy, among others, on a ledge. Previously we went once every other month or so. But, it seemed clear to us that he'd let his quality slip for whatever reasons and then there was no reason to go there; not with the great Asian to be had up in Rockville, Wheaton, Silver Spring, Annandale, Mark's and others.

But, we are now again out of date since has been at least 6 months. Maybe others complained about what we experienced also. Maybe it was an outlier night (thought it happened to us twice before we pulled the plug). Maybe the Chef went back to doing what made him great and built the loyal customer base he had. Please report if you go. If you order a full duck and the chef brings it out and carves it in front of you, that'll be a very good sign. If it comes out already having been carved, I'd guess you won't be that excited about it.

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I've been a regular and loyal customer for 30 years...The only Chinese restaurant i go to other than an occasional journy to Peking Gourmet...Chef/Owner Quak opened China Villiage in the late 70's and when his lease expired, moved up Bethesda Ave to current location and changed the name to Shanghai Villiage...Still the same great food as always...I concur that the Peking Duck is among the best to be had anywhere...Chef carved tableside, excellent fresh pancakes and homemade hoisin sauce...That said, I have had ONE occasion over the past year when chef Quak was not there, and the duck came out of the kitchen pre sliced and dry...This is not the standard here, however...Usually (99% of the time) top notch...Other highlights are: great hot and sour soup; great fried and steamed dumplings; great shrimp toast; great tempura grouper; any shrimp dish and the aforementioned walnut chicken...also great drinks...particularly the suffering bastard (which i beleive was named after me) made with Quak's home made mix...

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I've been a regular and loyal customer for 30 years...The only Chinese restaurant i go to other than an occasional journy to Peking Gourmet...Chef/Owner Quak opened China Villiage in the late 70's and when his lease expired, moved up Bethesda Ave to current location and changed the name to Shanghai Villiage...Still the same great food as always...I concur that the Peking Duck is among the best to be had anywhere...Chef carved tableside, excellent fresh pancakes and homemade hoisin sauce...That said, I have had ONE occasion over the past year when chef Quak was not there, and the duck came out of the kitchen pre sliced and dry...This is not the standard here, however...Usually (99% of the time) top notch...Other highlights are: great hot and sour soup; great fried and steamed dumplings; great shrimp toast; great tempura grouper; any shrimp dish and the aforementioned walnut chicken...also great drinks...particularly the suffering bastard (which i beleive was named after me) made with Quak's home made mix...

Curious: have you been in the last couple of months and was all well?

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Chef/Owner Quak opened China Villiage in the late 70's

Is that really his name??

Quak is an alternate spelling to Kwok, which is pronounced Guo in Mandarin. Oddly enough, it is the same character as "pot" which like folks with last names of Blacksmith, may indicate the trade they may have been one point on the historical/geneological charts.

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Curious: have you been in the last couple of months and was all well?

yes...have been there twice in the last month and all was well...great duck carved by Quak (yes, that's his name) tableside and everything else as well...

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Quak is an alternate spelling to Kwok, which is pronounced Guo in Mandarin. Oddly enough, it is the same character as "pot" which like folks with last names of Blacksmith, may indicate the trade they may have been one point on the historical/geneological charts.

Yeah, I figured the pronunciation is probably not the way it appears. But I just found the juxtaposition to be pretty amusing. :)

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yes...have been there twice in the last month and all was well...great duck carved by Quak (yes, that's his name) tableside and everything else as well...

So, based on the input here, we went back...twice since the above post. And, indeed, all was well. Chef Kwok carved. Duck was great.

I'm still a bit troubled that we experienced the two off-nights, both when Chef Kwok was there and the place wasn't busy--hard to understand.

But, more important, the duck remains the standard we've always had. Best Peking duck in the area.

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I see that this restaurant has very mixed reviews, but the Peking Duck has gotten outstanding reviews. We decided to go here for my sons birthday as he loves Peking Duck.  Unfortunately, this was not one of the better nights of this seemingly inconsistent restaurant.  The service was indifferent to poor.  (We would have thought we would have gotten more attentive service since at 8 persons, we were the largest party seated in the restaurant.)  Cocktails were below average.  I was not impressed with my hot and sour soup.  My father got the Happy Family seafood dish and that was delicious.  6 of us had Peking Duck (we ordered 2 and 1/2 ducks).  Sadly, the chef did not come out of the kitchen to carve the duck in front of us.  The duck was decent, but not great.  (My sons and I had just returned from a trip to Beijing and this restaurant couldn't even begin to come close to the awesome duck we had there!)  What was really odd was the way the duck was served.  First came out a half duck.  It took another 20 minutes before we saw the next order of a full duck.  30 minutes went by before the last full duck came out.  Everyone else was pretty much finished with their meals by the time the last couple started eating their Peking Duck.  This would have been somewhat acceptable except the passive aggressive waitress would remove food from the table without checking to see if we were finished.  The last duck was removed while it was still being eaten.  We should have complained, but by the time we were feeling so dispirited by our experience that we just wanted to leave.  The food was not terrible, but not worth the drive from upper Montgomery County where we could do just as well for a lower price.  The service was abysmal.  We will not be back.

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