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ema

Oriental East, Cantonese with Dim Sum on East-West Highway in Silver Spring - Closing Sep 30, 2017

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ema   

We went to Oriental East today. At first, we thought we made great time by getting there at 10:50 AM, but it turns out that there was already a line of about 200 people outside, waiting for the restaurant to open. They ran out of tables before we could get a seat, so we had to wait about 30 min for the first round of people to finish eating. Next time, we will be there 30 min prior to opening. Everything was really good, except for the turnip cake, which was too soggy. Oriental East doesn't have any warming mechanism on their cart to keep the dim sum warm, therefore, you have to get there early to get fresh and hot dim sum.

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The crush of people waiting for a table here is not only a significant turn-off, but impacts the ability of the carts to get around, which makes for a rather mixed experience. After waiting nearly an hour for a six-top, we were ravenous, but stymied by the limited selection left on the carts by the time they made it halfway around the dining room. People seated in the section to the left of the bar were even worse off, as few carts braved the throngs waiting with line numbers in hand to offer their dishes to the four or five isolated tables there. We pretty much never saw the steam cart until the very end of our meal.

The dim sum itself was variable this weekend, mostly of it good but not really great, except for the desserts. The char siu bao in particular struck me as short on flavor in its baked form (which was also oddly sweet), even though the steamed version was quite a bit better, particularly the bread. The pineapple bun filling was wonderfully delicate and custardy, but sabotaged by an obviously underbaked dough. But the various steamed desserts were standouts, especially the little tapioca treats filled with coconut and sweet bean paste.

It's really not the restaurant's fault that business is lined up out the door, but the carts they use really are too small to allow each table a fair shot at the items as they come out. That makes dining here too much of a crapshoot in my book, and I can't really recommend the place unless you're lucky enough to snag a table next to the kitchen.

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DanielK   

The dim sum itself was variable this weekend, mostly of it good but not really great

This has been my experience on every visit to OE, which is why I get my dim sum fix at New Fortune or Hollywood East instead.

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After waiting nearly an hour for a six-top, we were ravenous

You can always go next door to Crisp and Juicy for a snack. :) The chicken is indeed both crisp and juicy.

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JonS   

Went for dim sum this Sunday. Frankly, I don't at all see the attraction that many seem to have for Oriental East. The manager obviously misrepresented the length of the wait, which is uncool - it was obvious to us that the stated 25 minutes was not right, though we were not prepared to wait an hour and fifteen minutes and would not have done so if we had any idea it would be that long. Once we were finally seated (at a shared table), the food we got was fine, certainly not outstanding, but decent for DC area dim sum. But the number of carts the came to us and the choices on the carts by the time they made it to our table were just poor. And the lack of accountability of the servers was ridiculous - anyone who came to our table purported to be a busboy or someother with no ability to take an order or do anything remotely helpful other than provide more water or take a dish away (something that didn't need to be done often given the only five or six dishes the four of us shared over an hour and twenty minutes at the table). Couldn't even get anyone to total up the check so that we could get the hell out of there and find somewhere else to eat, so ended up taking up the check to the front. Yes, it was Father's Day and so they were busy, but my understanding is that they're always busy, so no excuse. No return visit in the cards here. Maybe back to Hollywood East, or ???

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ALB   

The line at Oriental East remains unchanged.

I went to Oriental East for the first time Sunday. The person I was going with said we needed to be there by 10:30 for the first seating and he was not exaggerating. As I pulled up, there were already 40+ people in line at 10:30. If you are not in the first seating, you will wait at least an hour for everyone to leave. But there were plenty of people willing to wait.

ok on to the food, the more important part. I was there with a native Hong Konger and the food was really good. We only had 5 things as there were only 2 of us (Har Gow, Shumai, shrimp noodle crepes, beef balls and sticky rice in lotus leaf,) and they were all very tasty and hot/warm when we got them. The shrimp were large pieces in all the orders, not a paste. The chrysanthemum tea came hot and fully brewed (though with the flowers in it, so it got pleasantly stronger as we drank it.)

I would absolutely go back here. HOWEVER, I don't generally want to wait outside for 30 min-an hour for lunch so I think Hollywood East is close in quality and I will likely return there more often. I would not argue if someone picked Oriental East and would happily eat there again, I just may choose to try to get there at 1 pm and see what happens. They serve dim sum from carts on weekends from 11-3.

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lion   

This was our regular Dim Sum place when living down the street. Exactly right that you needed time in right to get in for the first sitting. Also helped being a regular as the staff would sit you near to the kitchen so as to get first dibs on what was coming out. Being at the larger tables in the back could make for frustrating times when carts were empty on arrival. Going closer to 1pm works but sometimes they run out of various items if there has been a strong demand. 

We went to Fortune recently with some friends, one from Bejing and they enjoyed it as well in terms of the quality for a place in the US. They said it was not as good as places in Philly or NYC, though. Personally, still like Oriental East the best in DC. 

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DaveO   
3 hours ago, pras said:

It is with a heavy heart that I read this.  This is my original growing up hood.  Spent many a meal there, takeout or eating there.  That is my original Giant in the parking lot.  Oh the memories.

In the early 1990's I put an office tenant client in the office building that front's Colesville Rd and is part of that large property.  Stayed in touch, kept renewing their lease, great people, and from a food perspective was introduced to Oriental East during its earliest days.  

I can't recall if OE was my introduction to dim sum or not, but it was a favorite to visit for a very long time, if increasingly infrequently.  There was a period way back when the weekend dim sum lines were not overwhelming.

A relative works very close.  Losing a treasured restaurant like that can make a job intolerable.  Ughhh

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ElGuapo   
On 9/5/2017 at 8:19 PM, ALB said:

the lines for dim sum this month are going to be unreal...

The line for the first service after the announcement wrapped down East-West to the gas station.

dimsum.jpg

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lion   

Ah I feel very nostalgic looking at the line. In the early years of dating my future wife we spent many Sunday mornings in line waiting to get into the first seating.  

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DanielK   

I've never understood the line. I've been several times, and it's quite good, but not as good as New Fortune in Gaithersburg, or Hollywood East in Wheaton, which never have lines.

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dinoue   

Definitely not worth those kinds of waits. We got a to-go order this past Sunday and my wife picked it up and said it was a crazy mob scene. Didn't quite understand what she meant until seeing the picture above.

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lion   

I think it was a Silver Spring community event. People from all kinds of backgrounds, ages, etc...would get in line and wait. Actually it was a lot of fun in a good natured way. Oriental East never was the best Chinese or Dim Sum restaurant but it was during our time in the city very enjoyable.  

Hopefully Parkway Deli isn't going anywhere! 

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