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100 Degree Chinese Cuisine (沸騰湘江), Hunan in Fair Ridge Park in West Fairfax - Closed


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Words on the internets talk of a new Hunan place in Fairfax called 100 Degree Chinese Cuisine aka 沸 騰 湘 江 (which Google says is 'Boiling Xiang River'...makes sense if Hunan).

The menu is available here, though the internet seems to indicate they aren't doing the full menu yet. There's also talk of made-to-order dumplings as well. (They also have a tea time...odd that. Any insight from more knowledgeable people?)

I'm thinking it'll be hard to pass up the chance for some good Hunan this weekend. Preserved pork with dried radish? Mmm... If this place checks out as good (from other members, &c.) it might be a good place for a DR lunch or something once they're past the soft open and clicking.

(ETA: Aww, nuts. This is my first start of a restaurant page. Can a mod make the title/subtitle a bit more consistent with the rest of the board?)

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That is dangerously close to my office. Cumin lamb as a "lunch special" box? Daaaangerous.

There's a review on chowhound. The cumin lamb was out but the poster got outstanding cumin beef. Also, the dumpling maker was plying her trade. My dumpling-loving kids are going to love watching her work.

This is great news for us Hong Kong Palace fans who live out in the boonies (and at least in my case, have been disappointed by Sichuan Village lately).

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There's a review on chowhound. The cumin lamb was out but the poster got outstanding cumin beef. Also, the dumpling maker was plying her trade. My dumpling-loving kids are going to love watching her work.

This is great news for us Hong Kong Palace fans who live out in the boonies (and at least in my case, have been disappointed by Sichuan Village lately).

The cumin beef was indeed tasty and a bit spicy, although I have never seen a dish with that much celery in it before. Service was good and everyone seemed very happy to be open.

And in a funny menu typo, they sell "Diet Cock".

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The cumin beef was indeed tasty and a bit spicy, although I have never seen a dish with that much celery in it before. Service was good and everyone seemed very happy to be open.

As a fan of celery, I give this a thumbs up!

Being a literal minute from my house, I'm excited to give it a shot.

It'd be dangerous if that were true of me. Luckily, it takes me a good 20+ to get there.

But I will get there...

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Welp, I pulled the trigger and did lunch here today. I started off with their ma la huang gua (cucumber in hot garlic) appetizer. It was surprisingly not that ma la and had a darker, browner dressing/marinade. Maybe the Hunan version is less spicy than the Sichuan version (I can understand less numby)? Or maybe they feared serving me the truly hot stuff? That said, it wasn't bad at all, just different, though a splash of extra vinegar helped in my opinion.

However, the main event was the aforementioned preserved pork with dried radish. Ahh...Hunan. I've only had real Hunan a few times in my life, but this brought it back. Spicy, a bit oily, just great. I took home a good bit of this and it'll be a nice lunch or two.

And, as stated above, the service was quite good. Almost too good as I think I answered the "how's the food" question three times in succession. I didn't mind, their just making sure the soft opening is going well. :mellow:

I do believe when their full menu is up and running a DR.com lunch here wherein we (okay, *I*) can sample many dishes is warranted.

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Welp, I pulled the trigger and did lunch here today. I started off with their ma la huang gua (cucumber in hot garlic) appetizer. It was surprisingly not that ma la and had a darker, browner dressing/marinade. Maybe the Hunan version is less spicy than the Sichuan version (I can understand less numby)? Or maybe they feared serving me the truly hot stuff? That said, it wasn't bad at all, just different, though a splash of extra vinegar helped in my opinion.

However, the main event was the aforementioned preserved pork with dried radish. Ahh...Hunan. I've only had real Hunan a few times in my life, but this brought it back. Spicy, a bit oily, just great. I took home a good bit of this and it'll be a nice lunch or two.

And, as stated above, the service was quite good. Almost too good as I think I answered the "how's the food" question three times in succession. I didn't mind, their just making sure the soft opening is going well. :mellow:

I do believe when their full menu is up and running a DR.com lunch here wherein we (okay, *I*) can sample many dishes is warranted.

Here's the review I posted on chowhound (I'm Bob W). This place will be great for large groups.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/799490

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Just did lunch there today..... we ordered the pork/chive dumplings fried, spicy cucumbers, pork kidney, and the hunan pork lunch special (extra hot). After we ordered another waiter came back to check on what i ordered... did i really want the pork kidney... of course i replied as i love them :mellow: I do love when I surprise wait staff with what I order....

Enjoyed everything.... everyone was helpful, friendly & attentive

Food was yummy.... stars go to the pork kidneys which were in a brown sauce with slivers of garlic & peppers... all tossed with large chunks if cucumbers. The kidneys had that wok char mentioned in other posts.... great pairing if flavors!

Looking forward to a return visit

-Joann

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Okay, who here is Chinese and wants to take me back to this place?

I went in with a couple of friends for dinner tonight, and being the only white people who weren't accompanied by at least one Asian we all felt a little out of place. Maybe the proprietors missed the proliferation of sushi restaurants over the past decades, but we shouldn't be the only table who has to ask to be brought chopsticks.

That said, having grown up eating my grandma Yolanda's ravioli, I'm predisposed to like any place that showcases an ethnic grandmother working with dough, and the dumpling-maker was right out in the open. So, score.

The napa and pork dumplings were pillowy and flavorful, and having had both the fried and steamed varieties I encourage everyone to try both. The fried version was crispy and satisfying, not at all like some of the rubbery, overcooked dumplings I've had in the past.

The tofu and vegetable soup was plentiful and overflowing with tomatoes and bok choy.

The lamb kabobs were perfectly spicy with a satisfying char that made me feel like I was in the mountains overlooking the Xiang River (what?).

Overall, though, I felt like I was really missing something not being able to fully appreciate and understand everything. Like, when we sat down, we were given a bowl of peanuts and some kind of light slaw. Were we supposed to eat those? Save them to go with our mains? Enjoy them as decoration?

Also, why does their "tea time" advertise "French Cakes, Pie & Cookies"? Obviously I have a lot to learn about Hunan culture that, right now, boggles me.

The staff didn't really speak much English, but seemed friendly and eager to please. The only real complaint I'd leverage on them that I can't chalk up to my ignorance was that, after the check came and we started pulling out our wallets, the server came over and took the check away because she'd forgotten to put a soda on it (we didn't notice). Now, I'll always pay my fair share, but generally those sorts of happy accidents are overlooked, and the only times I've seen a check taken back has been for an overcharge.

I'll definitely be back, if only to have a chance to explore a cuisine about which I know zilch (and because this is the only restaurant in walking distance from my house).

So, who wants to translate?

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Also, why does their "tea time" advertise "French Cakes, Pie & Cookies"? Obviously I have a lot to learn about Hunan culture that, right now, boggles me.

Western-style tea time has slowly been incorporated into Eastern style, probably starting in either Shanghai or Hong Kong in the early years east-west mixing. At some point, the mix was Eastern teas, such as a simple red tea or oolong, spanning to fancier teas was served with tea sandwiches and cakes. Usually we eat peanuts, little dried fish and pumpkin/watermelon seeds with our tea. My theory of the mixing could be the fascination with all the plating done in European tea wares with the floral decor and china patterns that were different than our basic ceramic style ware for our tea services. Just a thought.

Either way, when I was in Taiwan, it was the thing to do afternoon tea, with the exception that these east-west afternoon teas were these huge AYCE fanfares with tea, of course. All delicious.

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Checked the place out tonight with my MIL in tow. The restaurant is fairly upscale for a Chinese joint. The music went from Chinese to some kind of dance/hip-hop. The staff is eager to please - I'm pretty sure everyone checked in on us tonight.

Our waiter recommended the chicken and Chinese celery dumplings. I found them relatively dry and not particularly tasty. Luckily I also ordered the pork and chives pot stickers, which were very juicy, presumably from melted pork fat. The last appetizer I ordered was marinated beef tendon. They tasted like ma la beef tendons to me - they were good, but it was more spicy than numbing.

Our entrees were stir-fried Chinese watercress, salt and pepper frog legs, pan fried cod, and ma la diced chicken (diced chicken with chili). The frog legs were chopped into small pieces (thus very bony), greasy, lacking in salt and pepper. Why they were chopped up, I don't know, but having constantly to spit out bones is a little irritating. The cod suffered from the same overly greasy issue (fish not properly crispy, skin very fishy). On the other hand, the Chinese watercress were fine, and the ma la diced chicken was suitably spicy. Based on this meal, I personally would wait to hear what other people think before I go back. Also, they weren't serving the full online menu yet (website says not until the end of August). The current menu is only about half of their online menu. And they're still in the process of getting their liquor license.

I don't know much about Hunan cuisine (practically nothing in fact) - I don't know if they serve authentic Hunan cuisine or a Taiwanese variant.

Overall, though, I felt like I was really missing something not being able to fully appreciate and understand everything. Like, when we sat down, we were given a bowl of peanuts and some kind of light slaw. Were we supposed to eat those? Save them to go with our mains? Enjoy them as decoration?

Eat them. They're free snacks.

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That is dangerously close to my office. Cumin lamb as a "lunch special" box? Daaaangerous.

So they've settled on a single menu, I believe, and the cumin dishes are no longer part of the lunch specials. Some of the things I had been eyeing (cod head!) are now off the menu, which is sad, but preferable to the time we went in and were told that those menu items were not yet available. I was hoping to get the cumin lamb for a lunch special yesterday, but since it was no longer on the menu, I settled for hunan beef. It was a good version of an American-Chinese dish: lots of broccoli, carrots, and some mushrooms with decent beef slices,drenched in a spicy brown sauce, but not what I was looking for. It's a large portion, though, so a good value. Mapo tofu is still available as a lunch special option. We were in a few months ago and tried some dumplings and the eggplants in garlic sauce. The (steamed) pork dumplings had an appealing homemade texture to the skins but weren't overly bursting with flavor, and the eggplant dish was a lot sweeter than anticipated. We'll head over at least once more, since we got a Specialicious coupon awhile back, to see if the cumin lamb can tempt us away from China Star. We'll definitely be getting our dumplings fried.

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The cumin lamb is terrific - slices of lamb and chunks of celery bathed in a mildly spicy but hugely flavorful rub/sauce. The fried pork and chive potstickers were great as well. We also got the crispy honey glazed pork. The waitress told us we were lucky we came in so early, since the chefs don't like to prepare it when they are busy (it wasn't quite clear if they would refuse to cook it then, but that was definitely implied). It was nicely fried, but we really didn't care for the one-note sweet flavor. It's definitely worth revisiting for the cumin lamb.

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Sometimes you don't know how hungry you are until you begin to eat. Sometimes the things you begin to eat fill up holes you didn't even know you had, giving you a sense of relief for pangs you were not aware of. But even better, sometimes the things you begin to eat fill up holes you had all your life and never even knew you had them.

For me, I am talking about Chinese pork soup, or, as they call it at 100 Degree, spare rib soup. This is not a knock your socks off blockbuster, it's subtle, delicate, with chunks of daikon and carrot and bite sized morsels of pork ribs cooked to tenderness on the bone. Served family style, from a tureen, I could have made a whole meal of it, and almost did, as the gentlemen sitting with me at the table preferred heartier fare like roast duck and shredded pork.

My sense is that if you are looking for wowie-zowie-bug-your-eyes-out heat, this is not the place you seek.

We did not venture very far into the menu, but what we had was good, clean food, honestly prepared, respectfully served, in a style that Chinese people cook in China. The furnishings are tasteful and the place itself pleasantly situated. Even though it's in a strip mall (and what isn't in Northern Virginia?) the view is to the far horizon. Are you kind of person who says "eww, strip mall!" or the kind of person who says, "what is the name of the mountains in the distance"? (Bull Run).

You will enjoy a meal served family style, with soup for the table, and green vegetables for the table, and several entrees to share, served from the platter onto your own plate. It is the civilized way to eat, and 100 Degree is a civilized place. The places are set with both chopsticks and western utensils. The daily specials are set forth in both Chinese and English. Make sure you look at both sides of the sandwich board outside, the sides are different. You don't want to miss anything.

Ming, the manager, is a man of honor and wisdom, with a twinkle in his eye.

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Another fine meal at 100 Degrees Centigrade. We had Superior Baby Cabbage Soup, Cumin Lamb, Preserved Pork with Leeks, Steamed Flounder, Spicy Cucumber Salad, Yu Choy, and dumplings.

I was delighted with the Superior Baby Cabbage Soup, served in a tureen to be ladled into individual soup bowls, packed with Chinese cabbage and many other green vegetables, slices of black mushroom, slices of Thousand Year Old egg, and slices of pork belly. If you are a fan of greens you need to try this soup. Plenty to share around the table, a meal in itself for at least two greens lovers. Ambrosial.

The coolness of the Cucumber Salad is offset by the heat of the pepper sauce.

The Cumin Lamb is more gently flavored than the Szechuan version, the meat more tender, with a velvety texture, and the cumin less intense, more subtle, balanced by Chinese celery.

The Preserved Pork is chewy on the outside and unctuous on the inside, with a smoky rich flavor, almost like bacon jerky but with a higher water content than jerky, full of porky goodness, punctuated by shredded leeks.

The Steamed Flounder is served whole, covered in a thick layer of shredded aromatics, in a generous pool of soy and ginger broth to be ladled over the fish as it is consumed.

Tender crisp Yu Choy for the table added the essential note of yin to balance the yang of the meat, as well as lots of garlic.

The balance of flavors at 100 Degrees Centrigrade is intelligent and thoughtful. I also made little yumming noises as I ate.

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We went to use our Specialicious certificate tonight. They ask that you present the certificate when you're seated, otherwise they won't accept it later.

We ordered some pork and napa dumplings, before we noticed there's no one working the dumpling station. The wrappers were thick and doughy, and the filling was a mixture of nondescript brown mush. The spring rolls (ordered by my wife) were similarly thick in wrapper and short on fillings. The marinated beef and tripe cold starter was okay.

The entrees were ordered were cumin beef, hot boiled fish fillet (CCS3 - $14.95), and a special written in Chinese only, crab meat with snow pea shoots ($21.95). The cumin beef was stir fried with Chinese celery, mostly tough stem parts. Similarly, the pea shoots contained some almost inedible tough stem parts. The flavor was good but the quality of the greens were terrible. I can only imagine they're using throwaway parts to cut cost. The hot boiled fish fillet, which came with cellophane noodles and bean sprouts, was the best dish of the night. The fish was heavily seasoned with star anise and had a little kick to it.

Lastly, their beers just weren't very cold. I asked for a really cold one after getting a barely cold one, and the second one was the same temperature as the first. I would guess the beers were around 50 degrees. Unfortunately, we are not likely to return.

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Ok, so tonight I happened to be in the area and stopped in for some quick carry out. I ordered the Twice Cooked Pork Hunan Style. I am by no means an expert on this food, but  I have ordered lots of food that I had no idea what it was, and gulped it down happily. I hated this dish.

It was a big plate of braised and fried pork belly, sauteed with a bunch of leek like things, chilis, etc. Smelled heavenly. It was not very spicy hot, and had a wonderful smoky flavor, and I was really beginning to enjoy it when all of a sudden everything tasted different. I had a very tart, astringent taste in my mouth that was acrid and vile. I tried to drink some water and even the water tasted bad. It was almost as if my mouth had been numbed. The effect persisted about 10 minutes before it finally waned. I threw the rest of the food away, something I have never done.

Anyone have any idea what the seasoning was that I had or had a similar reaction?

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Ok, so tonight I happened to be in the area and stopped in for some quick carry out. I ordered the Twice Cooked Pork Hunan Style. I am by no means an expert on this food, but  I have ordered lots of food that I had no idea what it was, and gulped it down happily. I hated this dish.

It was a big plate of braised and fried pork belly, sauteed with a bunch of leek like things, chilis, etc. Smelled heavenly. It was not very spicy hot, and had a wonderful smoky flavor, and I was really beginning to enjoy it when all of a sudden everything tasted different. I had a very tart, astringent taste in my mouth that was acrid and vile. I tried to drink some water and even the water tasted bad. It was almost as if my mouth had been numbed. The effect persisted about 10 minutes before it finally waned. I threw the rest of the food away, something I have never done.

Anyone have any idea what the seasoning was that I had or had a similar reaction?

I'm assuming you've had this before and have ruled it out, but just in case not: Was the sensation subtle, insidious, and slowly growing in intensity, or did it feel like you were injected with Novocaine?

Let us know how thirsty you are in a few hours.

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Pomodoro needs to be on your list. We used to like Cantina D'Italia in FairLakes. Not great, but good. Oh, and 100 Degree for (apparently) good Chinese food. I haven't been, but there are many raves on DR

I read somewhere that 100 Degree is under new management, but I haven't been back since my second meal there was much worse than my first.

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On 11/11/2015 at 9:15 AM, Bob Wells said:

I read somewhere that 100 Degree is under new management, but I haven't been back since my second meal there was much worse than my first.

3 hours ago, curls said:

100 Degree Chinese has closed. I think they closed late 2017.

Thanks curls. The space is now the second area location of Riverside Hot Pot, a China-based franchise (the first location opened in Gaithersburg in 2009).

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