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China Garden Han Gong, Cantonese Dim Sum on Woodglen Drive in South Rockville, Formerly in Rosslyn, Open since 1973


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The MontCo Dim Sum Comparo has now morphed into the Metro DC Dim Sum Comparo with this first outing to China Garden in Rosslyn. It was... all right.

As everyone could attest to, finding the place and then finding parking was a wee challenge. The restaurant is very conveniently located about 1 block from the Rosslyn Metro station, in a highly visible building (the Gannett building with the WJLA-TV news ticker). There is free underground parking in the Gannett building's garage. However, this is a very popular restaurant, and there was a lot of stopping and waiting and blocking aisles going on. Once you manage to get past the vehicular mess and park, look for an exit to the shops level. Follow the noise.

rbh warned us to get there early, and this was very wise advice indeed. The +1 and I arrived 45 minutes before our planned dim sum time, and it took a little over that long before there was a large table available. The restaurant looks quite large inside. They can handle banquets of up to 600 attendees, so its size is comparable to New Fortune. However, it's popular with Chinese tour groups - as we drove up we saw a bus unloading its hungry passengers - and parties of all sizes were in for long waits.

The table arrangement at China Garden can be unfortunate. There were some large tables placed with no easy aisle access, and we were (alas) seated at one of them. It took a while before carts threaded their way to our table, and I think some of the food reflected the odd traffic flow. We were quickly supplied with the basic accoutrements, but food was slow in coming by at first.

The cart traffic overall did not seem as plentiful here than at the other places we've sampled - we learned quickly to grab several orders of whatever came by because who knows if that item would ever come around again? Example: har gow and char sui bao are two of the absolute standard dishes that every dim sum place has. I saw each item come by our table just once in the 90 minutes or so that we were there. There were fleeting glimpses and tantalizing rumors of sweet items, but it wasn't until the very end of our meal that the glimpse turned into reality. Some of the items we got were lukewarm, and some seemed to have seen better days (like the string beans). Can't blame the time of day for this - China Garden serves dim sum from 11:30am to 3:00pm, so we were there at the middle of service and the place was absolutely packed. Rapid turnover should have ensured some level of freshness, but it just wasn't there.

But what of the food, you may ask. It was certainly not bad - we're not talking Good Fortune here - but very little was all that impressive. There was a steamed dumpling filled with veggies like chopped baby corn and mushrooms that I rather liked. There was some love shown for the stuffed tofu and the shrimp/chive dumplings. We were lucky enough to get the egg custard tarts while they were still quite warm - the crust was light and flaky, and the filling was custardy with just a touch of sweetness. This was easily the best dish of the meal, and it was certainly the best egg custard tart I've ever had either here or in SF. I thought most of the other dishes were pretty pedestrian - certainly acceptable, but not worth a detour. The har gow wrapper was thick and yet too fragile, the steamed spareribs with black bean sauce were lacking in black bean flavor. Not once did I see my beloved cheong fan making the rounds, but perhaps that's just as well. Tendons and chicken feet were available on the carts (not bad but nothing special), but tripe had to be specifically ordered.

The worst part of the meal was the table next to ours - they had ordered dishes off the menu, and it all looked so good! I spotted a whole fried fish and a whole roast duck. Darn.

With tip, our meal was $15 per person.

I'd rank China Garden next to Silver Fountain - worth going if you're in the area and hungry for dim sum, but not worth a special trip. It may say something that we spent the last half of the meal discussing when we should schedule our next visit to a better dim sum place.

Edited by perrik
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While the dim sum may not have been all that good, we were in good company. I believe I spied a table of restaurant folks from the likes of Tallula, 1789, and Restaurant Eve

I enjoyed the combination dumpling the most - it had a lot of fresh cilantro in it, which gave it some good flavor. Of course the one thing I didn't get to try was the custard tart! I did try the chicken feet (my first time ever!) and they weren't bad. I'm not sure how other 'connaisseurs' of chicken feet would rate them, but to me it seemed to be all about the sauce, which was tasty if a bit thick. Not sure if I'll be ordering them on my own, but at least I tried 'em.

<moved from the DimSum Sunday thread>

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I hadn't heard anything about China Garden in awhile, dim sum or otherwise. I'm always impressed at the sheer size of this place - they have banquet facilities for up to 600 people (i.e., they cater to large tour groups, not that there's anything wrong with that).

A lunch order of Szechuan String Beans ($5.95, ordered spicy, with no pork and no MSG) was sub-par, even for this type of homogenized restaurant. There was just too much salty oil in the somewhat wrinkled, but not quite dry-fried, sauteed beans, and it was a thick oil, the kind that leaves a margarine-like film on your lips, and has you running for the sink when you're done. It had a good kick from the pepper flakes, however, and wasn't terrible (I don't think it's possible for such a simple dish to be terrible).

One bite of the chicken in the Moo Goo Gai Pan ($6.95) - which was so white it looked like a scallop - gave me a twinge of guilt regarding my mom, who has this in store for her later today. Then again, she told me she's been craving Chinese food and I know she'll love it. :D

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Had dim sum at China Garden on Sunday for the first time in many years. It was very good. In fact, I was checking it out in order to plan a group outing in a few months for about 30-40 people. I need to pick a brunch/dim sum place that is metro accessible. However, when I called to make a reservation, I was told that it's first come first served, and that the only way they would accommodate us if our entire group showed up at the same time. That just ain't gonna happen -- There is no way a group of 30-40 people is going to show up "on time." Maybe they are used to accommodating bus tours. I'm going to try again and see if I can speak with someone else, but if anyone has had an experience going there for dim sum with a group, I'd love to hear about it.

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However, when I called to make a reservation, I was told that it's first come first served, and that the only way they would accommodate us if our entire group showed up at the same time.

Did you ask to have it in the banquet facility?

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Anyone been lately?  We have a dim sum Sunday coming up later this month and am hoping the current fare is better today than it apparently was in 2006!

I've never been for weekend dim sum but the quality I've experienced from occasional lunches there would not make me very optimistic.

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I've never been for weekend dim sum but the quality I've experienced from occasional lunches there would not make me very optimistic.

Anyone been lately?  We have a dim sum Sunday coming up later this month and am hoping the current fare is better today than it apparently was in 2006!

I'm pretty sure they still rely on the tour-bus trade. I don't want to say for sure, but I *think* they do.

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A bunch of us were just there last weekend for a Big Chinese Anniversary Banquet. The food was ... well, good enough for a banquet hall full of old Chinese people, anyway. Usually if you screw up, they let you know. Mercilessly.

All the hits. Deep-fried crab balls. Shark-fin soup. Roast duck. Yi-mien noodles (which they CUT, WTF?!?!?) Okay, THAT part I had a bit of a problem with. Is anyone paying any attention back there?

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A bunch of us were just there last weekend for a Big Chinese Anniversary Banquet. The food was ... well, good enough for a banquet hall full of old Chinese people, anyway. Usually if you screw up, they let you know. Mercilessly.

All the hits. Deep-fried crab balls. Shark-fin soup. Roast duck. Yi-mien noodles (which they CUT, WTF?!?!?) Okay, THAT part I had a bit of a problem with. Is anyone paying any attention back there?

There was something about this post I loved - not sure what, but I loved it.

Could be because it's 4 AM and I can't sleep, but regardless, I loved it.

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You know, if you measured this place among the echelon of dim sum places across the DMV area, I'm certain it would not end up anywhere near the top. However, if you put it up against any of your choices in the direct, very easily metro-accessible DC area, this is the place to be for a real dim sum experience. Is it excellent in any regard? Probably not. But if you're craving dim sum, it will absolutely make you smile. From the discourteous bully of a hostess, to the shiny red and gold decor, to the alternatingly pushy or disinterested cart ladies, this immediately rang my bell. It felt like home.

You could do far, far worse than China Garden, and frankly, I never leave unhappy.

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China Garden for dim sum on Saturday morning.  We got there just as they opened, so there was no worry getting a seat.  In fact, there were tables available the whole time we were there.  

When you arrive early, you are almost inundated by carts.  We had four different carts a the table before we could even take our seats.  We were seated at the side of the room along a wide aisle, so there was always a flow of carts by our table.  Once a few more tables showed up, it was easier to pace ourselves.  One benefit of getting there early is scoring egg custard tarts.  I saw one cart with a few of these on it as we came in and I snagged an order to eat later.  It was the ONLY time these ever went by and my guess is they sold out of these yummy treats early.  

China Garden had all the usual dim sum dishes you would expect to see.  Everything we tasted (too numerous to mention) was fresh, hot and good to very good.  They also offer full menu service during dim sum, which was nice for the member of our group who isn't a dim sum fan.  I noticed up-thread a number of posters indicated there are better options in the 'burbs.  I found the offerings at China Garden to be as good as those at Silver Fountain, New Fortune and Hollywood East.  

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I had lunch here today. They indicated that they are moving to Rockville Pike in July....but please don't hurry to get here before they leave!

I chose the scallops and shrimp sauteed with Chinese broccoli off the daily specials menu. It was bland as bland can be, and not very substantial. This place strikes me as a tired, old, Americanized Chinese restaurant that isn't trying very hard.

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13 hours ago, Kibbee Nayee said:

I had lunch here today. They indicated that they are moving to Rockville Pike in July....but please don't hurry to get here before they leave!

I chose the scallops and shrimp sauteed with Chinese broccoli off the daily specials menu. It was bland as bland can be, and not very substantial. This place strikes me as a tired, old, Americanized Chinese restaurant that isn't trying very hard.

They're going to be (and currently are) working tour buses with Chinese touring groups. This is a hidden, but high-dollar sector of the restaurant industry.

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42 minutes ago, hopsing said:

I wonder what the Chinese tourists think of their food.  I certainly didn't like it.  Maybe they cook differently for them.

I suspect they know when the Chinese tour buses are arriving, and have the appropriate personnel on hand - I doubt it's anything revelatory, even at full-throttle.

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I wouldn't think them capable of Peter Chang-quality cuisine, but I thought it would be possible for them to cook more authentically but simply for the Chinese.  Maybe home-style cooking which would be a yawn for the tourists but revelatory or at least nostalgic for me.  Why do many restaurants relegate tofu to only the vegetarian section of the menu.  Tofu tastes great with pork!  How about beef with cauliflower (like my mother used to make) instead of beef with broccoli all the time.  How about more Chinese vegetables like bok choys, daikon, and gai lan instead of American broccoli and snow peas all the time.:rolleyes:

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On ‎4‎/‎20‎/‎2017 at 2:46 PM, Kibbee Nayee said:

I had lunch here today. They indicated that they are moving to Rockville Pike in July....but please don't hurry to get here before they leave!

They are taking over the large, failed location of American Tap Room in the center of Rockville Town Square:

"Modern Market Eyes Fallsgrove, New Tenant for American Tap Room, Goodbye Ten Thousand Villages" on storereporter.com

They'll be around the corner from Peter Chang, down the street from Sichuan Jin River, and within a mile of several other worthy contenders. Maryland Avenue is a small, two-lane street not really suited for tour buses.

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Circumstances gave me an extra half hour to kill prior to a meeting in the same building, so I decided to stop by one more time before it moves to Rockville in July. Basically, I wanted to see if it was still as bad as I experienced on my previous visit....but I came away surprised.

I had the Thursday special of Kung Pao Chicken, figuring it would be a gloppy mess of suburban Americanized Chinese. As part of the special, a smallish egg roll arrived soon after I placed the order. It was actually not bad -- nice and hot, with a good crunch and no greasiness. There was also a good meaty flavor to the stuffing. 

That was not the end of the surprises. The Kung Pao Chicken arrived soon after, and it was very good. The chunks of chicken were distinct cubes, the  peanuts were unusually and pleasantly crunchy, and the typical gloppy brown sauce was very spare and just enough to highlight -- not drown -- the dish. I would order this dish again, but I wouldn't run to Rockville for it.

I looked around at noon on a Thursday and there were 35-40 diners in the place, from Rosslyn suits to native Chinese. I'm now tempted to think that this will be a loss for Rosslyn when it moves to Rockville.

However, I'm also thinking that Rockville has some powerhouse Chinese places in the lineup, so why this place would want to go up against that kind of competition eludes me. However, after today, I am somewhat saddened by Rosslyn's loss.

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2 hours ago, Kibbee Nayee said:

However, I'm also thinking that Rockville has some powerhouse Chinese places in the lineup, so why this place would want to up against that kind of competition eludes me. However, after today, I am somewhat saddened by Rosslyn's loss.

Chinese tour buses (?)

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China Garden has indeed closed in Rosslyn, but to the best of my knowledge they still haven't opened on Rockville Pike, putting them a few months behind the originally announced schedule.

Note also that the new address will be on Rockville Pike, but there's also a second, unrelated, China Garden on Rollins Avenue.

[Please let us know as soon as you know anything about the Rockville opening - if they change their name, we'll mark this one as Closed, and begin a new thread; otherwise, we'll continue with this one.]

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China Garden Han Gong
11333 Woodglen Dr, Rockville, MD 20852

http://www.chinagardenhg.com/

A group of 6 met up for Dim Sum at CHina Garden's new digs. All of us had been to the old China Gardens and were not fans of the original. But one of our group had been here and had a great Dim Sum experience. I would say that it is possible the best dim sum right now in MoCo. It is also expensive.  

Very good items included:

Har Gow very rare for me to rave
Shrimp rice crepes
Turnip cake
Chicken Feet - unusual touch were the peanuts in the bottom of the steaming dish, Some of the best chicken feet I have ever had with good five spice flavor and particularly succulent texture.
Pork Buns - both steammed buns and baked triangular pastries styles were superb
Crispy Skin Roast Pork - a theme on the pork dishes: the pork they use is strongly flavored, high quality pork. The roast pig was almost funky and very good. Skin very crisp
Pork Spareribs: meaty, delicious, perfectly tender yet toothy
Bean Curd Skin with shrimp paste & shrimp
Shrimp paste stuffed eggplant - the brown sauce was well balanced and free from glopiness.
Green Beans: slong cooked so the skins were wrinkled byt not tot he point of gray color. Really tasty but we were so full by them that we had to make excuses to justify eating them.
Pineapple Bun and Sesame Ball were very well done versions, much less heavy than many.
 

OK

Taro Root Dumpling and Glutenous rice dumpling, both fried and both in need of more/more flavorful filling.

Not so good:

Shiu Mai were very ordinary: the filling was dry, the skins tough.
Deep Fried Shrimp with salt & pepper - the shrimp were not great quality, the handling of them was. Given all the high end seafood on their regular menu, I would have expected this to be better. 

Service was very good with tons of carts around and friendly servers willing to show you what they have on the carts.

Just under $30 a person which is $5-7 higher than what we would pay at Wong Gee. Better than Wong Gee. I would need to go to Vinh Ky with a group to get deeper into the menu to make a omparison with them, but VK and WG are my go to's before China Garden.

We will go back

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