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China Gourmet, Fairfax - Thai'd.


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OK folks- here's what I've been able to find out, none of this is confirmed but I hear (insert unmentionable chef name here)'s new restaurant will be called China Gourmet.  It's gonna be at 9901 Lee Highway in Fairfax and is scheduled to open March 15th.

Thanks to gnathrobed for his information. It is now (mostly) CONFIRMED. I was there and saw our boy in the flesh (no names please---remember La Migra). We shook hands like old friends and I also met his wife who is cooking alongside him. He is already, and will be, cooking at what is now called China Gourmet, but will be renamed "Szechuan Boy" as of March 15th (I know, but it's no worse than TemptAsian)--the confusion about March 15 appears to be that that is the grand opening date under the new name. The restaurant is under new ownership. The head guy is Jerry, and the lovely lady behind the cash register is Jessica.

I'm still a bit skeptical of the name, but that is what they said, and I had them repeat it several times. Take it FWIW

Jerry tells me the new menu will be available in print form by Tuesday. It will supposedly have several items which were not available at China Star and TemptAsian. Also, they will be placing an emphasis on banquets, defined as a prearranged dinner of at least 1 table (normally 10 people, but less is OK), and for these banquets there will be items not available on the regular menu. These will be priced at $250 give or take per table, and will include for example 6-7 apps., 6-7 mains, and 1-2 desserts. Looks like a deal to me--I expect to be organizing some soon. At least one day notice. Lunch or dinner.

Note to StephenB: It appears too late to utilize the "marry him" strategy--we'll need to come up with something else

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John, you've done excellent work. Congratulations and thank you. I don't think we'll have any trouble rounding up some rockheads for a banquet. Pick a date and count me in.

Did you get any sense of the nameless one's role at SzechuanBoy? Might he be a part owner, or is he just somebody on the lam (in which case they are ready with a backup)?

We are entering a new era in naming Chinese restaurants. The next one may be Cookgood.

OK, if marrying him is out, let's just hire him to run our ports.

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I stopped by the restaurant today and verified that Chef Zhang will start there officially on Tuesday, March 14, but he is already cooking there as of tonight. I got a copy of the hand-written Chinese menu that he plans to prepare, and present below my rudimentary translation. The proper menu will be ready by Tuesday, probably in English as well as Chinese. I apologize in advance if I have made any errors in translation/reading that cause any unfortunate ordering decisions...

Appetizers (prepared by Zhang's wife):

1. Smoked Sesame Chicken (yan xun xiang you ji), $6.50

2. Husband-and-Wife Lung Slices ?? (fu qi fei pian), $6.50

3. Hot and Numbing Rabbit Cubes (ma la tu ding), $6.50

4. Red Oil Beef Shank (hong you niu jin), $6.50

5. Salty Duck (xian shui ya), $6.50

6. Hot and Numbing Coriander Beef Tendon (ma la xiang cai niu jian), $6.50

7. Five Flavor Beef Tendon (wu xiang niu jian), $6.50

8. Three Flavor Bean Curd Skin (san xian dou pi), $4.95

9. Dan Dan Noodles (dan dan mian), $3.95

10. Fish Rolls ?? (yu XX juan), $4.95

11. Nan Shan Something (nan shan XX XX ), $4.95

12. Sichuan Pickles (si chuan bao cai), $1.95

13. Something crispy with beans (illegible), $4.95

14. Oil Braised Vegetable of some sort (you men XX cai), $4.50

15. Quick Boiled Peanuts (tiao shui hua ren), $2.95

16. Pork in Garlic Mud (suan ni bai rou), $5.95

17. Hot and Numbing Dried Beef (ma la niu rou gan), $5.95

18. Daikon Radish with Pepper and something else (XX XX hu lo bo), $4.95

19. Pumpkin Cakes (nan gua bing), $3.95

20. Red Oil Wontons (hong you chao shou), $4.95

21. Chicken Juice Wontons (ji zhi chao shou), $4.95

Entrees:

1. Boiled Fish with Soft Bean Curd (shui zhu dou hua yu), $13.95

2. Ma Po Fish Cubes (ma po yu ding), $12.95

3. Some sort of fish slices, $13.95

4. Boiled Fish (shui zhu yu), $12.95

5. Special Flavor Hot and Numbing Fish (te wei ma la yu), $13.95

6. Pine Nut Fish Half (song ren yu ban), $12.95

7. Bean Sprout Crystal Shrimp (dou miao shui jing xia), $13.95

8. Sichuan Flavor Shrimp of some sort (chuan wei gong XX xia), $12.95

9. Lions Head in Clear Soup (qing dun shi zi tou), $6.95

10. Red Cooked Lion Head (hong shao shi zi tou), $10.95

11. Immortal Old Duck Pot (shen xian lao ya guo), $13.95 [this may be a misread on my part]

12. Shan City Taro Chicken (shan cheng yu er ji), $11.95

13. Golden Ribs of some sort, $10.95

14. Chen Cang Beef in Buns (chen cang niu jia mo), $10.95

15. Salty Fish with Crab and Tofu (xian yu xie rou dou fu), $8.95

16. Salty Fish with Iron Plate Tofu (xian yu tie ban dou fu), $8.95

17. Boiled Beef Intestine (shui zhu niu XX da chang), $10.95

18. Some other tripe dish, $10.95

19. Pickled Vegetable Tripe (suan cai da chang), $10.95

20. Dried Bamboo Shoot Meat Stew (sun gan shao rou), $8.95

21. Fire Braised Red Chicken (huo shao hong zi ji), $9.95

22. Shan City Twice-Cooked Pork (shan cheng hui guo rou), $8.95

23. Duck Breast with some vegetable (XX cai ya pu), $11.95

24. Simply Sauteed Seasonal Vegetable (qing chao shi shu), $7.95

25. Loofah with Fish Slices (si gua yu pian), $12.95

26. Braised Fresh Scallop and Loofah (xian bei si gua hui), $13.95

27. Ma Po Tofu (ma po dou fu), $7.95

28. Sichuan Spicy some sort of Beef (chuan la XX niu rou), $11.95

29. Garlic Flavored Pork Shreds (yu xiang rou si), $8.95

30. Pickled Vegetable with Beef threads and something else (suan cai XX XX rou si), $8.95

31. Shan City Stir Fried Pig's Foot (shan cheng xiao chao ti), $9.95

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Don't worry, they are not "lion heads", they are large meatballs that, to Chinese eyes, resemble a lion's head. They are a classic of "huai yang" style cooking (a cuisine based around the city of Yangzhou, in Jiangsu province).

We went to China Gourmet for dinner tonight and actually ordered the red cooked lion head, along with the boiled peanuts, three flavor bean curd skin, a vegetable dish that none of us could figure out the name of, the "fei teng yu pian" (dish #3 on the entree menu) and the braised scallop and loofah.

All the starters were very good, with the peanuts and the vegetable dish standing out (the peanuts were amazingly tasty, and crunchy, and really refreshing; the vegetable--which even Jerry, the owner, could not identify--had a great cruncy to it and very subtle flavor; we thought it might be a kind of squash, but apparently it is not). The bean curd skin dish was interesting--three squares of bean curd skin wrapped around a filling of sticky rice and minced meat

Among the main courses, the fei teng yu pian was by far the best. It's like the boiled fish (shui zhu yu), with slices of white meat fish cooked in a broth laced with chilies and Sichuan pepper. It also has bean thread noodles and bean sprouts in it, which offer a very nice contrasting texture to the fish. The red cooked lion head also had a very nice flavor, though to my taste the sauce was too starchy (but I am not a fan of lion head). The scallop dish had almost no flavor at all, and would not be one that I would ever order again.

Service was very friendly, and Peter came out to check out who this foreigner who spoke Chinese was--he even recognized me before I realized who he was. I never thought he'd remember me, but he did, and he even had my business card in his wallet!

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You're talking to someone who actually ate some duck tongue at Bob's Noodle House in Rockville, not very long ago. (I liked the spices and flavor a lot. The texure? Not so much.)

I am enchanted that there are so many Asian restaurants around this area which eschew the Chop Suey/Egg Roll style of cooking and remain true to their origins. It's the English translations that I find often to be such a HOOT! <_<

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So when do we hold our first Rockwellian pre-arranged banquet?

Perhaps we should organize both a Sichuan banquet here and a Cantonese banquet at Fortune Seven Corners (where my wedding reception was) or another similar joint.

Please check with me before you speak to either restaurant. There are events in the works already and I want to ensure there is no conflict. Thanks.

Okay, now that that's taken care of, on to my lunch at Szechwan Boy this afternoon. First, a huge thank you to PandaHugga for his translation. Without it MelGold and I would have dined on Happy Family and Lo Mien. Although I am sure with Chef Zhang in the kitchen it would have been spectacular, but not worth the schlep.

When we asked our waiter if we could order off the Chinese menu he gave us a look of disbelief but went to retrieve it. He came back and wanted to know how we knew Chinese. We assured him that we didn't but still wanted to order off of it. I then pulled out the notes from Pandahugga's posts and started reeling off what we wanted. The waiter stopped me and wanted to know how I knew what to ask for. I mumbled something about knowing someone who was there last night and translated for me. Then I quickly moved back to the ordering.

Having the corresponding numbers from the menu helped a lot. When I asked for fish rolls he wasn't sure what I wanted, but when I said #10 he smiled and understood. We also asked for #20, red oil wontons. He asked a number of times if that was what we really wanted and if we knew that they were hot. We assured him that was exactly what we wanted. At that point he relaxed a little and realized that we were serious about ordering and would appreciate his help.

Melgold had no say in the first entree, but I knew she would be pleased. We ordered #29, garlic flavored pork shreds. Again, the waiter checked to make sure we knew what we were getting into. Again, we assured him that we really did want garlic and pork. What could be better? I asked if the chef had roasted fish on the menu, and we attempted to describe it to our waiter, but it was fruitless. He did not know the dish we were referring to. I hope it appears once the English menu translation is finished.

Instead, for our last dish we put our selections into the hands of our waiter. We said we wanted fish. He suggested #4, boiled fish, describing it as fish in a hot pot with chilly oil. Ironically it reminded us of the roasted fish. The flavors were similar, although this had more spice. It is not to be missed.

After taking our order the waiter asked what kind of heat we could handle. I asked for medium, but I think everything but the wontons were on the mild/medium side. The entrees were not spicy at all. Throughout the meal our waiter and a woman (possibly Chef's wife?) kept coming over to see if the food was too hot, to check that we really were eating the delicacies before us and enjoying them. We repeatedly assured them that we were savoring every bite.

The fish rolls and wontons were exactly as I remembered. The fish rolls are still a bit greasy but delicious. They are a nice counter to the spicy wontons. They have always had more cilantro than fish, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I do wish there was more of a fish flavor to them. Regardless, they alone were worth the drive. The wontons also lived up to memory, full of flavor with a hit of heat from the broth. That broth is the perfect place to dip the fish rolls in for an extra zing of heat.

The garlic with pork shreds is exactly that. The garlic is not overpowering, but instead an underlying flavor under the heat of the chilies. This is what I am craving now as I type. As I said above, the boiled fish reminded me of the roasted fish, but that may be because of the cumin. There is also ginger hidden somewhere in there. The broth is a bit oily but full of flavor that seeps into the fish. Although these four dishes are just a small section of what is available, it was enough to prove that Chef feels very comfortable in his new kitchen.

Now, 5 hours later, my only regret is that I let Mel take all the leftovers with her. Her coworkers owe me a pizza <_< Chef has picked up where he left off over at TemptAsian without missing a beat.

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Okay, now that that's taken care of, on to my lunch at Szechwan Boy this afternoon. 

........

Sounds good. But I gotta say, for the number of times they had to check with you about heat, about coming to see if you really enjoyed it, etc. It would have annoyed the shit out of me.

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A group of six which included me, johnb and pappy met for lunch out there today. We had James "Pandahugga's" recommendations with us and ordered most of them and a couple of other things that sounded intriguing.

We started with boiled peanuts, Szechuan pickles, spicy crispy vegetables, and pork in garlic mud. The peanuts are salty and a little spicy, but do not have the strong anise flavor as the ones served at Ching Ching Cha, which I love. The English-speaking waiter explained that the pickles were made from winter melon (Iknew it was some type of curcubit)-- steamed and salty. The cubes of extremely spicy "crispy" veg were "white carrot" (parsnip?) and broccoli. These were spicy enough to send one person at the table, just getting over a cold, into a coughing fit that she barely recovered from. The pork with garlic mud was my favorite of the appetizers--slices of pork belly with a delicious garlic sauce, brown natch.

The first entree dish we got was a duck hot pot, which was what I imagine a Chinese "Jewish mother" might make on a day she was feeling really benevolent. An intense, rich broth with chunks of bone-in duck, thick rice noodles, loofah squash and shreds of dried scallop. This instantly soothed the throat of the sufferer and all of us were instantly cured of everything that ailed us. Highly recommended.

We got the fish in Szechuan sauce with cabbage that Hillvalley and MelGold had--whoo-ee. Chili oil, chili flakes, Szechuan pepper, green peppercorns, five spice, cilantro. This will make your mouth come alive, baby. Chef Chang did not hold back when he prepared this for us.

He had come out to say hello when we were ordering, and said that he had made a special dish he wanted us to try--since he doesn't speak English, our waiter thoughtfully interpreted. It was a dim sum steamer pot full of golf-ball sized rice balls filled with a mixture of silken tofu, minced chicken and scallions. Very nice, soothing dish to contrast the fish.

Everyone wanted to have Chen Cang Beef, an old favorite from China Star. The waiter called it "Chinese hamburger" when he set it down on the table. The steamed buns are still heavy--I pull as much of the bread out of the inside as possible--and the meat was crispy-crumbly and strongly flavored with cumin. Pile the meat in the bun, forget about fries. The waiter advised us to add some of the crispy, spicy veg left over from the appetizers. "That's what we do" he said. Kind of like slaw on a pulled pork sandwich, someone at the table pointed out. It was good that way.

Another dish from the specials was dried bamboo shoot with pork--which I really loved. It had small chunks of barbecued pork belly glazed brown with a hoisin-type sauce that tasted of star anise, and the bamboo shoot was stewed soft, almost like a delicate noodle--completely unlike the crisp, metallic-tasting canned bamboo shoot that typically arrives in Chinese dishes.

Chef Chang suggested that "next time" we order smoked sesame chicken--a cold appetizer. Since I was taking leftovers home for my husband, I ordered the chicken dish take-out. Highly recommended--a whole leg of a large chicken, salted, sauced with roasted sesame oil and black pepper and tea-smoked, then sliced across the bone. Really, really delicious. I'm sorry that the rest of the group didn't get to taste this, but anyone else who goes should definitely consider ordering this dish. Full of flavor but not spicy-hot.

The whole meal was less than $20 a person, including tax and tip.

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For those who want to share the deliciousness with other teflon-tongues sooner rather than (too)later, next Tuesday evening will be a $20 Tuesday. Details on the $20 Tuesday thread. Thanks JamesG, Zora and hillvalley (and JohnB and Steve on chowhound) - you will make the ordering much more interesting! Any idea what's become of the roasted fish dish?

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Thanks for all of the detailed descriptions. I'm drooling on my keyboard!

For those who have dined at the new Szechuan Boy, did you happen to notice if they deliver? I work less than 3 miles from there, and I'm eager to order lunch from there (and blow my coworkers away in the process).

Would their phone number be the same as the old China Gourmet? If I have a number, I might be able to call and ask them to fax a menu to me.

Surely someone has this information--at least the phone number! I hope you'll share!

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For those who want to share the deliciousness with other teflon-tongues sooner rather than (too)later, next Tuesday evening will be a  $20 Tuesday.  Details on the $20 Tuesday thread.  Thanks JamesG, Zora and hillvalley (and JohnB and Steve on chowhound) - you will make the ordering much more interesting!  Any idea what's become of the roasted fish dish?

It's as great as it ever was - an incredible amount of fish, nestled inside a little bamboo lean-to. My love for this dish knows no bounds.

Ask for Yao when you go - he's working today, and was probably the gentleman who waited on Zora, JohnB and Pappy for lunch. There's no way to navigate without his help (absent the services of Pandahugga).

Would their phone number be the same as the old China Gourmet?  If I have a number, I might be able to call and ask them to fax a menu to me.

It's the same name and number for now - unless they're dabbling in voodoo or miracles, I just don't see them pulling off a name change this week.

Cheers!

Rocks.

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Ask for Yao when you go - he's working today, and was probably the gentleman who waited on Zora, JohnB and Pappy for lunch.  There's no way to navigate without his help (absent the services of Pandahugga).

Cheers!

Rocks.

That is correct--Yao is your man. He is the fairly middle-aged waiter.

Jerry the owner wasn't there today, but he is also very helpful. Between Yao and Jerry you will be in good hands. With luck, the printed version of the special Chinese menu will soon be available, which should also help (especially if it has translations, tho those Chinese translations are often, shall we say, serendipidous).

BTW, Todd gave the information about the place today in his chat, and I have to assume the diligent work we have been doing was an assist to him. On a purely personal note, I also have to thank him for his kind words in the chat about me, although that was in another context.

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Hey all and hello from Germany! I'm glad that my little translation has helped you out. What's this about "$20 Tuesday" next week? I would love to have an excuse to go back to this place, and would be happy to meet some of the other DR'ers whom I don't already know.

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Hey all and hello from Germany!  I'm glad that my little translation has helped you out.  What's this about "$20 Tuesday" next week?  I would love to have an excuse to go back to this place, and would be happy to meet some of the other DR'ers whom I don't already know.

Hello James:

Several of us will be heading to SB next Tuesday afterwork. Probably in the 7-7:30 range. If you are Stateside, please join us.

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I think it's a safe bet to count me in. I'll be sick to death of all the sausage and (now that I'm in Switzerland) fondue...

Hello James:

Several of us will be heading to SB next Tuesday afterwork.  Probably in the 7-7:30 range.  If you are Stateside, please join us.

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I was at lunch today in a group of 5. The manager, Jerry, said we should let him know how many we're going to be on Tuesday night -- that if we're 8 or more he'll set aside the private room with a lazy susan table. I told him I'd pass the word and hope that someone contacts him with a number.

Chef Peter Zhang was on duty and seemed quite pleased with his new affiliation. We had ribs, a fish broth, the famous peanuts and a bunch of other stuff, all excellent. Zhang has hit his stride at Szechuan Boy. Let's hope he stays there for a while.

JohnB asked Chef Zhang to turn up the spiciness a bit the next time. He still doesn't quite believe that we occidentals can take it.

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I was at lunch today in a group of 5.  The manager, Jerry, said we should let him know how many we're going to be on Tuesday night -- that if we're 8 or more he'll set aside the private room with a lazy susan table.  I told him I'd pass the word and hope that someone contacts him with a number.

Chef Peter Zhang was on duty and seemed quite pleased with his new affiliation.  We had ribs, a fish broth, the famous peanuts and a bunch of other stuff, all excellent.  Zhang has hit his stride at Szechuan Boy. Let's hope he stays there for a while.

JohnB asked Chef Zhang to turn up the spiciness a bit the next time.  He still doesn't quite believe that we occidentals can take it.

Another great lunch. Among other things we had the #1 smoked sesame chicken (mightly rich), #7 five flavor beef tendon, #8 three flavor bean curd skin, #10 fish rolls (just like before), and #12 the Szechuan pickles which is crispy slices of vegetables--turns out chef uses what he has on any given day so the contents change. For mains we had #4 boiled fish (silky, great fish, with clear threads), #13 golden ribs (a real hit, succulent pork ribs served under a huge and addictive pile of golden soy/garlic/breadcrumby stuff, like Lake Windless prawns), and boiled beef with vegetables (not yet on menu but #44 on old TemptAsian menu which I brought along), and really good sesame/scallion pancakes. All good. $18 per person all in with generous tip.

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Any idea what's become of the roasted fish dish?

It's as great as it ever was - an incredible amount of fish, nestled inside a little bamboo lean-to.  My love for this dish knows no bounds.

I've heard that if you ask for "the spicy crispy fish, dry, with no sauce, in a bamboo basket" you will probably get this dish.

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I've heard that if you ask for  "the spicy crispy fish, dry, with no sauce, in a bamboo basket" you will probably get this dish.

We checked on it today. They have had it depending on having the necessary fish which they apparently did not today. However Jerry says it will be a permanent item on the menu shortly.

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I have not yet been, and I am still eager to try it with my coworkers.  Are you who have been there finding it easy to order from Pandahugga's translation of the Chinese menu?

You shouldn't have any serious problem. Bring James' translation with you.

Anyway they will probably have a decent printed version of the new menu in a day or two more. Just be sure they understand you are one of the crazy Americans who wants the real stuff! They are generally very friendly and helpful. Ask for Yao the main waiter and/or speak to Jerry the manager.

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I would love to join you on Tuesday, but I can't say definitely yes just yet.

Meanwhile, after speaking to (I think) 4 different people, 2 female and 2 male, and being warned that the items from the Chinese menu might not travel well, and being asked how I knew what was on the Chinese menu, to which I responded that I had Mr. Shen's translation, I finally persuaded someone to deliver some food. (My work day is crazy, so I'm eating at my desk, trying not to let clients see--or I might have to share!)

I am sooooo happy now! I know--my choices weren't very brave, but I got my favorite three flavor bean curd skin (#8), and chicken juice (flavor?) wontons (#21). Based on previous posts, I also ordered the smoked sesame chicken (#1) and the boiled peanuts (#15), which is the spiciest of my choices. The bean curd skin and the baby wontons are just as I remember them. The chicken is wonderful, but very rich! I love the peanuts--they sure are different!

I think maybe I should call back and tell them that I did enjoy the food very much, and I will be ordering again.

I wonder if anyone will notice if I just take a little nap beside my desk now. . . .

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More dishes are on the Chinese menu now (I was there last night), so here for the community's use are my translations. Note that they include some appetizers along with the main courses:

32. Dong Pu Pork (this is the preserved pork belly), $12.95

33. Whole Sichuan Style Chicken, $11.95

34. "Ba Ge" Fish (the characters are cut off), $11.95

35. "Ba Ge" Boiled Rabbit (spicy dish), $11.95

36. Preserved Pickle Fish, $11.95

37. Beggar's Braised Fish, $11.95

38. Sharp Pepper Fish, $13.95

39. Casserole of Carp and Eggplant, $12.95

40. Fish Simmered in Soy Sauce and Chili Bean Paste, $12.95

41. Scallion Braised Carp, $12.95

42. Beef Tenderloin with Lemongrass, $11.95

43. Some other Beef with Lemongrass, $11.95

44. Fragrant Dried Beef Slices, $8.95

45. Shan City Chili Chicken, $8.95

46. Minced Chicken with Chilies, $8.95

47. Pearl Tofu Balls, $9.95

48. Red Oil Duck Feet, $6.50

49. Scallion Oil Duck Feet, $6.50

50. "Shepherd's Purse" Diced something, $4.95

51. Hot and Numbing diced something, $4.95

52. Tuchia Style Roast Bread (3), $3.95

53. Five Flavor Sesame Roast Pancake, $4.95

54. Scallion "Bubble" Pancake, $4.50

55. Hot and Numbing Beef Rolls, $4.95

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It's a pleasure to help out; glad to know that my tuition payments are of use to someone! And now everyone can see from the photo that I am a genuine Panda Hugger!

In other (more pertinent) news, dinner at CG last night was extraordinary. We had two friends join us, one of whom is a Japanese speaker, and she was able to read one of the dishes on the hand-written menu so we ordered it to humor her. It was the Five Flavor Beef on the appetizer menu, and it turned out to be a particular hit. Along with it we had the mystery vegetable (still no idea what it is, but I'm virtually certain it's winter melon) and the peanuts, which this time came in a liquid (the last time they were served dry, which I liked better). For mains we had the Chen Cang beef (done perfectly), the Fei Teng fish (ditto) and a new dish, slices of chicken with chilies served on a sort of hibachi thing with live flame underneath (sort of tasted/looked like Chinese fajitas). All of it was great, and my friends were duly impressed.

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Great photo, James. I would also note for those reading this was a wonderful cook/home chef you and your partner are perhaps faithfully rivalling many of the restaurants we talk about on here.

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Thanks for the kind review, Joe! I'm still working, by the way, on the identity of the mystery vegetable in that appetizer dish. I now have come to realize that the third and fourth characters refer to a famous historical figure in Chinese imperial history, the great beauty Yang Guifei, who was a particular inspiration for a number of dishes. Unfortunately, this does not help to figure out what the vegetable is, but it might imply that it's more the preparation that's important than the actual vegetable used. The search continues.

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Thanks for the kind review, Joe!  I'm still working, by the way, on the identity of the mystery vegetable in that appetizer dish.  I now have come to realize that the third and fourth characters refer to a famous historical figure in Chinese imperial history, the great beauty Yang Guifei, who was a particular inspiration for a number of dishes.  Unfortunately, this does not help to figure out what the vegetable is, but it might imply that it's more the preparation that's important than the actual vegetable used.  The search continues.

If you are able to scan it and e-mail it to me, I would be happy to translate for you.
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Gee the website has twice eaten my review.....

Tempting fate yet again, I braved driving in Virginai and, with only one wrong turnm managed to find China Gourmet. I was ushered to a table and given the standard "Lunch Special" menu. I asked the waiter (who turned out to be Yao) if this is where Chef Chang was working and he said "yes", but that the special menu was not yet available. No matter as we had a short discussion that resulted in the following lunch:

A pickled vegetable dish that may or may not have been called pat choi. In any case, it was a vegetable that I am unfamiliar with. The stem was pale green and similar to broccoli stem. The top had a more typical cabbage like appearance. The veggie was fresh with a sprightly taste and a bit of spice of its own. The topping was hot chili oil, schezuan peppercorns, black pepper, cumin, other warm/hard spices & brown sugar. There was a touch of vinegar as well. The first bite simply exploded with flavors and showed an unusual approach to spicing. It was a revelation. Each bite was better than the last with the heat building up. Overall it could have used more fire, but what a dish!

The second dish was the only dissapointment: spicy wontons in broth. The broth was good. The wontons were good. The heat was again sneaky. Bu the whole was less than the sum of its parts. I would rather have had a bowl of wontons from one of my local joints (Full Kee, Hollywood East, Paul Kee all in Wheaton) spiked with chili oil. The dish was in no way bad, but it took up stomach capacity that could have been better used.

The last dish was described as "fried fish, dry with no salt". It turned out to be a fried fish dish with no sauce. It also turned out to be wonderful. It was served on a bamboo net like fan or clamshell propped open with a skewer. It drew the attention of a couple of land barons discussing the purchase of a 3.7 million dollar home in McLean whilst eating special L6 and L8 (ie twice cooked pork and kung pao chicken) While they were facinated by the dish, and amazed that ther3e was a site like Don rockwell.com, I bet they stick to L8 & l^ the next time they come. The thin pieces of fish were battered in what seemed to be an egg batter and deep fried perfectly. There was a flavoring of stir fried cilentro (I wouldn't be surprised if there was another type of green herb in there as well), two kinds of peppers, another spice mixture again redolent of cumin and black pepper but different than the first. The first few bites my attention was drawn to the coating and the spice. I could barely taste the fish but I guesses that cardboard prepared this way would taste wonderful as well. But as the dish cooled, it revealed the delicate flavor of the fish. By the end, there was a perfect balance of fish to spice and batter. Again, a masterful dish.

I enjoyed a beer (Yoa thougtfully asked me for ID!) and met andy as well. He said "Nice to see you again!" a nice trick given that I had never stepped foot in there before! In any case, when Andy packed my leftovers to go, he added a boring eggroll from the lunch specials. I guess that was just to demonstrate the contrast beteen crap and Chef's brilliance.

I think we will schedule more events at Wolf Trap just to ahve an excuse to go back again. I am envious of the folk sitting down to what surely will be a feast right about now. But my dear wife wanted a night at home, and who am I to argue?

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The last dish was described as "fried fish, dry with no salt".  It turned out to be a fried fish dish with no sauce.  It also turned out to be wonderful.  It was served on a bamboo net like fan or clamshell propped open with a skewer.  It drew the attention of a couple of land barons discussing the purchase of a 3.7 million dollar home in McLean whilst eating special L6 and L8 (ie twice cooked pork and kung pao chicken) While they were facinated by the dish, and amazed that ther3e was a site like Don rockwell.com, I bet they stick to L8 & l^ the next time they come.  The thin pieces of fish were battered in what seemed to be an egg batter and deep fried perfectly.  There was a flavoring of stir fried cilentro (I wouldn't be surprised if there was another type of green herb in there as well), two kinds of peppers, another spice mixture again redolent of cumin and black pepper but different than the first.  The first few bites my attention was drawn to the coating and the spice.  I could barely taste the fish but I guesses that cardboard prepared this way would taste wonderful as well.  But as the dish cooled, it revealed the delicate flavor of the fish.  By the end, there was a perfect balance of fish to spice and batter.  Again, a masterful dish.

That was the famous roasted fish with scallion dish that everyone has raved about. It is agreed to be a strong contender for his best dish.

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That was the famous roasted fish with scallion dish that everyone has raved about, including most recently (IIRC) Todd K and our very own Don R.

Never having made it to TempAsian, this is good to know. Just a last thought on my meal today and looking at the food in these wonderful pics....

I am a huge fan of Joe's noodle house and I am now a big fan of Peter Chiang. It seems to me on a small sample size at one place vs the other, that Juoes is more "street food" and Chef Chiang is more interested in elevating the food. Both styles are valid and it is amazing that, in my experience as a Californian with access to both Monterrey Park as well as the best of SF for years, that the two best Schezual restaurants I have ever been to, with no cpmparison in sight, are in the DC aera. Brandy Ho's at its best pales in comparison and Henry's Hunan was never a pretender to the throne. We are lucky to have places like these!

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Now that some of the unclear characters have become clearer to me, here is a revised menu:

1. Smoked Sesame Chicken (yan xun xiang you ji), $6.50

2. Husband-and-Wife Lung Slices (fu qi fei pian), $6.50

3. Hot and Numbing Rabbit Cubes (ma la tu ding), $6.50

4. Red Oil Beef Shank (hong you niu jin), $6.50

5. Salty Duck (xian shui ya), $6.50

6. Hot and Numbing Coriander Beef Tendon (ma la xiang cai niu jian), $6.50

7. Five Flavor Beef Tendon (wu xiang niu jian), $6.50

8. Three Flavor Bean Curd Skin (san xian dou pi), $4.95

9. Dan Dan Noodles (dan dan mian), $3.95

10. Fish Coriander Rolls (yu xiang juan), $4.95

11. Nan Shan Something (nan shan XX XX ), $4.95

12. Sichuan Pickles (si chuan bao cai), $1.95

13. Crispy Jade Cups (cui ban yu huan geng), $4.95

14. Oil Braised Bracken (you men jue cai), $4.50

15. Quick Boiled Peanuts (tiao shui hua ren), $2.95

16. Pork in Garlic Mud (suan ni bai rou), $5.95

17. Hot and Numbing Dried Beef (ma la niu rou gan), $5.95

18. Daikon Radish with Pepper and something else (XX XX hu lo bo), $4.95

19. Pumpkin Cakes (nan gua bing), $3.95

20. Red Oil Wontons (hong you chao shou), $4.95

21. Chicken Juice Wontons (ji zhi chao shou), $4.95

Entrees (other than those marked with a ##):

1. Boiled Fish with Soft Bean Curd (shui zhu dou hua yu), $13.95

2. Ma Po Fish Cubes (ma po yu ding), $12.95

3. Boiled Fish Slices [spicy!!] (fei teng yu pian), $13.95

4. Boiled Fish Casserole [spicy!!] (shui zhu yu), $12.95

5. Special Flavor Hot and Numbing Fish (te wei ma la yu), $13.95

6. Pine Nut Fish Half (song ren yu ban), $12.95

7. Bean Sprout Crystal Shrimp (dou miao shui jing xia), $13.95

8. Sichuan Flavor Shrimp (chuan wei gong bao xia), $12.95

9. Lion Head in Clear Soup (qing dun shi zi tou), $6.95

10. Red Cooked Lion Head (hong shao shi zi tou), $10.95

11. Immortal Old Duck Pot [soupy] (shen xian lao ya guo), $13.95

12. Shan City Taro Chicken (shan cheng yu er ji), $11.95

13. Golden Powder Braised Ribs (jin fen xx xiang gu), $10.95

14. Chen Cang Beef in Buns (chen cang niu jia mo), $10.95

15. Salty Fish with Crab and Tofu (xian yu xie rou dou fu), $8.95

16. Salty Fish with Iron Plate Tofu (xian yu tie ban dou fu), $8.95

17. Boiled Beef Intestine (shui zhu niu da chang), $10.95

18. Tripe with Chili Peppers (jian jiao da chang), $10.95

19. Pickled Vegetable Tripe (suan cai da chang), $10.95

20. Dried Bamboo Shoot Meat Stew (sun gan shao rou), $8.95

21. Fire Braised Red Chicken (huo shao hong zi ji), $9.95

22. Shan City Twice-Cooked Pork (shan cheng hui guo rou), $8.95

23. Duck Breast with Hot Pickled Mustard Tuber (zha cai ya pu), $11.95

24. Simply Sauteed Seasonal Vegetable (qing chao shi shu), $7.95

25. Loofah with Fish Slices (si gua yu pian), $12.95

26. Braised Fresh Scallop and Loofah (xian bei si gua hui), $13.95

27. Ma Po Tofu (ma po dou fu), $7.95

28. Sichuan Spicy some sort of Beef (chuan la XX niu rou), $11.95

29. Garlic Flavored Pork Shreds (yu xiang rou si), $8.95

30. Pickled Vegetable with Bean threads and Pork (suan cai fen si rou si), $8.95

31. Shan City Stir Fried Pig's Foot (shan cheng xiao chao ti), $9.95

32. Dong Po Pork (this is the preserved pork belly), $12.95

33. Sichuan Boy Style Chicken, $11.95

34. "Ba Ge" Rabbit of some sort (the characters are cut off), $11.95

35. "Ba Ge" Boiled Rabbit (spicy dish), $11.95

36. Preserved Pickle Fish, $11.95

37. Beggar's Braised Fish, $11.95

38. Sharp Pepper Fish, $13.95

39. Casserole of Carp and Eggplant, $12.95

40. Fish Simmered in Soy Sauce and Chili Bean Paste, $12.95

41. Scallion Braised Carp, $12.95

42. Beef Tenderloin with Lemongrass, $11.95

43. "Zhu Ge" style Beef with Lemongrass, $11.95

44. Fragrant Dried Beef Slices, $8.95

45. Shan City Chili Chicken, $8.95

46. Minced Chicken with Chilies, $8.95

47. Pearl Tofu Balls, $9.95

48. ##Red Oil Duck Feet, $6.50

49. ##Scallion Oil Duck Feet, $6.50

50. ##"Shepherd's Purse" Diced taro, $4.95

51. ##Hot and Numbing diced taro, $4.95

52. ##Tuchia Style Roast Bread (3), $3.95

53. ##Five Flavor Sesame Roast Pancake, $4.95

54. ##Scallion "Bubble" Pancake, $4.50

55. ##Hot and Numbing Beef Rolls, $4.95

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