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Wu's Garden - Peking-Style Cuisine at 418 Maple Avenue E, Vienna - Closed and Demolished


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Wu's Garden is at 418 Maple Avenue East in Vienna. It is a old style American Chinese restaurant. I found that I like the dated décor and the old fashion look to the building. The service was great! I will assume that the owner (maybe Mr Wu himself?) waited on us. There were two other couples in the restaurant while we were there on a Monday night. We started out with hot and sour soup, nothing special but a nice way to start the meal. We went on to have the Kang Pao Beef, which was very good and spicy, a so so Moo Shi Pork and a average Mandarin Fried Rice.

Wu's Garden is average, a good place to take kids, but I wish I could find better (but close) Chinese to Vienna.

Wu's Garden Restaurant
(703) 281-4410
418 Maple Ave E
Vienna, VA 22180
No web site that I can find

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A friend of mine loves the place. It is definitely old school. And they carve the Peking Duck tableside, a plus if you're in the mood for duck. I've only eaten there once, so I'm not qualified to make sweeping judgements. They do have some seasonal specials, like beef with garlic chives. Also, the Wu's were very nice people, Bill and Steve both. I'm not sure how many other family members work there.

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As I recall, the Wu family sold the place a couple years ago. Wu's holds such a special place in my heart- my dad and i went there at least 1x a week when I was a kid, and we always had the same great waiter, Chi, who made sure I got 4 maraschino cherries with my shirley temple.

I don't think I could ever go back now- best to keep to the old adage and not try to go home again.

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David Chang is absolutely right about the braised tofu at Wu's Garden.

Details forthcoming as soon as I can get caught up with my reviews at dcdining.com, but for now, suffice it say ... wow.

Last time we ate in at Wu's I had the braised boneless chicken mentioned in that article. It was my first time trying it. I enjoyed it, but I have to admit I tend to like spicier food. The braised chicken had a brown, meaty broth and the chicken was cooked perfectly.

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David Chang is absolutely right about the braised tofu at Wu's Garden.

Details forthcoming as soon as I can get caught up with my reviews at dcdining.com, but for now, suffice it say ... wow.

I swear by most things David-Chang-related (i.e., the Momofuku franchise), but in this case I have to think he was being at least partly tongue-in-cheek. I tried the braised tofu shortly after his rave, and found it to be very standard-issue, Americanized stuff -- nothing worth going out of one's way for, and nothing at all comparable to virtually anything at Chang's own establishments.

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Had the braised boneless chicken the other day and really enjoyed it....nicely cooked and seasoned, and there's plenty of it. Also tried the hot and sour shrimp, steamed dumplings and crab rangoon. These items were just terrible...old, stale, doughy, lacking taste -- and that goes for all three. I'd go back for the chicken tho... just don't know what to order with it.

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I love this place. Wu's Garden and House of Dynasty in Hayfield are my favorite Americanized Chinese places in northern Virginia. Wu's not only has waiters in tuxes, but the decor is definitely unique. You just won't see those ornate ceilings and that intricate wooden lattice work at the dying breed of Americanized Chinese restaurants any more. This restaurant is one of our treasures.

I enjoyed the hot and sour soup as a starter, and from the Peking Gourmet Inn thread, I deduced this version was slightly better. Yes, there was the vinegar, black pepper and corn starch, for sure, but there was also a goodly amount of floating matter in it -- water chestnut, ribbons of egg, shards of pork -- to make it a hearty starter.

Then I had the braised tofu, and I agree with Don Rockwell. This dish is heavenly. From the knowing nod of approval by the waiter when I ordered it, to the arrival on the table of a large rectangle of tofu with a light crust on top and pure custard inside, to the light and gentle soy-ginger sauce, it was pure heaven on a plate. I've never had a more perfect dish that was so simple, or a more simple dish that was so perfect. I can't wait to get back there and order it again, and soon.

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I love this place. Wu's Garden and House of Dynasty in Hayfield are my favorite Americanized Chinese places in northern Virginia. Wu's not only has waiters in tuxes, but the decor is definitely unique. You just won't see those ornate ceilings and that intricate wooden lattice work at the dying breed of Americanized Chinese restaurants any more. This restaurant is one of our treasures.

I've eaten at Wu's Garden. The food is fine. But tuxes, ornate ceilings, and intricate wooden lattice work do not advance the cause of heralding the important contributions of Chinese cuisine :mellow: Fortunately, I suspect they are merely trying to do well as a small business serving locals in Vienna without imagining that their efforts could have global effects.

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I've eaten at Wu's Garden. The food is fine. But tuxes, ornate ceilings, and intricate wooden lattice work do not advance the cause of heralding the important contributions of Chinese cuisine :mellow: Fortunately, I suspect they are merely trying to do well as a small business serving locals in Vienna without imagining that their efforts could have global effects.

Uh, allow me to clarify. The Americanized Chinese restaurant of decades ago, with all of its MSG shine and red-tinted spare ribs, is slowly dying off. The recent wave of Asian immigration combined with the increased adventurousness of the American palate is nudging these temples aside, and Wu's Garden or House of Dynasty are our last bastions of this heritage. That's neither a bad nor a good thing, it just is.

I have no idea what you mean by global effects, but blowing David Chang's socks off is pretty awesome.

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Sorry for being obtuse. I was playing off: "or maybe it's just because another ordinary Middle Eastern restaurant does not advance the cause of heralding the contributions of this important ethnic culinary tradition to its rightful place among the world's gastronomic pantheon." I found the views on ethnic cuisines amusing for personal reasons (I guess).

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Sorry for being obtuse. I was playing off: "or maybe it's just because another ordinary Middle Eastern restaurant does not advance the cause of heralding the contributions of this important ethnic culinary tradition to its rightful place among the world's gastronomic pantheon." I found the views on ethnic cuisines amusing for personal reasons (I guess).

Oh.

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Uh, allow me to clarify. The Americanized Chinese restaurant of decades ago, with all of its MSG shine and red-tinted spare ribs, is slowly dying off. The recent wave of Asian immigration combined with the increased adventurousness of the American palate is nudging these temples aside, and Wu's Garden or House of Dynasty are our last bastions of this heritage. That's neither a bad nor a good thing, it just is.

Hypothesis (which, in my own tortured mind, is more of a Postulate): Wu's Garden (and it's steadily-being-elbowed-aside ilk) are the culinary equivalent of this:

http://www.princeofpetworth.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/IMG_3586-e1291652590331.jpg

Tear it down, or let it stand? (Regardless of response, please do try the tofu (and I really like this mini-brawl between Kibbee and Gary in its own way.))

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Hypothesis (which, in my own tortured mind, is more of a Postulate): Wu's Garden (and it's steadily-being-elbowed-aside ilk) are the culinary equivalent of this:

http://www.princeofpetworth.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/IMG_3586-e1291652590331.jpg

Tear it down, or let it stand? (Regardless of response, please do try the tofu (and I really like this mini-brawl between Kibbee and Gary in its own way.))

Maybe if Wu's Garden was designed by I.M. Pei. Personally, I like brutalist architecture, but it was my job to save stuff like this for nearly half a decade.

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Hypothesis (which, in my own tortured mind, is more of a Postulate): Wu's Garden (and it's steadily-being-elbowed-aside ilk) are the culinary equivalent of this:

http://www.princeofpetworth.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/IMG_3586-e1291652590331.jpg

Tear it down, or let it stand? (Regardless of response, please do try the tofu (and I really like this mini-brawl between Kibbee and Gary in its own way.))

Hear-hear on the tofu....! I'll repeat it over and over, I've never had a more perfect dish that was so simple, or a more simple dish that was so perfect.

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Had to have the braised tofu today, and lunch at Wu's satisfied my pangs. Today's version was as usual, but with a slightly darker sear, and with a first-ever (for me) accompaniment of red pepper paste. The heat, when applied judiciously, gave this masterpiece a nice dimension. Oh, how I ove this dish!

Wu's is a fascinating place to absorb -- the elaborate ceiling tiles, the intricate woodwork, the black-vested elderly male waiters -- it's a throwback to a time in our past where memories are good. I hope it never goes away....

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I live no more than 20 minutes away from this place and haven't eaten there in years.

I also remember some time back in 1998 or 99 when I was trying to drive a rear-wheel Volvo 740 home, I couldn't get up the initial rise of Beulah from 123, and had to detour, ending up sitting in Wu's until I could be rescued by someone with a better snow-faring car. The staff was exceptionally courteous and kept me in spring rolls and Cokes until I couldn't partake of either any more, and had no problem with me abandoning my car in their lot until I could come and collect it when the snow thawed enough to do so. An exceptionally positive experience to an otherwise *shitty* day.

I'm putting it on my short-term "to do" list.

Also, as it stands, when my family lived here before (way back around 1986-87ish) we lived on Telegraph right down from Dynasty, and ate their frequently. I had a particular affinity for the Pu-Pu Platter, and despite being a finicky 4-5 year old eater, I always polished off both beef *and* broccoli when I ordered it. I've since graduated to more eclectic tastes when it comes to asian cuisine, but I more or less settle on the classics even today.

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I also remember some time back in 1998 or 99 when I was trying to drive a rear-wheel Volvo 740 home, I couldn't get up the initial rise of Beulah from 123, and had to detour, ending up sitting in Wu's until I could be rescued by someone with a better snow-faring car.

Admittedly totally off-topic, and I expect it will be deleted, but here goes: rear-wheel drive cars are perfectly easy to drive in the snow if they have the right tires. Think of tires like being shoes for the car and you'll see what I mean.

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I'm sorry to hear that although I've never eaten there.  Drive about a mile west of there on Maple and go to Lotus Garden.  Great Cantonese food plus hand-pulled noodle soup.

Comparable food, but certainly not comparable space.

Sheesh, that amount of space along Rt. 123...but knowing Vienna rather well, it'll turn into another goddamned bank or mattress store. -_-

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I've heard from friends that Wu's will be carving its last duck and closing sometime before Thanksgiving. 

I'm beginning to think your friends are wrong - their website just mentions they'll be *closed* on Thanksgiving - not that they're *closing* on Thanksgiving.  One would think if they went to the trouble of making that note - which they'd have had to have done somewhat recently - they'd have noted that they'd be closing permanently.

That being said, it wouldn't shock me.  They've been around forever and that much space along Rt. 123 would probably sell for a fortune...again, probably to another goddamned bank.

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I decided to give them a call. The conversation went something like this:

Me: I've been a customer for a long time, and someone told me you're closing. Is that true?

Wu's: Yes, our last day will be the day before Thanksgiving.

Me: Any plans after that?

Wu's: Yes, watching lots of sunsets.

Me: Are there any plans for a new restaurant or anything?

Wu's: I don't know. The land has been sold.

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Bear with me on this....I have zero information and I've been drinking heavily, but an interesting fantasy hit me....

Rt. 123 from Fairfax through Vienna through Tysons through McLean is a very high-income demographic.

Tim Ma, at Maple Ave. Restaurant just a few doors down from Wu's has worked with David Chang.

David Chang is from northern Virginia and adores the decor at Wu's, not to mention the braised tofu.

Christina Tosi, chef/owner of Momofuku Milk Bar, is a graduate of Lee High School in Springfield.

Therefore....?

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Bear with me on this....I have zero information and I've been drinking heavily, but an interesting fantasy hit me....

Rt. 123 from Fairfax through Vienna through Tysons through McLean is a very high-income demographic.

Tim Ma, at Maple Ave. Restaurant just a few doors down from Wu's has worked with David Chang.

David Chang is from northern Virginia and adores the decor at Wu's, not to mention the braised tofu.

Christina Tosi, chef/owner of Momofuku Milk Bar, is a graduate of Lee High School in Springfield.

Therefore....?

Therefore you've been drinking heavily at 1:30 PM. :lol:

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Bear with me on this....I have zero information and I've been drinking heavily, but an interesting fantasy hit me....

Rt. 123 from Fairfax through Vienna through Tysons through McLean is a very high-income demographic.

Tim Ma, at Maple Ave. Restaurant just a few doors down from Wu's has worked with David Chang.

David Chang is from northern Virginia and adores the decor at Wu's, not to mention the braised tofu.

Christina Tosi, chef/owner of Momofuku Milk Bar, is a graduate of Lee High School in Springfield.

Therefore....?

Are we playing Six Degrees of Egg Foo Young?

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Wu's: I don't know. The land has been sold.

The Vienna Patch says the building is being renovated and that "retail" will be going in. I'm also voting that it'll be a mattress store.

We had take-out two nights ago in honor of their impending closing. The dining room was the busiest I've ever seen it! The Kang Pao was excellent and actually included red pepper (where normally "spicy" means jalapenos and no spice). We had a truly terrible meal from there a couple of months ago so I had an inkling they weren't much longer for Vienna.

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Also, another thing Vienna needs...the tiny strip mall at the intersection of Maple and Cedar Lane combined with the idiocy of people going into and leaving Whole Foods is enough of a friggin' menace as-is.  Adding another potential 'mini strip mall' like the Lego-looking one they built catty-cornered to the Vienna Outback (which has a goddamned mattress store in it -and- a TD Bank next to it across the street) will make 123 an even more treacherous stretch of road.  I'd also bet money that the VA ABC, and Bonaroti are looking forward to having their parking spaces stolen/'commandeered.'

If I were buying the land Wu's was on, I'd be offering a small fortune to the non-chain bank (seriously there are more banks in Vienna than stoplights) and pool supply store for their neighboring lots - having both would be like controlling Boardwalk and Park Place during a discount hotel sale.

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I bid good-bye to an old friend today, somehow befitting the 50th anniversary of JFK's death, and savored every morsel of my braised tofu and Kung Pao chicken dishes.

I wasn't the only one saying good-bye today. Tables of guests were greeting other tables of guests with "How many times are you coming here between now and next week?" or "I was here yesterday and I'm coming back tomorrow too."

Everything was sold -- land, building and decor. Oh, that decor. I might never see anything like that again.

A bustling dining room at lunchtime, with a smattering of Asians here and there, and not one person in the dining room was using chopsticks. This is/was a fork and knife establishment.

One of the older waiters remarked to me that he will miss it too. They can't make dishes like the braised tofu at home. Not enough BTUs. It's a dish that will be gone forever.

Maybe I can squeeze in one last visit next week...?

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Not to bump a dead topic, but they've started (and almost completed) demo on the Wu's building.  Only the far wall remains.

A thread on Fairfax Underground - the only forum where anything said should be taken with a VDoT silo's worth of salt instead of a grain - asking what was going into the space got a single two word reply: "Potbelly Subs."

I don't see the logic in putting a Potbelly in Vienna so close to the one that's in Tyson's, but despite their closeness in the 'as the crow flies' sense, they're easily 20-30 minutes apart in driving time during rush hour.  Still kind of sad that something so personal is (possibly) being replaced by something so corporate and whitewashed.

Note: Do *NOT* explore past this forum post if you value your blood pressure.  FFXU is an oil slick of trolls and anonymous posting, and the foulest, sickest tripe you could ever read on the internet resides in their subforums.

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Note: Do *NOT* explore past this forum post if you value your blood pressure.  FFXU is an oil slick of trolls and anonymous posting, and the foulest, sickest tripe you could ever read on the internet resides in their subforums.

That forum, crass though it may be, has a *lot* of traffic. If any Fairfax resident wanted to start a post about our website with its Fairfax Dining Guide, I would not object, and would welcome their members' participation here. :)

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Note: Do *NOT* explore past this forum post if you value your blood pressure.  FFXU is an oil slick of trolls and anonymous posting, and the foulest, sickest tripe you could ever read on the internet resides in their subforums.

The few times I've explored that "FU" site have left me with the opinion that the participants are all the "townie" rednecks who never escaped their suburb and are bitter and angry about outsiders coming in and finding success.

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Vienna Patch is reporting that Potbelly Subs and Zoe's Kitchen have applied for two of the four(!) permits that will occupy the space were Wu's was.

At least none of the spaces will likely be large enough for another bank...

...another mattress store, on the other hand... :rolleyes:

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Probably a mini strip mall facing sideways.

What worries me the most is that the mini strip mall at the intersection of Park and Maple is already a goddamned *menace* in the sense of people doing very dumb things with their cars to get in and out of it (to say nothing of its proximity to Whole Foods).  At least Walgreens/PetCo haven't been as big on being the Parking Gestapo as badly as Safeway was (they actually hired a guy to sit on a folding chair and yell at people parking in the Safeway lot for reasons other than going to Safeway, and call the cops on those who ignored him), but the situation stands to be potentially worse with this one.

I highly doubt the myriad of businesses in that commercial park (Bonaroti especially) and the neighboring bank/pool supply store will be keen on having *their* parking spaces co-opted, and I happen to know for a fact that ~Chris~ (pronounced ~Kriess~ in his accent) from Maggio's/Skorpio's across the street will literally start *stabbing* people if his profits tank even slightly due to people parking in that lot to patronize the new businesses.  On the plus side, if people jaywalk across Maple, ~Vienna's Finest~ will just hang out there and have less staff to harass others for going 6mph over the posted limit.

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What worries me the most is that the mini strip mall at the intersection of Park and Maple is already a goddamned *menace*

Agreed 100%. When they built that mess they told us there were enough parking spaces to accommodate the shops, but I think everyone in Vienna called bullshit and we were proven correct. It's a nightmare, plus if you add the douchebags who use it as a cut through from Park to Maple to avoid sitting at the light for 60 seconds and you've got even more of a problem. Getting back to Wu's, I agree that there will likely be too few spaces to supply the 4 shops, especially if two of them are restaurants.

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