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Peking Gourmet Inn, Falls Church - Owner Eddie Tsui's 1980s-1990s-Era Northern Chinese-American Kitsch with $43 Peking Duck and Homegrown Jumbo Spring Onions in Baileys Crossroads

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'qwertyy said:

Yesterday's chat is here.

I was interested in the post about the downfall of City Lights/Meiwah; I'll add Chen's for the trifecta. I live in the area and have had so much middling Chinese delivery lately it's not even funny. Have any of you heard of the restaurant recommended as an alternative--Peking Gourmet Inn? Or can you recommend any standout dishes at other neighborhood places?

Peking Gourmet Inn is out in Falls Church/Bailey's Crossroads. IIRC It was a favorite of Pres. Bush (41). I have mostly had lunch specials there, which are usually not too bad. The Kung Pao is not too oily and not overly sauced. We do carryout for lunch from there fairly oftent - Some of my coworker's favorites include the Szechuan Beef Proper, Jade Chicken, and Fresh Garlic Chicken.

Based on my semi-recent meals at both City Lights and Meiwah (neither one was very good - City Lights was horrible), Peking Gourmet is the better choice. That being said, I prefer Full Kee (Bailey's Crossroads location).

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I believe that the Peking Duck is one of the best you will find anywhere in this area, and rivals some of the best I have ever eaten. I also like the aforementioned Szechuan Beef Proper and Kung Pao chicken which is nothing like what is available most other Chinese restuarants.

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I have to add that I've been going here for 20 years and I think it is the best in the area. It only took me 11 years to get my picture on the wall :) Actually my mom and I have a tradition of having Christmas dinner there for the last 17 years. Their Peking Duck is unrivaled, hands down the best in the area. Their basic white rice has the nice little addition off egg and peas, simple yet good. they also have a great Shrimp dish called Jeo-yen-shrimp which I recommend you try. Service is always pleasent and professional and the food is always good. The carry-out is the best in the area, hand- down. It's no hole in the wall like most chines places in the area, and the prices reflect the quality. Peking Duck is $36.00/Kung Pao Shrimp is $16.95/Pork Peking Style-awesome shedded pork,bamboo shoots,spicy garlic sauce,-$12.95 But I believe that you get what you pay for. I love this place and Peter Chang will not be coming here any time soon :angry:

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I love this place and Peter Chang will not be coming here any time soon :angry:
Good. So their chances of staying open are fairly high. :)

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I've been a few times for lunch and I've really enjoyed it. Their lunch prices are really reasonable, IMO. I haven't tried the Peking Duck, but I have had the chicken with garlic that they grow themselves.

I've been to Full Kee once, and I really liked Peking Gourmet Inn better.

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I've been a few times for lunch and I've really enjoyed it. Their lunch prices are really reasonable, IMO. I haven't tried the Peking Duck, but I have had the chicken with garlic that they grow themselves.

I've been to Full Kee once, and I really liked Peking Gourmet Inn better.

I think that they are two very different styles of restaurants. Peking Gourmet Inn is not as loud, rushed, and does not feel nearly as cramped (even though they wedge as many people as the Fire Marshal will allow them to). Also the food is much different. The strength of Full Kee is the soups, I have been unimpressed by most of the other dishes. Peking Gourmet food is more refined, and I cannot say enough about the Peking Duck. Given a choice between the two I would always pick Peking Gourmet, but I would never try to compare them.

As an aside, two weeks ago today my beloved dog had surgery to repair her right knee after a total rupture of the ligament, the wife and I could not stand being at home without her, so we escaped into an order of the spring rolls and Peking duck. They make the spring rolls on site, so they have more flavor than those that most Chinese restaurants serve. And for the little while that we spent filling pancakes with the crispy savory duck we were able to put aside our worries about our little one. On the way back from the vet the next day she snarffed down the fortune cookies.

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I don't understand the Beef Proper. I had it once with my family and both my parents, my husband and I, and my brother thought it was really odd. It was deep fried little strips of beef with a sweet bit of glaze, but the beef was so dry and stringy that you couldn't help but think of beef jerky. My favorite dish there was the black pepper shrimp, which was huge platter of jumbo shrimp very lightly dusted in flour, fried/sauteed, and finished off with an addictively good, not too spicy dark sauce. I can't remember what else we ordered that day but the best and worst stood out in my memory.

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The beef proper used to be our reason for heading out to Peking Gourmet. Weused to call it cowboy candy because it was beefy and sweet, with a hint of hot from the chili. I haven't been in ages now that I live in MD, but now I think I need to make a trip over there. Hmmm.... cowboy candy.

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On the way back from the vet the next day she snarffed down the fortune cookies.

I presume that the fortune inside the cookie said something like "There are many walkies and marrow bones in the years ahead" --DOGS ROCK!!! :):angry:

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I've been to Peking Gourmet Inn many times over the years, and have enjoyed it in the past. Fairly recently, I went to a large Sunday lunch banquet where I was firmly disappointed in everything except the Peking Duck (and the company). The biggest problem was the saucing, which was excessively thick and sweet.

'If they want to serve up that glop, then by golly I'll go straight to the heart of it,' I thought to myself today. I went online to their Lunch Specials, and ordered a Shrimp Chow Mein with Egg Drop Soup.

Now, I didn't see anything that said "Monday through Friday" (someone please correct me if I'm missing it), so I was expecting to pay $8.95 for both, and also get an egg roll. It was not to be - the chow mein was $8.95 and the egg drop soup was $2.89, and no egg roll was included. For whatever reason, those prices are inclusive of tax, and the total bill was $11.84.

But guess what? Everything was good, including the homemade chow mein noodles and the rice with little peas in it. The soup was just like it should be, and the shrimp chow mein wasn't gloppy in the least. Within the genre, both of these dishes were successful, and I'd order them again.

Cheers,

Rocks

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I've been to Peking Gourmet Inn many times over the years, and have enjoyed it in the past. Fairly recently, I went to a large Sunday lunch banquet where I was firmly disappointed in everything except the Peking Duck (and the company).

Did they serve sliced cucumbers to go with the duck? We used to have cucumbers along side with the scallions as kids and had asked for it in the past, but didn't have it. I think around last year or so, they started serving it for charge ($3?). It add another element of taste and texture. Try it next time!

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Did they serve sliced cucumbers to go with the duck? We used to have cucumbers along side with the scallions as kids and had asked for it in the past, but didn't have it. I think around last year or so, they started serving it for charge ($3?). It add another element of taste and texture. Try it next time!

You're testing my memory here - when I say "Fairly recently," I mean early February. But you know what? They did serve the cucumber. It was a big roundtable, and I'm not sure whether it was a supplement or not, but I do remember thinking it added something in terms of texture.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I love this place and Peter Chang will not be coming here any time soon :rolleyes:

Can someone explain the Peter Chang referecne? I sense there's some back story.

Thanks!

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Welcome, El Barto. There was a Chinese chef here, Peter Chang, who was a master of Sichuan cuisine, and developed a bit of a cult following. He moved from restaurant to restaurant frequently, from China Star to TemptAsian cafe to a new place over in Fairfax. His cooking was a revelation with whole new flavor combinations. Shortly after he opened that place in Fairfax, he disappeared for a while. Intrepid researchers found he had gone to Atlanta, GA, and then to Knoxville, TN, where he is now.

Link: Peter Chang has been found!

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Thanks!

I sort of knew a different Peter Chang from "Duck Changs" and "Peking Duck"

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Welcome, El Barto. There was a Chinese chef here, Peter Chang, who was a master of Sichuan cuisine, and developed a bit of a cult following. He moved from restaurant to restaurant frequently, from China Star to TemptAsian cafe to a new place over in Fairfax. His cooking was a revelation with whole new flavor combinations. Shortly after he opened that place in Fairfax, he disappeared for a while. Intrepid researchers found he had gone to Atlanta, GA, and then to Knoxville, TN, where he is now.

Link: Peter Chang has been found!

Jim, an excellent précis. I would add that before he burst onto the scene here, he cooked for the Chinese Prime Minister, a top hotel in Beijing, and then the Chinese ambassador to Washington. And the excitement we experienced as he jumped from one restaurant to another in NOVA was beyond cultism, it was fanaticism -- American boisterousness, perhaps. Sometimes, after we'd tasted his wares we would demand that he come out of the kitchen for a curtain call. He hated that. After a smile and a bow, he escaped as soon as possible. One of our group, "pandahugga," complimented him in Mandarin, and that was even worse. Like many geniuses he just wanted to be left alone to do his work. According to press accounts, the same thing happened in Atlanta. I don't know if he's found a more comfortable environment in Knoxville. But if he ever comes back here we'll try to restrain our enthusiasm, at least on the surface.

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Duck now $39, still great. Those of you who are broth-inclined, ask them to box up your duck carcass (else it goes into the stock for their hot and sour soup, which is the ne plus ultra of that genre, for what it's worth). Not much else to recommend in particular.

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Duck now $39, still great. Those of you who are broth-inclined, ask them to box up your duck carcass (else it goes into the stock for their hot and sour soup, which is the ne plus ultra of that genre, for what it's worth). Not much else to recommend in particular.

The hot and sour soup tip is actually worth a lot (to me) because I love hot and sour soup in theory, but never think to order it because I never know what's in it. (What is in it besides corn starch, water, and vinegar? What gives it its brown color?) Hmm, now I'm craving it with fried wonton strips thrown into the bowl.

From my own few (semi-)recent experiences, I also agree that the duck itself is (still) really good and everything else I've tried is really bad - even the "grown in our back yard" garlic sprouts or whatever they are.

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The hot and sour soup tip is actually worth a lot (to me) because I love hot and sour soup in theory, but never think to order it because I never know what's in it. (What is in it besides corn starch, water, and vinegar? What gives it its brown color?) Hmm, now I'm craving it with fried wonton strips thrown into the bowl.

From my own few (semi-)recent experiences, I also agree that the duck itself is (still) really good and everything else I've tried is really bad - even the "grown in our back yard" garlic sprouts or whatever they are.

I've found myself there for weekend lunches twice in the past month or two and had the opposite experience. To level set, I've been coming here for the better part of a decade and view it as a very good example of an Americanized Chinese family restaurant. I never expect to be blown away but it's been a very solid place to take visiting relatives or just grab something quick and easy with the family. It's moderately consistent in execution though I do just about always order the same things.

Both visits I've ordered the Black Pepper Beef. Chunks of steak with onions and red peppers in a peppery but not particularly spicy, thin sauce. Good, flavorful crust and a decent amount of fat to keep the beef moist when cooked to medium - well. The use of chunks of steak, cooking them shy of well, and the lack of corn starch separate this from the versions I've gotten for about the same price from a large number of similar restaurants. On the first (recent) visit my wife had the chicken with the onions from their farm. It was probably the closest this place has come to really surprising me. It was simple and very good. The chicken was properly cooked (thigh meat if I recall), the onions were flavorful, and probably most importantly, it was not oversauced. One detraction, it was a bit too oily. Second visit they were out of the onions so the wife went with another dish I've had countless times, scallops with roasted garlic. Scallops were lightly breaded and cooked to just done. In the past, they've definitely overdone these so it was a nice treat to see them just about perfect. This was accompanied by the combination lo mein. Pork, beef, chicken, and shrimp with large soft noodles. I like the noodles in their lo mein, very good for this type of place and the meat was plentiful enough that I didn't have two kids fighting over the last piece of [X].

Service was professional and prompt both times .

As for the hot and sour soup, I did not order it either time due to the weather but I've had their version many times. It is one item I would definitely say has declined but it remains meatier and more flavorful than most. Sadly it has gotten gloppier and duller over the years but I still view it as above average.

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As for the hot and sour soup, I did not order it either time due to the weather but I've had their version many times. It is one item I would definitely say has declined but it remains meatier and more flavorful than most. Sadly it has gotten gloppier and duller over the years but I still view it as above average.

I would also agree with that.

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I would also agree with that.

I love Peking Gourmet. The duck is the best. The H&S soup is the best. Years ago, then prez George the first sauntered by our table and remarked that the crispy beef was his favorite too. The owners care about the place and the food is worth the trip. At least for me.

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I have only been there four times. Three out of four, the duck was very good. The other time, the skin was flabby and the fat was not rendered out. Other than that, no complaints. I also like the crispy beef. Can't speak to the hot and sour soup since I don't usually order that at any restaurant. The service was always gracious.

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I was there for Saturday dinner for the second time. As someone was celebrating her birthday, she splurged on the Peking Duck which she very much enjoyed at the forty dollar price. I had the dish with lots of noodles with chicken, beef, and shrimp which is advertised on the menu as having a large portion. What I took home shoud make three meals. The hot and sour soup was one of the best in the area.

The place, a favorite of the first President Bush, was quite crowded and obviusly is reaping the benefits of success, looking like it started small in a nondescript shopping center and now being fairlly large. The service is fine and the owners circulate to see how you are doing.

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