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Kung Fu Kitchen - A New York City Chinese Franchise at 3233 Duke Street in Southwest Alexandria

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This restaurant is in soft-opening mode still with little web presence and a limited menu (not all the items on the printed menu are available yet)...that being said I think it is a game changer for the miserable state of dumplings in Alexandria.  We went on a Sunday morning and had the following:

Pork Soup Dumplings(XLB) --- I thought these were better than the XLB at all the Rockville joints.  Great flavor to the soup--perfect mix of fat and meat.  Thin delicate wrapper, yet sturdy enough not to tear when removing it from steamer basket.  

Steamed shrimp (har gow)--crisp shrimp, well made tapioca wrapper, held up without becoming mushy

Scallion Pancake--were fine--Ive had better--less flaky and more flat

Pan Fried Buns with egg and Chive--these were deep fried and tasty with fresh chives

Pan Fried Buns with shrimp and Chives-- These were in a har gow style wrapper but pan fried with crispy bottoms--excellent

Vegetable Stir Fried Noodles--these were a bust--we wanted something with the hand pulled noodles and these were the only veg option--noodles were good but sauce tasted like it had tomato sauce or ketchup in it--very weird

This place is a franchise from NYC and is well reviewed there.  I am excited for the full menu and will definitely be back.  I think this place is going to be mobbed once fully opened and reviewed in the press.

No website yet-- so I am grudgingly putting the yelp link here.

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Many thanks for this review - there's nowhere even close to this in West Alexandria, right?

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We want to second the positive review of the soup dumpling (both pork and pork/shrimp/okra). Better than anything I know of in NoVa, and at least approximately as good as last time at Bob’s Noodles 66 (which was probably about a year ago). We actually liked the pan fried (hand pulled, not +$1 Dao Xiao (?) hand cut) noodles, even though I agree that the sauce was tomatoey in an unexpected way.

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Just a heads up that a visit here requires patience. I had stopped by alone on Friday for a very late lunch, and everything was great with my small order of soup dumplings and buns. But I was only one of 4 customers in the restaurant at the time. Decided to bring the family today and it was a completely different story. They had about half the staff they needed to handle the full house, with lines out the door and phones ringing.  It was a total cluster if I’m being honest—steaming mad customers, many menu items 86’d by only 1:30 (no soup dumplings, no duck buns), half an hour for food to start to arrive and even then orders only half filled, impossible to get anyone’s attention. What did arrive was tasty but they definitely have kinks to iron out. It’s too bad because there’s definitely a lot of promise here. Maybe try weekday visits until they figure things out. 

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Very attractive place with some fake brick and roof tiles, lots of minimalist paintings, some old looking furniture. 

2pm lunch. Two employees were head down and asleep at two tables.

XLB are superb as mentioned. They are thin skinned, & full of juice. The soy dipping sauce was unusually sweet and thee was neither vinegar or hot chile oil on the able nor did I ask. $8.95 for 6 dumplings is very expensive. $8.25/7.25 at Bob's 66/Shanghai Taste. 

The non dumpling dishes seemed to be suffering from new restuarant jitters:

Cold cucumbers were not good: bitter, salty, no garlic, tasted of not being brined enough. They did have a really good pickled hot pepper element.

Hand pulled noodles w/Beef Offal {note they were out of the hand cut noodles I wanted}: the broth did not taste deeply beefy, noodles got soft very quickly and never carried the broth nor absorbed flavor. The beef bits were good but not a lot. Just tripe, tendon & brisket/shank meat. This would have been superior as a dry noodle.

I will be back for the XLB and will try some more menu exploration. Will try a tuesday thru thursday so they have time to catch up from the weekend. 

They are right across the street from Smoking Kow so maybe next time just XLB na d a rib or some brisket.

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Agree the positive review of the soup dumplings (both pork and pork/shrimp/okra). Went to lunch today at 12:30 and 3 other tables full. Friendly service and vinegar brought to table without asking and chili oil once we asked.

Dumpling wrappers thin and fillings delicious in both.

Didn’t see anyone hand pulling noodles nor making the dumplings but I’ll be back. Great to have XLB close to home 

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A second visit revealed a kitchen hitting on almost every dish. The sopup dumplings were light, the skins delicate, thin but did not tear. The soup was rich and abundant to the point where when you thought you had sipped it all there was still a large sip left. The soup also was not as fatty as most other versions I have had. Kay said she thought these the best soup dumplings she has ever had. I can't disagree although I hope to challenge them on our Flushing trip in April. The only quibble is the dipping sauce is a little sweet for me. They provided a very hot, very tasty chili oil loaded with very crisp chili bits. 

Next were pan fried shrimp & chive dumplings which were 4 glutenous rice dumplings with a shrimp passte loaded with garlic chives. Superb with the hot oil. 

Third dish was hand cut noodle, dry style w/lamb. Very long noodles in a lightly spicy sauce with sesame paste and veggies. The noodles were fabulous except they were a little temper turewise cool. The sauce was hot and tasty with lots of tender lamb bits. SO by the end, the hot of the sauce and the noodles evened out. Next time, rather than wait for entropy to do its job, I will stir the noodles and sauce to bring some of the sauce from the bottom of the bowl onto the noodles and to even out the hot and cool. Really good, very messy to eat as the bowl has a very deep well but it was small in diameter, with a very large lip which mad it unsteady. So when you tried to cut a long noodle to transfer it to your plae, the whole thing tended to tip over. I added the hot oil with abandon and it made theme ven better. The first bite I was suproised at the sesame component but at the end I was almost licking the bowl to get the remaining sauce. 

For dessert, we had sesame balls. Incredible. Crisp, super hot and freshly fried {they took 15 minutes from our order to appear and our very nice & efficient waiter told us of the wait when we ordered. These were the best sesame balls I have ever had. But I burnt my upper lip on the hot white bean paste!

Kay bought me dinner so I am not sure how much it was. Score!

{my guess on the dinner was under $36. They are working on their beer and wine license}

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The "house" stir-fried noodles tastes like sweet and sour sauce.  That plate was left almost full.  The jajiang mian was very good, but the noodles had less chew than the "house" stir-fried noodles.  Incidentally, they had no knife cut noodles or diet coke on our visit.  The soup dumplings, shen jian bao, and pot stickers were all really good.   I wish they have a wider and more balanced menu.  I prefer Bob's Shanghai, especially since it's actually a less time consuming drive.

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We got Kung Fu Kitchen delivered the other night.  I thought all the dishes were good, although it seemed a little pricey for the amount.  But it is kind of hard to find non-American Chinese food close to our house, so it really hit the spot.  We got the jajiang noodles, dumplings (forget which), twice cooked pork, bbq buns, and the braised pork belly.  I liked the noodles, the dumplings and buns were fine, and I thought the braised pork belly was good.  As a note, we didn't think about it, but if you want rice, you need to order rice.  I just didn't realize it didn't come with the order.  

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Their prices have gone up since they opened.  I was going to do take out a while back but the jump in prices really turned me off.  

Back in early January the Shanghai Pan fried Pork Buns were $11.95. Now they are $15.95. A mere 33% price increase!  

The Roasted duck fried noodles only went up a buck from $15.95 to $16.95. 

It looks like they changed the names of some of the other dishes, or eliminated them because my receipt is not matching up with their menu for other things.  

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40 minutes ago, Bart said:

Their prices have gone up since they opened.  I was going to do take out a while back but the jump in prices really turned me off.  

Did you order through a third party?

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No.  I was at the restaurant. The prices I quoted were from a dine in experience in January, versus their current online menu

I have photos of the menu from back in January, and I’ll try to dig them up off my computer

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Arrgh!  I just checked my computer and I don’t have the menu photos on it anymore.

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Yelp has menu photos. The laminated eat-in black background and red background specials menus are all from 4-6 months ago. They do indeed show 11.25 for the Shanghai pan fried pork buns.

They also have white takeout menu photos labeled 3 months ago, and those show 12.75 for the same item, I think.

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It wouldn't be bad, if the servings were a little bigger, but the high prices, plus the serving size being a bit small just for a take out experience was difficult because we were eating with friends, and you can't just order more food.  Plus for the price, why not just include rice?

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My recent take out experience here was poor.  Got the Shanghai pork buns— there was no “juice” inside, no sauces given despite being specifically requested, and overpriced.  It did not taste like it did at the beginning of the year.

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