Jump to content
hey_brookie

Mr. Chen's Organic Chinese Cuisine - Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Parkrk

Recommended Posts

What are you supposed to order from Mr. Chen's organic in Woodley Park? I have heard nothing but great things about this place. We FINALLY ordered from there the other night and were just, well, whelmed. I feel like I'm missing something.

BF had string beans with pork, which was supposed to be spicy. Not only was it not spicy, but it was really sparse on both pork and flavor. I had beef teriyaki. While the dry spices on the beef were really great (kind of aromatic), the veggies it came with were overcooked and flavorless. :P

With health-conscious options and organic meats and veggies, I want to like this place, I really do. Has anyone been there? Can you recommend something that is great?

Many thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it might depend on what day you go there and what you order. I posted this on egullet a while back:

I'm a big Mr. Chen's fan (woodley park metro), especially their Kung Pao Chicken. Had it as recently as 2 or 3 weeks ago (on a Tuesday), and everything was up to its usual self.

Ordered tonight again (Monday), and something was off. The lo mein had those mini corn cobs and peapods, which they've never had before. The kung pao was also loaded with extra celery.

Could it be a different chef on Monday nights?

p.s. Also tried the much-ballyhooed peking duck rolls. Good filling, not so good wrapper. I honestly think they ran out and went next door to Chipotle to borrow some burrito tortillas.

You get the feeling that on the chef's day off, the replacement is using a totally different recipe to the normal one. But on good days, I still love the kung pao. But I'm sure it doesn't compare to these secret-menu Chinese establishments that seem to be all the rage these days. Who knows, maybe Mr. Chen's even has an exclusive menu?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Funny, it was Monday night that we ordered.

:P We have a working theory! Next time try Tuesday...

Edited by The Doctor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm, I walk by that place twice daily and the sign is so putting off because it's run down looking that I've never stopped in or had delivery. The chinese food across the street is equally slopped boring filler chinese food. The indian places as well across the street, and I've really wanted to like them but they just don't seem to care about quality.

My roommate ate a Mr. Chen's now I recall and was just whelmed, nothing exciting to report. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If i order in Chinese I stick with Mr. Chen's. That being siad their food does not really stand out compared to other Chinese places in the area. I like their rice noodle dishes and soups and the purple fried rice. It's a nice alternative when you are craving carbs, grease and soy sauce.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  I like their rice noodle dishes and soups and the purple fried rice. 

What is the purple fried rice? I was a little too scared to order it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My ex-roommate and I used to order from there when it first opened. The vegetables that came with the dishes used to be bright and crisp, but the place quickly went downhill. The peking duck rolls started arriving with wilted brown shredded lettuce, the celery and carrots in the incorrectly named "Sichuan Beef" were lifeless and limp (and where was the heat?), and the broccoli would often come overcooked and drenched in sauce.

I think the hype over this place comes from the name. If it's "organic" then it must be good! Unfortunately, even organic ingredients can't save this place.

If you find yourself absolutely having to order from here, the Singapore Angel Hair Rice Noodles with pork is probably one of your better bets.

Edited by ustreetguydc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've eaten there twice and they've done nothing to woo me away from City Lights for either eat-in or delivery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the past year, we've probably ordered from Mr. Chens 10-15 times- all for their peking duck rolls, which were fanstastic the first time we ordered them. The following 9-14 times- eh, not so much. (skimpy, lifeless, soggy, cold filling). Every time we order, we think "Maybe this time they'll be good again. Maybe the last 9-14 times were off nights".

I think I'm done with them. We prefer to split a whole peking duck from Eddies, just around the corner (new within the past year, I believe- and they deliver, and are quite nice people!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doughy dumplings. Yuck. I avoid ordering from this place if I can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I order regularly from Mr. Chens, mostly because they DON'T also offer soggy pizza, fried chicken or chicken wings, and submarine sandwiches. I think they specialize and therefore attempt to excel? Unfortunately, they typically just "whelm"..... I usually stick to steamed dishes and play with the sauces I order on the side. That way, things are pretty recognizable, crisp and fresh, and I don't worry so much about how I'll feel later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I order from Mr. Chen's about twice a month and I think it is the best delivery in this area. Typically we order the Crab Rangoon and a couple of entrees. Usually I get the crispy orange beef whioh is a wickedly sweet/spicy concotion.

The delivery comes quick and hot and is a pretty good deal for the amount you get.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oy. Mr Chen's reminds me why I should look at the date on reviews restaurants post. Plus checking dr.com is important.

Organic? I would love to see proof that the produce and meat are organic.

And meat. What meat? There was very little chicken in the string beans and chicken. The sauce tasted like it had been made well in advance. In a factory far far away.

Granted they were slammed but what a waste.

Oh the dumplings were indeed doughy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oy. Mr Chen's reminds me why I should look at the date on reviews restaurants post. Plus checking dr.com is important.

Organic? I would love to see proof that the produce and meat are organic.

And meat. What meat? There was very little chicken in the string beans and chicken. The sauce tasted like it had been made well in advance. In a factory far far away.

Granted they were slammed but what a waste.

Oh the dumplings were indeed doughy!

Why question this place on that specific item? Just because the meal was not great? Becuase the place was slammed?

Organic does not necessarily mean better quality. I have had many a flavorless organic vegetable purchased from the farmer's market.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why question this place on that specific item? Just because the meal was not great? Becuase the place was slammed?

Organic does not necessarily mean better quality. I have had many a flavorless organic vegetable purchased from the farmer's market.

I question it because I have had good Chinese food previously in my life. This was not good Chinese, in fact it reminded me of bad food court Chinese. The sauce was goopy and utterly sweet while also extremely salty.

Technically you are not supposed to be able to use the term Organic without being certified: USDA fact sheet on Organic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I question it because I have had good Chinese food previously in my life. This was not good Chinese, in fact it reminded me of bad food court Chinese. The sauce was goopy and utterly sweet while also extremely salty.

Technically you are not supposed to be able to use the term Organic without being certified: USDA fact sheet on Organic

They may well be certified (or not), but that does not prevent them from taking those organic ingredients and making crappy food.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They may well be certified (or not), but that does not prevent them from taking those organic ingredients and making crappy food.
Agreed but if they are not qualified to be an organic restaurant then they are misleading consumers (including me) who choose their restaurant because it says organic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As with almost any restaurant, there are things that Mr. Chen's does very well, and things that should be avoided. The aforementioned dumplings are not so good. The spring rolls, however, are fantastic. So are the peking duck rolls. The hot and sour soup is the best that I've had in DC.

When I order entrees, I keep it simple: chicken with mixed veggies or chicken with garlic sauce is killer - especially when you ask them to make it extra spicy (something that I've found is necessary if you like your food to pack any heat whatsoever). Moo Shoo pork is also good at Mr. Chen's...not too saucy! Anything on the vegetarian menu is great - I often go for the steamed mixed veggies with garlic sauce on the side which probably sounds boring but it's so fresh and delicious (and healthy!). The homestyle tufo is off the hook!

Who cares if they're certified organic? I challenge anyone to show me better chinese delivery in DC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is an article from 2003 about what it takes a restaurant to get the USDA to recognize it as a "certified organic" restaurant.

Mr. Chen's may be excluded from the certification requirement (under Section 205.101.b.2 of the National Organic Program regulations). It seems it would be excluded if it uses previously-labeled organic food to make its dishes, prevents the organic food from coming into contact with certain "prohibited substances," (packaging materials, storage containers, and bins that contain a synthetic fungicide, preservative, or fumigant), and complies with labeling requirements, (which essentially prohibit the restaurant from labeling or calling anything "certified" organic.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Slightly gloppy chicken with broccoli, and unextraordinary and barely spicy Szechuan beef chock-a-block full of shredded carrots and celery.

I'd been curious about Mr. Chen's for a long time. What I found was a standard bearer of American Chinese carryout. Nothing exceptional, but at the same time it's questionable whether you can expect much out of what is listed on their menu. Sort of like starting out with a false premise and working from there. Don't get me wrong though. I LOVE orange chicken. Just have to be in the right mood for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had decent results form Mr. Chen's...the product used at least seems to be of better quality then your run of the mill American-ized Chinese take out.

The wonton soup is decent

Chicken Singapore Angel Hair Rice Noodles (Curry Style) also solid

The Peking Duck rolls not so much

I don't love the place but it takes care of those hung over Chinese food cravings!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try the cold sesame noodles. I use to order these a lot when I lived in the area. They also have some sort of peking duck roll (appetizer) that is quite good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been disappointed with the food here too. Last time I ordered, The spring rolls were incredibly greasy. The broccoli in ginger and garlic sauce tasted of neither, and the sauce was so sweet and thick that it resembled syrup. Szechuan chicken was bland and boring. The wonton soup was pretty good though.

I used to eat at the Bruce Lee Chinese that was across the street - is it still there? I thought it closed years ago, but I never thought to look that last few times I've been there. Now that was a place that satisfied my cravings for stereotypical Americanized Chinese takeout.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...