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An alternative to China Star

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An alternative to China Star

James G | Apr 9, 2005 10:44 PM

Yes, it may be perceived as sacrilege for me to say so, but we had a very good meal at a new(-ish) Chinese place in Falls Church. The place is called Jasmine Garden (8106 Arlington Blvd, in the Yorktowne Shopping Center), and it is owned by a man from Shandong who moved to Taiwan before coming to the US. Despite his being from the Northeast of China, JG seems to specialize in Sichuan dishes, though the menu includes many other items.

Our dinner tonight (which was ordered by a Chinese friend in consultation with the owner) consisted of:

* California Roll sushi (sent to us with the compliments of the owner)
* Ma Po Tofu
* Red Braised Heavenly Duck (Tianfu Shao Ya)
* Lily Buds with Asparagus (Baihe Lu Sun)
* Three Pepper Chicken (San Jiao Pian Ji)
* Cod with Peppers (Duo Jiao Xueyu)
* Chicken Threads with Pickle (Paocai Ji Si)
* Boiled Beef Casserole (Shui Zhu Rou)
* Mustard Green Streaky Pork (Meicai Kourou)
* Salt-Pepper Spare Ribs (Jiao Yan Paigu)

The sushi was surprisingly good, and of the remaining dishes, the only one I did not particularly think was great was the Ma Po Tofu (it was a bit weakly flavored). But the Shui Zhu Rou was about the best I have had in the US, and the duck was extraordinary, very tender and brightly flavored. The lily buds with asparagus was a great dish, very interesting because of the unusual addition of the lily buds (I believe they are waterlily petals, picked before they open) that had a texture kind of like onions, but without the kick that onions have. Very few of the dishes was actually very spicy, with the notable exception of the Shui Zhu Rou.

In addition to the great food, the restaurant has the unlikely attraction of an extensive and moderately priced wine list. The owner had offered to send us some wine with his compliments, and rejected my contention that wine would not suit the meal. He then sent us some Cabernet Sauvignon, and indeed it went quite well with the dishes we had. Live and learn.

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