After seeing this place pop up a number of times on this board, I finally made it to Joe's Noodle House in Rockville, MD.
Earlier this year Wife and I spent some time in China. (We are SARS-free, I'm glad to say.) We tried all sorts of Chinese food while we were there--at least in Beijing and Xian. (Hong Kong is so cosmopolitan you actually have to make an effort to find a Chinese restaurant, as opposed to, say, an Italian, Afghan, or Thai restaurant, which are surprisingly abundant).
Eating at Joe's Noodle House was very much like eating in China. It is as close as I've gotten to authentic Chinese cuisine (of which, I must admit, even after a visit to China I'm no expert). The main differences are that, in comparison to English translations on menus in "normal" Chinese restaurants in China, Joe's menu is a model of clarity. Also, despite the fact that at Joe's you order at the counter, the service is still better there than at your average restaurant in China (in my limited experience).
The greatest similarity was in the food, of course. Very hungry and in a rush, and novices at the menu, I'm sure we could have ordered better. Still, we had some winners: Moo Shu Noodle with chicken and Thin Rice Noodle Singapore style (a curry noodle dish that was an exact replica of a dish Wife had in Beijing). We ordered the spinach with garlic, which, bland and boring, was exactly like 80% of the vegetable dishes we ate in China. The crispy and salty eggplant with salty jalapeno slices was good for a few bites, but became awfully heavy very quickly (we should have guessed it was deep-fried).
Now in possession of the menu, I will study it before my next visit.
To sum up: Joe's Noodle House--like eating in China, for better and worse.
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