easily worth the 20 minute trip from the district, rockville, maryland aka wokville) is effortlessly running circles around dc chinatown (which is by far more "town" than it is any "china"). you'll find vietnamese deli's, multiple sushi and pho spots, real ramen, 3 major asian grocers and much more. having lived and worked in this area for over a decade and having grew up traditionally asian, here are my top three as of 2007...
#3 - Pho 75. yes, it's a local chain (that actually reaches into philly), but by far considered to be the area's most flavorful bowl by many vietnamese beef noodle soup aficionados. no spring rolls, no meat skewers, no sandwiches, just a broth that can make your asian grandmother scratch her chin.
#2 - Temari. the dc area's only bowl of authentic ramen (that i am aware of). dont take my word for it, this is also per worldramen.net. tonkatsu, onigiri, even toro (regularly served), all available here at cafeteria prices (for quality much greater)! temari features the most consistent and deliciously broiled mackerel that has ever graced my taste buds and a wide variety of asian desserts, (shaved ice covered in red bean and condensed milk)! foodies will appreciate the porn that frequently repeats their tv screen.
#1 - Rockville Sushi continues the tradition of easy to miss mom-and-pop spots serving up amazing cuisine at yesteryear's prices. there's a picture of Dokdo the runs the length of the restaurant. korea and japan continue to have heated ownership debates over this island, which nicely sums up the spicy korean/japanese twist on their grub. whether you're in the mood for bulgogi or an uni hand roll, rockville sushi can easily cater to both crowds (or even a third that is daring enough to blend the two). our favorite thing to do is to order a large sashimi platter and let the restaurant freestyle a wide array of side items and snacks to match the meal. i've discovered that the quality and quantity of these items increase with experience, but is very generous even from the start. as with most sushi places in this area, quality of fish will fluctuate depending on season, day of the week, etc. not always farm fresh on every visit, but this place is capable of serving sushi-ko or kaz caliber yellowtail and at its worse is never dangerously stale as some other spots on the pike. in addition to animals you have rarely heard of, the adventurer in you might choose live seafood to be slaughtered out of their fish tank (where the bones are turned into a great after meal stew) or even choose (with two week notice) an animal to be consumed while moving.
one to grow on: Bob's 88. authentic szechuan inspired hot pot can be a traditional and special occasion meal for asian families. here it is offered in personal sizes at very easy and personal prices! think chinese fondue, w/ a broth (available spicy upon request) and d.i.y. dipping sauce (you make to your taste) where meat, veggie and noodle items are ordered in bulk or a la cart for cooking and almost instant enjoyment! great social meal to spend time with friends and family over good food and drink! again, very reasonably priced at this moment in time!
hope you enjoy these places.. they are what i feel are the best in rockville and possibly even the area! possibly not where you'd want to take your prom date, but hands down amazing grub!!
take care and happy new year,