A group of us met at Dragon Star in Eden Center to take advantage of a rare weekday without work constraints. Dragon Star is a Chinese restaurant specializing in Dim Sum, in the midst of the very Vietnamese Eden Center. Since it was a weekday, we ordered our dim sum from a menu rather than from carts.
The advantage of ordering from the menu was that everything was hot and made fresh for us. The disadvantage was largely for the kids in the group, who would have been more entertained if the carts had been present.
We received 3 different menus. We got the dim sum menu, the regular full menu, and the lunch special menu. We ordered from both the full menu and the dim sum menu.
Everything was good, and much better than recent visits to both Mark's Duck house and Fortune Reston. I thought the standouts were the roast pork and roast pig, both of which were ordered from the standard menu. The roast pork is pork tenderloin, well seasoned with five spice powder and particularly heavy on the star anise. This is the best rendition of this dish I can remember having. The roast pig is a pig side with skin, chopped fresh from the roast pig hanging in the stand by the front window. The skin is crispy and the meat quite moist. Some of the pieces are very fatty, while others were fairly lean. They sell both by the pound in front, too, at either $8.95 or $7.95/lb.
We also tried the misnamed "pear in sticky rice with lotus leaf" which turned out to be pork and bits of chinese sausage in sticky rice in a lotus leaf--the same dish that is on most dim sum steam carts if you know to ask for it, the shrimp dumplings, shark fin dumplings (named for the shape, they're pork and shrimp-filled), watercress with garlic, sezchuan string beans, turnip cake, shrimp and taro cakes, and shrimp in XO sauce in rice crepes. The last of these dishes had a really nice texture. The rice crepes are very gelatinous, but had been pan-fried so that there was a contrasting crispy outside texture.
The dim sum printed menu did not have a steamed tripe dish and I suspect it is more limited than the weekend cart offerings.
The final pleasant suprise came when we asked for the check. Our waiter inquired as to whether we'd be paying cash or credit, as there was a 10% discount on the dim sum items for credit purchases and a whopping 30% discount for cash. We paid cash. With a tip calculated on the pre-discount total, the bill came out to a staggering $10.00 each.
One note of caution. While I didn't see them on the menu (I wasn't looking), on a prior visit we had a very bad bubble drink. It was made with powder and my 5 year-old chowpup didn't finish hers. This time we walked in with bubble drinks from other shops. The staff didn't bat an eye.