Anyone see Tom Sietseman's take on dim sum in the Sunday magazine? The only places he rated (two stars each) were Fortune, in Falls Church, and New Fortune, in Wheaton. Having eaten at both, I would cast my vote for New Fortune, both for food quality and ambiance. But my favorite is still Mark's Duck House.
Sietsema did not rate Mark's Duck House (across Rte. 50 from Fortune, off Patrick Henry Drive) because he said last time he was there, the food was cold. Well, I was there with a group yesterday and the food was piping hot. We were waited on by one of the women managers, who laughed when I told her what Sietsema had written. She had not known of the article.
Admittedly, you can always find a clunker or two in the dim sum selection, and D.C. will never measure up to San Francisco or Hong Kong in this department. Yesterday we got one or two dumpling selections that looked like they had made their way around the dining room more than once, and they were not exactly hot. But we also had the best chicken wings I've ever tasted, and the hot items were steaming.
My advice is, consider your food carefully when the cart comes around. If it looks old or the least bit dried out, do not order it. Look for steam coming off your hot items. There's no reason to accept bad food at dim sum when you get every opportunity to inspect it before you buy it.