Cowen said: "Peking Village, 2962 Gallows Rd., Falls Church - Two restaurants in one, a grisly fried Chinese buffet and a real Szechuan menu with absolutely no concessions to Western taste. The latter is worth trying. Not up to Joes Noodle House, but a truly authentic restaurant where you dont expect to find such a place. They dont hold back on the bodily organs and slime, etc., but you can get other things too."
Lunch Tuesday - alone (sick of having to pay for the usual Kung Pao and Beef with Broccoli in order to try someplace new with kids, plus having the Mrs. act like I'm trying to kill her if I suggest she try something spicy).
It's in the half-abandoned shopping center behind Einstein Bagels - small, run-down building, very friendly greeting ("Perfect!," I thought) - past the picture of the chef with all kinds of medals (all I could do to stop myself from yelling "Iron Chef!") - the place was nearly empty at 12:45. Asked for the Chinese menu (it was extensive and written in English alongside the Chinese) but nothing slimy as Cowen reported. Then I saw dozens of strips of paper on each wall, in Chinese only, listing many more dishes (wish I could read Chinese.) Asked for a suggestion - had to convince the waitress that I meant spicy when I said spicy - she suggested the "Spicy Beef Casserole," $11.95, very popular according to her - do I want the spicy on the side or mixed in? (Well, I'm in it now) "Mixed in, of course."
What I got, and very quickly indeed, was a big bowl of what was called "Chengdu Beef" when I ordered it at Sichuan Village in Chantilly - and where Sichuan Village's version was silky-smooth and complex, this version seemed thrown-together. Its one spice: it came to the table liberally sprinkled (heavily crusted, I might say) with crushed red pepper - the kind you shake onto your pizza. It was hot, thanks to the crushed pepper, and big enough for two, with (as at Sichuan Village) liberal portions of celery and napa, but it was hack work.
I could say "well, it was lunch" or imagine the delights that I could have gotten with a blind gesture toward one of the items listed on the wall, but I think I'll pass this by in the future (sorry, friendly staff) in favor of Jasmine Garden RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET (I reported on that place before).