I'm back from my annual visit to the area. As usual, we ate tons but it seemed like we had less meals then usual. Even from our arrival, my mom was commenting about how it would be difficult to fit in old favorites as well as new tastes. We mostly eat chinese in Rockville but we had other meals with friends and in-laws.
Bob's Shanghai - This was the second time we've been here and the food is really good. I don't think it's as delicious or as well done as the NanXiang in Flushing. Also, I'm not overly sensitive to MSG but I definitely felt it after this meal. Apparently, after reviewing last year's post, I also felt it last year. Regardless, Bob's has the second best XLBs in the area. Also of note: longhorn beef pepper noodle soup. Weak spot: Shanghai Wonton noodle soup. The broth was on the bland side.
A&J - I love this place and it's probably my second favorite place to eat in the area. I particularly love the hot and sour noodles (suan la mien) as well as the snow cabbage and pork noodle soup (xue cai rou si mien).
East Pearl - this is a new one to me and it was excellent. We don't usually eat southern Chinese as much but I will definitely re-visit this place. Both the duck and chau sau roast meats were delicious and we tried a bunch of seafood dishes. Of note were the yellow chives with snow pea and conch, little necks with black bean sauce and the salted fried squid. We wanted a whole fish but you have to order it ahead of time. The rice porridge was also excellent.
Shanghai Taste - this is my favorite place in Rockville. Best XLB and noodles as well as my beloved pumpkin dumplings. The big down side is that it is super packed and the service is not good. Too many customers with too few wait staff. Favorites on the menu include - long horn pepper and beef dried noodles, snow cabbage and fish soup, XLB, fried rice cakes, wonton soup and the pumpkin dumplings. More importantly, I first ate here 3 years ago and they've stayed consistently excellent. Although, they've also been consistent with poor service. So, consistency is a strong point.
ETA: Shanghai Taste also has a new noodle dish on the white board. Sesame noodles and they were very good. Both parents went nuts for it. They also have fried scallion noodles but we forgot to order it. That is also on the white board.
Other Rockville food:
Lighthouse tofu - this is a Christmas eve tradition. We don't stray too far off the menu since there are definite favorites. My soondubu preference is the mushroom one. We also usually get the kalbi. This year, we also tried the seafood pancake and the bi bim bap in the hot stone pot. The pancake was fine but it's not really my thing. The BBB was very good. We left stuffed because it's really hard not too.
Clyde's Tower Oaks - my parents had a big anniversary and my mom has always wanted to try this place. So we went. The food was fine but the service was outstanding. They really made it feel like an event for my parents, which was appreciated. Since it's food they don't usually eat, it felt like a special meal. The food was fine, but it could have been better. The pork chop was overcooked and the calamari app was a tad too soggy with a sweet sauce. My mushroom short rib ravioli was a bit dried out but the short rib was delicious. The chicken liver mousse was great but they served it was four measly crackers. Extra bread helped rectify the situation. My parents loved the crab cake and the chicken pasta. But, regardless of the slight shortcomings of the dishes, the superlative service more then made up for it.
Lyon Hall - Dinner was pretty good. The hot dog appetizer was fun and tasty and the thai mussels were outstanding. My vegetarian dinner (cauliflower, quinoa, lacinto kale) totally hit the spot. The cauliflower could have used a bit more caramelizing but that's nitpicking. What really stood out was the kale. I have no idea how they cooked it but it was incredibly flavorful. My best guess is that it was poached in oil, although I don't even know if that's done.
Le Diplomate - this was an excellent meal as well. Six of us started with the fresh seafood platter and it was enormous. The menu stated it was for 1-3 people but none of us felt deprived. The seafood quality was fresh but the oyster shucker needs a lesson in shucking. Two of my oysters had shell bits. one was almost inedible because of the amount of shell in it. I couldn't decide between the hanger steak and the roasted sea bass. But, after having some of the fresh horseradish with the raw platter, I went with the hanger steak. The steak and frites were very good, although my fries could have been hotter. One friend, who had some of my fries and another's stated that my fries were on the cooler side. I had a big taste of the sea bass and it was outstanding. I would have been happy with either and didn't have regrets. Although, if there is a next time, I'm getting the sea bass. Two of us had the chocolate Napolean and loved it. Not only was it pretty, it tasted as good as it looked.
That's it for this year. I can't believe I didn't make it to Jin's River, Michael's or this other place that I can picture but I'm blanking on (chinese name is e mei and it's on the Pike and the strip mall is perpendicular to the pike. It's a CH favorite and it's spicy.)
Here's last year's report.