It took years of people badgering me to try PEKING GOURMET INN at Bailey's Crossroads (6029 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA) and we finally made it yesterday as our dearest friends Mel & Juan invited us a most special celebration there for Juan's mother's 93rd birthday! The event was special and the food was exquisite. Simply put, this has to be the best Chinese food around for miles, even if there are photos of both Bushes staring down on you while you eat in the private dining areas! Top this off with some wonderful wines on the wine list (how often so many traditional Chinese restaurants neglect the wine list) such as the SIMI 2004 Russian River Reserve CHARDONNAY or the amazing full bodied FOLEY PINOT NOIR 2004 Rancho Santa Rosa from the Santa Rita Hills in California.
Our enormous meal started with SPRING ROLLS which I quickly dunked in a super mix of duck sauce and hot mustard and Samuel devoured plain (he doesn't seem to care much for sauces unless it is ketchup!). and tasty STEAMED CHINESE LEEK DUMPLINGS which were amazing and even better in the homemade SWEET GARLIC SAUCE served on the lazy susan! We though the entree had arrived when THREE HUGE PEKING DUCKS were carved tableside with such flair and then served with their super- crispy skin in the traditional pancakes with hoisin sauce and home grown Chinese sweet spring onions. I have never tasted better Peking Duck anywhere in my life, including Hong Kong! We filled up on these; I think I had three pancakes and I know Samuel loved munching the duck meat alone as well.
The shock came with more platters arriving in the form of JEO-YEN SHRIMP an amazing presentation of huge battered and fried shrimp served with a scallion and spice dusting that blew my mind. The spice was so subtle, and the staff would not reveal the secret ingredients! LAMB CHOPS PEKING STYLE were lightly crusted with tasty seasonings as well, but it was the SEAFOOD with HOMEMADE PAN-FRIED NOODLES that amazed. Loaded with chunks of all seafood types and served atop a huge platter of thick homemade noodles that were cut tableside, I had never tasted such a treat noodle-wise in a Chinese restaurant before. Sam adored the SNOW PEAS with WATER CHESTNUTS (well, he skipped the latter, even though we told him it was like potato!) and garbled down a dozen or more in the tasty sauce. There was a GOURMET CHINESE EGGPLANT (I'm not an eggplant person) that everyone raved over, superb FOUR SEASON STRING BEANS with garlic, onion and soy sauce with a slight spiciness and the traditional YANG CHOW FRIED RICE loaded with
pork, shrimp, peas and everything else you could wish for. I can't wait to return to PEKING GOURMET INN and try more of these wonderful dishes I have sadly been missing for years!