It was the last dinner before the six visiting family members and friends headed home for the UK after Samuel's Bar Mitzvah and we were graciously asked to join our dearest friends at one of their favorite places, Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church, VA which has been a steadfast fixture on the DC dining scene for decades.
We love going here as everyone seems to be celebrating (they sing Happy Birthday in Chinese to so many tables!) something and we all had so much to celebrate: Samuel's 13th birthday and hugely successful Bar Mitzvah, our family visiting the US for the first time, great friends we have cherished for decades and decades and so much more.
Many of the Brits wanted Bud Lights, but we also had a tasty Snoqualmie Sauvignon Blanc from Washington's Columbia Valley which was delightful with those spicy chili pastes and hot mustards on the appetizers as well as a yummy J. Lohr Seven oaks 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. Our server Alex was delightful and sweet and made me laugh each time we ordered another bottle of what he called, "the Sauvignon Blanc from Columbia PIKE," which for those of you not in our neighborhood, is a street just around the corner from this restaurant!
If we did not fill up enough on the thick tasty Chinese noodles with thick garlic sauce, we might have eaten more of the many dishes to follow.
Starters included Vegetarian Spring Rolls which are so crunchy the pastry falls apart and my new favorite Fried Leek Dumplings. Of course, Samuel wanted his own order of Fried Pork Dumplings, even though he loves leeks!
We left the starters to move on to what is always a loving and true production at Peking Gourmet, the Peking Duck. We had two ducks and our host explained one was prepared Peking style, with crunchier skin and one Hong Kong Style with less fat rendered and thicker less crunchy skin. Well, I'm a crunch guy so I gobbled up the legs which nobody seemed to want while everyone else enjoyed their pancakes stuffed with Duck, Hoisin, Scallions and/or Cucumber. I have to say it was as good as the duck we had in Beijing, maybe better. Each duck is lovingly carved tableside all the way to the bone (you can ask to take the carcass home to make soup!) and it seems that the production yields enough to serve dozens and dozens! It's a miracle.
One of our favorite dishes is the Jeo-Yen Shrimp (see FB photos) which are huge, crunchy and succulent and then there is the Lamb Chops Peking Style which are crusted and seared New Zealand lamb chops cooked to order (ours were spot on not quite medium rare as requested!) and of course, we keep the tasty garlic sauce for dipping all of these.
Other dishes at the table were Szechuan Beef, Orange Beef, Vegetable Fried Rice and the Gourmet Pan Fired Noodles with Beef, Jumbo Shrimp, Chicken and Vegetables, a veritable meal in itself (I know because we took so much home!).
A side dish of Baby Bok Choy with Japanese Mushrooms was also superb.
The service here is so friendly and welcoming, and the staff is very attentive; we were sorry to disappoint their friendly faces when we had to turn down dessert menu! No wonder!