Archive for the 'Seafood' Category

Hong Kong Palace

6387 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22044
703-532-0940

Pros: Excellent Szechuan selections!
Cons: A little out of the way for Marylanders

Ever since our beloved Red Pearl closed down, we  had been mourning the loss of local Szechuan options. Although the nearby Noodles Corner definitely satisfies our general Chinese cravings, they have relatively few Szechuan items in their menu.

Enter Hong Kong Palace. Okay, so it’s not exactly local to us Marylanders, but it is still in the MD/DC/VA area. We’ve come to love it so much that whenever we go down to visit our friends in Fairfax, VA, Hong Kong Palace consistently comes up as an option when trying to think of a place to eat.

The Szechuan dishes on the menu hit you with spice, but not so much that it is over-bearing. We were very pleasantly surprised with the Dan Dan Noodles as an appetizer; we actually feel that these are entree-ready. One of my favorite dishes that I’ve mourned losing from the closing of Red Pearl has been a cumin-infused lamb dish with peppers and onions. No other Chinese restaurants close to Columbia, MD seem to carry this. Luckily, I can get my fix at Hong Kong Palace. With our most recent visit, we also found that a similarly prepared dish with fish instead of lamb is just as satisfying, if not more so. (This also leads me to wonder, is there anything that doesn’t taste great with cumin?) Their green onion pancake appetizers take me back to a time when I used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and my parents and I would dine at nearby restaurants for a weekend Chinese brunch. Since we often dine with our friends who are vegetarians, we are almost always hitting up tofu dishes, and we have yet to find one that disappoints us.

It’s hard for us to really come up with any negative feedback for the place. This place is good enough, that we’re willing to brave the cacophonous congestion that is the Seven Points area of Virginia.

Hong Kong Palace on Urbanspoon 

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Shanty Grille

3410 Plum Tree Dr
Ellicott City, MD 21042
410-465-9660

http://www.shantygrille.com

Pros: excellent seafood, friendly service, gluten-free items

Cons: a bit pricey

This place was formerly known as the Crab Shanty. So far, we have made 3 visits to this restaurant, twice when it was the Crab Shanty, and once as Shanty Grille. The name change was presumably to attract a more upscale clientele and perhaps allude to some of their food options beyond just seafood. Regardless, with each visit, we enjoyed a predominantly seafood-laden menu and great service each time. We actually enjoyed the restaurant so much that we chose to have our rehearsal dinner at the restaurant, and several of our guests commented how much they enjoyed the food.

With a name (admittedly their former name) like Crab Shanty, you can bet that their crab cakes are excellent. They may not be on par with the renowned Faidley’s crab cakes, but they are impressive nonetheless. This most recent visit, I had their Crab Cake Cordon Bleu, which tasted so good it brought tears to my eyes. Crab cake aside, the vegetables and potatoes were excellently prepared and were a wonderful balance to the exquisite crab cake pastry. My wife put together a meal with their Maryland Crab Soup, Chopped House Salad, and Saffron Mussels (normally an appetizer). Of course, the mussels were the centerpiece of her meal, and was so good, that we saved the remaining broth in a to-go container.

Don’t forget about dessert! Although we enjoy a range of desserts, we keep going back to the New Orleans Bread Pudding, which will take your mind swimming into paradise.

Another nice little feature is that the menu clearly labels food items that are gluten-free, so you can dine along with those who may have sensitive stomachs and a few food allergies.

Reviews on other sites (e.g., Yelp, Urban Spoon, etc.) have commented on the restaurant having inconsistent service. We might have been fairly lucky that we got excellent service with each of our visits. Our only complaint is that food items can be fairly pricey. A few items, that you might expect to be complimentary with the meal, such as bread, tend to cost extra. With this in mind, we might save our trips to the Shanty Grille just for special occasions. Regardless, our visit to the Shanty Grille made this pair of foodies very happy.
Shanty Grille on Urbanspoon