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Dani's Chinese by Mind Map: Dani's Chinese
0.0 stars - reviews range from 0 to 5

Dani's Chinese

Full Kee

Hours: MONDAY - SUNDAY  11 :00 a.m. -  2 :00 a.m. Tel: (202) 371.2233 (202) 371.2089 509 H Street, N. W. Washington, D.C. 20001 Beer & Wine Available      

Chinatown Lunch Challenge Blog

Eat First Restaurant

Eat First Share | Print Reviewed by Thomas Head Write your own review A Chinatown fixture that stays open late. Eat First 609 H St. NW  Washington, DC 20001 Phone: 202.289.1703  Cuisines: Chinese, Cantonese Opening Hours: Wheelchair Accessible: No Nearby Metro Stops: Gallery Place-Chinatown Price Range: Inexpensive Dress: Informal Noise Level: Chatty Reservations: Not needed Special Features: Late Night, Kid Friendly Best Dishes Fresh shrimp; fried flounder; shrimp cake with Chinese broccoli; lobster with XO sauce; yee foo noodles with crab; chicken, ginger, and scallion casserole; stir-fried lotus roots; yu choy sum.   Reader's Rating: No Reader Reviews Write a Review From June 2005 Cheap Eats In some Chinese restaurants it's hard to get advice about the menu. Servers seem rushed, some speak little English to discuss the menu, and others seem to have preconceptions about what Americans want to eat. Eat First is a happy exception. The youthful servers are eager to guide you through unfamiliar dishes to seasonal specialties. Wall signs announcing specials include English translations. Excellent choices from the regular menu include wonderful fresh shrimp, crisply fried flounder, a very good roast duck, and shrimp cake with Chinese broccoli. From March 2005 "Best of Chinatown"   By Robert Shoffner In its own way, Eat First is as important a restaurant today as Tony Cheng's Szechuan was in the 1970s. Now on H Street, Eat First is distinguished by a young floor staff happy to help guide non-Chinese patrons interested in authentic Hong Kong specialties. Management has demystified the specials written on posterboard in Chinese by including English translations, and the kitchen often introduces new dishes to the Chinatown repertory. The bad news: In a biannual taste test conducted by this writer to discover Chinatown's best Cantonese roast duck, Eat First's bird--sampled at two meals--was not quite as tender as it has been at its stellar best. It finished third, after a very good second-place bird enjoyed at New Big Wong. First place went to Tony Cheng's crisp-skinned, splendidly tender duck. Compose a meal at Eat First from the classics on the set menu--tender yee foo noodles with crab and a superb Chinese casserole of chicken with ginger and scallion--and the new dishes listed among the posted specials, or ones made from ingredients so recently arrived that the floor staff offers them verbally. One such seasonal speciality was an earthy stir-fry of sliced lotus roots--as crispy as celery and almost as sweet as carrots--dried shiitake mushrooms, Chinese sausage, Chinese bacon, snow peas, carrot slices, garlic, and ginger, all bound in a glaze of faintly sweet, dark-brown sauce. One of the most memorable dishes was a seasonal specialty of lobster with XO Sauce, a somewhat mysterious sauce that appeared in Hong Kong 20 years ago. The dish was a stunner: chunks of unshelled, stir-fried lobster served over rolled ribbons of wide rice noodles, each topped with a teaspoon of XO Sauce. The flavor of the XO Sauce--derived from such ingredients as dried scallop, dried shrimp, and shrimp roe--enhances the crustacean's sweetness. A dish of yu choy sum, a green vegetable like Chinese broccoli, with oyster sauce, ordered to complement the lobster, showed the care that vegetables get from this kitchen. It was far more tender than this fibrous green usually is and had the vibrant flavor of a freshly gathered vegetable.    

Chinatown Lunch Challenge Blog

Chinatown Express

Chinatown Express Cuisine: Chinese Neighborhoods: Chinatown Downtown Map data ©2009 Google - Terms of Use Based on 20 reviews.   Address 746 6th St., Washington, DC 20001 Phone (202) 638-0425 Fax (202) 737-5497 City Paper Review If one rater’s comments are any indication, Chinatown Express may owe its success to Hollywood: “A Chinese restaurant right out of central casting,” he reports. In general, it’s the food that seems to satisfy raters here. Sure, the restaurant is “good for” noodles and so forth, another rater says, but try the lobster, crab, or roasted duck “if you dare.” “Go for the noodles!” a skip-the-fancy-crap rater advises. “They are dirt-cheap and delicious.” (Diners label the restaurant as a good value.) All the hubbub leaves one rater puzzled: Though she liked some aspects of her meal, in general it was an underwhelming experience. Szechwan shrimp “was hot spicy but not flavorful spicy.” Still, most raters would no doubt be more apt to agree with the diner who says, “I can’t believe I am giving a Chinese restaurant in D.C. five stars, but there you have it.” —, June 22, 2007 Rater Comments These comments express the opinions of individual Restaurant Raters, not those of Washington City Paper. Review by jpslette on August 5, 2008 While I've always thought this place is an okay restaurant, and the noodles, etc are tasty, I just can't let this go. I just got back from lunch at the Chinatown Express. I sat at a table that was pushed up against the wall and while eating, a cockroach started crawling on the wall just up from our table. While that was disturbing, I'm even more grossed out by the waitress. Upon seeing the cockroach, she set down the food she was delivering down and tried going in for the roach with her bare hands. After failing to catch it, she picked up her tray and resumed food service. It was pretty sick and I'll never return. Review by theblackdog on June 7, 2008 Off on a side street in Chinatown, the first thing you'll immediately be drawn to is the handmade noodles, which you can actually watch the chef make through the window.  If you do order the noodles, you have your choice of having them in soup or fried. The soup was well flavored with a nice bit of spice, and there are other sauces available at your table to spice it up. If you do order the soup, you get a choice of meat with it, and the soup comes with plenty of meat, noodles, and vegetables. There are other dishes as well, but at only 5.95 for a big bowl of noodles, you get an entire meal for a very good price. Review by dmoon01 on September 13, 2007 Chinatown Express is one of my favorite and most frequently visited cheap eats destinations in D.C. The chef is a noodle guru, who twists and kneads dough in the storefront window to entice customers -- and the noodles are in fact the draw.  Upon arriving, you're given two menus -- a one-pager with the house specials, and a regular Chinese restaurant menu (with all of the Americanized breaded chicken with sugar-sauce non-sense). Number one rule: skip the regular menu and head straight for the glossy one-pager. You can't visit Chinatown Express without having an order of noodle soup and an order of dumplings. The noodle soup is cauldron-sized, and an amazing value at $6. This can easily be shared with two people for a filling meal. The noodles are handmade, and the texture and density of them is quite impressive, as a result. They're cooked fairly al dente too -- a big plus. The broth is very gentle in flavor, but this leaves the soup open as a vehicle for two key sauces that sit on the table: 1) the chef's special green garlic sauce and 2) the traditional hot chili peppers in oil sauce found at Chinese restaurants. Both enhance the flavor quite a bit, but it is the green garlic that stands out. This brings me to the dumplings, which are among the best in the region. Again, these are handmade out of thick noodle dough, with the same texture as the soup noodles. The dumplings are truly made to be eaten with the green garlic sauce -- which, sitting unassuming in a jar on your table, is one of the main reasons to eat at this restaurant!  Others rave about the soup dumplings/steamed pork buns here, and I often order them, but they are occasionally dry or overcooked on the outside, causing them to stick to the dish and fall apart. In any case, Chinatown Express is a must-eat in the area, and one of the last remaining decent Chinese restaurants in an ever-expanding chain restaurant Chinatown area. If you're up for it too, there's a decent Chinese bakery next door, where you can find sweet bean and custard buns. Review by stithjo on August 3, 2007 The buns and dumplings here are excellent and, from what I have read, a truer taste of China than most Chinese food. They come with pork or vegetables. The noodles are handrolled in the windows, and they're great, but the oily sauce they're cooked in overpowers them. With many dishes experimenting with the vivacious table condiments -- chili oil, ginger, more -- is the whole point of a wonderful experience. If they would get rid of the TVs and sad fish in the tanks it would be the most relaxing, yet busy, haven in Chinatown. Review by jszeglin on January 15, 2007 Chinatown Express is one my regular dining spots when I am in the mood for a cheap noodles or rice dish. It's easy to leave stuffed for under $10, but fresh fish will cost you market rate. The food is fresh and tasty, and does not suffer the heavy-handed treatment of "brown" or "white" sauce like many other Chinese restaurants. Especially excellent are the plates of roasted meats, and if you want to spend the money, the fresh shellfish and fish dishes. Expect quick seating and ordering, but you may feel abandoned after you receive your dish. The restaurant itself is functional, though not eye-pleasing, and a little grittier than some diners may prefer. Regardless, you owe it to yourself to try the food and enjoy some of the best Chinese food in the DC area. Review by mcunning on July 9, 2006 I have no idea why this place gets rave reviews. I was excited to try it: a dive that sells cheap, delicous eats is the way it's always described.  Starting off the tea was served lukewarm, and wasn't very strong. Yuck. We ordered the juicy buns as every reviewer suggests. The dumpling dough itself was very tasty: thick with a nice texture, but inside the pork was bland. I had to add a spices to make it taste like anything. My friends ordered the shredded pork, which was extremely salty. I ordered the Szechwan Shrimp. It was hot spicey, but not flavorful spicey. All I could taste was pepper, nothing else. Anyone can add chili peppers to a dish. The shrimp were fresh and tasty, but I didn't really eat the rest of the dish. It didn't help that my dish was delivered after my friends dishes. I also didn't think it was that cheap. $50 for three dishes and an appetizer in a so-called dive? I would not go back to Chinatown Express Review by mikegaw on May 23, 2005 The inside of this restaurant is a mess, but the food is great - a Chinese restaurant right out of central casting. Review by PhilNWDC on May 8, 2005 We had a craving for dim sum, but didn't expect to find it at dinner time. Fortunately, this restaurant is glad to prepare dim sum at any hour. The colorful signs on the walls advertise those "uncomfortably authentic" Chinese foods -- thankfully, in Mandarin. Their steamed pork buns were not what we expected (more like dumplings than buns, and filled with a normal ground pork, not char tsu style), but were good. The service is quick and friendly. Review by crazy_bartender on December 2, 2004 WOW it's very surprising ... this place is not just good for dumpling, steamed pork bun, and noodles only. It offers a wide array of awesome foods as well. Try it if you dare: roasted duck, crab, lobster, fish (fresh from the tank)with ginger sauce. For adventurous palate... try this : pig ears with soy sauce, pig intestines,d uck tongues, pig chitterling with spicy sour cabbage. Yummi ... this place can be so crowded at times, but it's really worth it. Review by ajolote on October 14, 2004 Go for the noodles! I have been to this restaurant many times, and ordered different dishes, but you can not beat the noodles! They are dirt cheap and delicious. You can actually see the guy at the entrance making fresh noodles in front of the passer-bys (behind a glass), and it is a great show! The dumplings are fresh too, but one bowl of noodle soup is enough to fill you up! Review by llangbaum on July 8, 2004 I can't believe I am giving a Chinese restaurant in DC 5 stars, but there you have it, Chinatown Express. This place is a dive. There's a man in the window making fresh noodles. Two words: homemade dumplings. The chow fun was delicious, with beef and soybeans. The dumplings - we had vegetarian - were doughy and obviously homemade (even if it was not advertised, you'd be able to tell). Even the Szechwan jumbo shrimp were good, although they may have cut down on the spice for us. On the table was Vietnamese hot sauce and three oils - with hot pepper, garlic and minced green vegetable that may have been scallions. I can't say enough good things about the best Chinese food I have had in DC - better than Meiwah, definitely better than City Lights, possibly even better than Mr. Chen's. Review by notyourbroom on June 15, 2004 The best dumplings I've ever had. The restaurant is kind of run down, and the wait staff is not the best, but the food is good. The best food I've had in Chinatown. And it's always fun to watch the chef make dim sum. Review by stacies on May 26, 2004 The dumplings or noodles are a must. They make the dough in-house and it is fantastic. Review by mcclive on May 9, 2004 The first three things you’ll see are partly for show; the rest is real. At Chinatown Express, a man stands in a window next to the front door, where everyone on the street can see, and makes noodles. Walk by and he’ll probably be there, gathering up the long dough, twisting it in front of you, and stretching it out again before cutting into thin strips. Enter, and just by the front door you’ll see plates of freshly-made dumplings, or perhaps some cut roast pork, waiting for orders. Just a bit further on and you’ll see the fish tanks, holding today’s catch. A waitress may be fishing out a live crab and westling it into a bucket to take back to the kitchen. It’s not only a show; this stuff is for real, and you should order it. The show stops there; the rest of the cramped restaurant is unadorned, except for some menu listings on the wall. You do read Chinese, don’t you? There are a few English signs about, mostly listing the daily fish specials. Crab will be about $18, lobster about $16. Their specialty is of course noodle and dumpling dishes, made partial by the man in the window, but Chinatown Express has a full menu, with items that manage to somehow be both familiar enough to Western palates and Chinese enough for the purists. A separate card (sort of a short EZ form) lists some dumpling choices: Ten pork, leek, or vegetable for $4.50. (Be aware that the leek dumplings have pork and leek mixed together.) It also states that stir-fried fresh noodles with pork, seafood, or vegetable is available for the same price. I usually order one dumpling and one noodle dish. The main menu has more choices, including almost a page of different noodle and rice dishes. The fresh noodles are thick and roughly cut, thus holding up well in a wok. The dumplings are also thick-skinned, with tasty fillings. You can season them with the hot red chili oil, mild green chili, or pickled garlic slices that are already on your table. A pot of tea should have already hit the table when you did. Water and forks on request. A limited selection of beer is available. The rest of the menu is somewhat uninspiring, though I’ve never had a bad dish here. The apptizer and soup choices are just as you’d find in any Chinese takeout. The large size hot and sour soup is more than enough for two, and is a bargain at three dollars. Further back in the menu, some meal-sized soup options such as shrimp wonton show that the kitchen can make other kinds of dumplings, though the wonton skins weren’t quite as thin as they should be to show off the ingrediants. The huge bowl of delicious though not wondeful broth contains a handfull of vegetables as well. The main entrees average about nine or ten dollars, and I must be honest: I haven’t tried many of them. With the noodles and dumplings up front, who wants to order chicken with cashew nuts? Still, some of the seafood dishes, such as chopped crab with chili and basil ($12) are worth checking out. The menu has a few all-vegetable choices, such as eggplant with garlic. There are also a few Chinese vegetable dishes, but when they are all nine or ten dollars, it’s hard to justify them. Chinatown Express has two dining rooms connected by a narrow doorway, and another smaller room on the second floor, up a narrow staircase, suggesting that the place has been expanding. It’s usually filled with Chinese people. Review by vicvancleve on May 6, 2004 A Washington institution, the Chinatown Express provides good, fast, and inexpensive Chinese food, reminiscent of New York's Chinatown. The front window, full of hanging ducks and a cook preparing noodles, provides entertainment and draws in diners. They will find spartan, simple surroundings, but cheap and tasty meals. This is no place to linger over a bottle of wine, but it's fun and authentic. Review by mehsiang on May 6, 2004 Being Chinese, people are always asking for "What is your favorite Chinese restaurant in DC". I usually answer, "somewhere in Rockville". But if I really have to choose a place in the district, there is only one answer Chinatown Express. But please, do me a favor, and be sure to order the noodles and shanghai pork buns. HANDMADE NOODLES. enough said! Review by dtepfer on May 6, 2004 This is the best value in DC. The $4.50 homemade noodle dishes are scrumptious and ample. First spend some time outside watching in the window as the chef makes the noodles and dumplings. Review by yellowdog on April 24, 2004 The best noodles in DC and only a few bucks to boot! Review by tinaone on April 24, 2004 This place is all about the noodles. There aren't many places that I know of in the area where you can get "streched" noodles. The menu's a little confusing. I ordered the fried noodles, which were a little to greasy for me. The texture was great though and I would probably opt for the noodle soup next time. Review by gken69 on April 12, 2004 While we didn't have children with us, there were numerous parties that included children at Chinatown Express that seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as we were.  


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Newspaper Review

Chinatown Garden

Chinatown Garden Cuisine: Chinese Neighborhoods: Chinatown Downtown Map data ©2009 Google - Terms of Use Based on 7 reviews. Address 618 H St., Washington, DC 20001 Phone (202) 737-8887 Fax (202) 637-8860 City Paper Review Spying a “pretty hopping place for a Friday night ’round 8:30,” one diner recalls, “we took a chance” on Chinatown Garden. With sizable portions (“we both had doggie bags”), a “delightful” waitress, a drink with the intriguing moniker of Flaming Volcano (“which got us sauced in about two sips”), and ample options for veggies and non-veggies, “it turned out to be a great choice.” Indeed, the fact that raters mark the Garden as good for vegetarians (“The best vegetarian option of all the restaurants in Chinatown,” according to one) doesn’t keep another diner from raving about the crab Rangoon and the roasted duck (the latter of which is “really thick and good” and “enough to last the whole weekend”). Says another: “This quaint restaurant is a ‘must visit’ if you are in the mood for excellent Chinese food.” Though one diner complains that “[t]hings came late, things came early, things didn’t come at all,” a majority of raters laud the staff with terms like “sweet [and] friendly,” “efficient,” and “warm.” —, July 6, 2007 Rater Comments These comments express the opinions of individual Restaurant Raters, not those of Washington City Paper. Review by mradequate on July 30, 2007 I ate at this place, and got a nasty bout of indigestion. Waaaay too much grease, not enough flavor. Huge portions, but nothing was worth taking home. Service was overbearing, like they were trying to hurry us through our meal. Vegetarians take note: the mock pork is flat, tough, and flavorless. Go to the Vegetable Garden in Rockville instead; its worth the trip. Seriously, this isn't just a matter of like, oh i didn't like this or that. Any place that causes me to vomit later I am not down with. AVOID AT ALL COSTS. Review by realchic1999 on November 3, 2006 My mother and I were looking for a place to eat in the Chinatown district, and we found Chinatown Garden. We were seated immediately after walking in the door, and our server came right away. Our server was sweet, friendly, and she joked with us. When I ordered jellyfish (yes, I can be that adventurous) as an appetizer, she warned me against it and told me to try the crab rangoons, which I did. I was not disappointed. My main course was roasted duck, which was really thick and good (and which is enough to last the whole weekend). My mother had fried dumplings and a shrimp lo mein-type dish. The Chinese tea that was at our table was strong and hearty. We gave our server a nice tip and will definitely try that restaurant again. Review by ncmcdonnell on July 20, 2006 I am vegetarian and this place has a whole page dedicated to veggie/vegan dishes. The variety of dishes is wonderful - tofu, tvp, veggie dishes, etc. The best vegetarian options of all the restaurants in Chinatown. Review by poiuy on January 8, 2005 We walked into Chinatown not knowing where to eat; we only knew we wanted Chinese. After walking the block and still being unsure, we decided to go back to Chinatown Garden for another look. It was a pretty hopping place for a Friday night 'round 8:30, so we took a chance. (It also had one of the Veg-Friendly stickers in the window, so that was a good sign) It turned out to be a great choice. My meat-eating partner enjoyed his traditional Chinese Kingdom Spareribs, while I had the fake Peppered Chicken. If you like spicy, it's highly recommended! In addition to our pretty large helpings of food (we both had doggie bags), we got the Flaming Volcano drink, which got us sauced in about two sips. The waitress was delighful, the service fast, and the vegetarian meat menu larger than Peking Garden. A delicious find for both meat-eaters and veggies. Review by Caroline on November 9, 2004 Above-average Chinese, with reasonable prices and efficient service. The garlic sauce was wonderfully fragrant. Review by mfm76 on July 12, 2004 The food was alright, but the service killed it. Things came late, things came early, things didn't come at all. We were seated upstairs, in the banquet room, and came because of the mock-meat dishes. They were alright, but I didn't appreciate the drink order showing up halfway through my meal. Then waiting for the check... good lord. I was surprised we got out of there by the end. Review by rjroan on December 9, 2003 In a tiny spot of Chinatown just outside the Gallery Place metro entrance on H Street you will find Chinatown Garden. This quaint restaurant is a 'must visit' if you are in the mood for excellent Chinese food. The seating gives you a vibrant view of the streets of Chinatown and the staff provides warm service and friendly smiles. The food is presented professionally and with amazing color. With seemingly unlimited bowls of rice for each meal, you cannot go wrong with Chinatown Garden.

Tony Cheng's Mongolian Restaurant

Tony Cheng's Seafood Restaurant & Mongolian Barbecue Cuisines: Chinese Seafood Neighborhoods: Chinatown Downtown Map data ©2009 Google - Terms of Use Based on 10 reviews.   Address 619 H St., Washington, DC 20001 Phone (202) 371-8669 Rater Comments These comments express the opinions of individual Restaurant Raters, not those of Washington City Paper. Review by breezybrianna on January 14, 2008 *Things done well: attentiveness of waitstaff, hot towels, and ice cream (real strawberries)! **Things needing improvement: selection/variety of mongolian bbq items (what happened to snow peas/water chestnuts/baby corn); understanding how it works - who is supposed to put the sauce/oils? (the chef used one spoon in all condiments??); ensure ingredients are avaiable on both sides of grill; same price for lunch/dinner - a tad expensive ($16.95, yes it's all you can eat, but different prices should be offered with different selections); decor (looks dirty and outdated). Review by food lover on August 1, 2007 I have always enjoyed dim sum on carts. The restaurant that we used to go to for dim sum in DC is now a construction pit and I had thought that there was no longer any place to go for dim sum in our increasingly corporate "China" town. For this reason, we were pleased to stumble upon Tony Cheng's. Although admittedly the food was more expensive than I am used to paying for dim sum, the dim sum offerings were of higher quality and there was a greater variety of options. Beyond the typical (delicious) dumplings, Tony Cheng's offered plates of veggies as well as of red cooked pork or duck. A great deal of dumplings, rolls and other options were available. The service was efficient and the decor was quite nice. Review by ems on April 19, 2007 This restaurant definitely needs a make over. The food was good, but slightly over priced compared to other Chinese restaurants that are of similar quality. Review by mikegaw on April 6, 2005 I've done the Mongolian BBQ many times before; it's always satisfying. Today a large group from work ate at the restaurant upstairs. The food is solid, but nothing spectacular. I doubt, for example, that my shrimp dish was made with fresh shrimp. But it tasted OK. The service is quick and efficient, even considering how full the place gets at lunch. Review by njgirl on January 2, 2005 This restaurant was a disappointment and offered no bang for the buck, despite the positive restaurant reviews posted in the window. The Mongolian barbecue I had was bland and not worth the money. (I have fond memories of a Mongolian place in NJ and thought if this was anything like it, I'd be going back for seconds, but after the first bowl, I changed my mind.) I agree that the place needs a makeover; the decor is tired. Review by emilygersh on May 20, 2004 Tony Cheng's impresses at first; but the food is nothing special, and the restaurant needs a makeover. The dim sum is a fun experience that impresses first-timers, but the pork is fatty and the portions are too large to try more than a few. Review by copenor on April 7, 2004 Outstanding experience! Review by copenor on April 5, 2004   Review by vortblad on February 28, 2004 Tony Cheng's is a 1950's style Chinese restaurant where you'd expect to find a smoke-filled backroom of gangsters. The maitre d' wears a red bow tie. Photos of Tony and Washington VIPs tile one wall. Large fish tanks of groupers and lobsters form the entry wall. The jumbo shrimp dishes we had were excellent, but the menu is huge and diverse, so there is much more to sample. Review by mcandrea on February 19, 2004 I loved the mongolian bbq. The only thing I would change would be their policy about doggy bags. You pay per bowl and you can not take the food home that you did not finish. Review by mcandrea on January 26, 2004 I visited Tony Changs for the first time this past sunday. I had always read great reviews. My family and I wanted dim sum and we were very impressed with the service and quality of food. But a note for future customers- for dim sum try to arrive around the hour of noon. Since we were their early they did not have all the entrees ready. Review by signell on December 24, 2003 Two courtesy mistakes.  1.Waiter snatched main course plate away without asking if we were done.  2. When we paid the check in cash, he never returned with the change to offer the courtesy of our determining the tip.  

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