Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sichuan Jin River - This Ain't General Tso's Place

Sichuan Jin River
410 Hungerford Dr.
Rockville, MD 20850
240-403-7351
http://www.scjinriver.com/

I've never been to China. Chances are I'll never get there. However, when I think of authentic Chinese food this is one of the restaurants I think of. It's in the same category as Joe's Noodle House in Rockville. 
The decor is nothing to write home about. If you show up a little early for lunch there's a strong possibility that you will find the staff assisting with the daily vegetable prep on one of the tables in the dining room. The chairs, booths and tables are 70's chic. However, this isn't why you come here.
You come for the food.
 This is the seasoned, shredded pig ear appetizer. It's not really shredded so much as shaved. The seasoning is a ginger-soy affair much like you'd expect in a seaweed salad. The pork itself doesn't have much flavor, but it is definitely interesting.

 The Won ton soup my dining companion ordered was the best example of the dish I've ever tasted. Rich, flavorful stock with a sheen of oil droplets, fresh greens, and plump, tender won tons. I generally don't order won ton soup, but this is good enough to bring me back.
This dish is called Fiery Soup with Pork.
It is a bowl filled with scallions, various peppers, and pork. It is absolutely alive with flavor. Not enough heat to kill you, but I was definitely reaching for the refills on the water. Momma that was good! If you are a fan of Sichuan heat, you have to give this a try.
For the less adventurous they do have standard Americanized-Chinese dishes, but you can get that stuff anywhere. Go big at this restaurant. There are so many esoteric offerings on the menu you could likely eat here every week for a year and not try them all. 
Thanks for reading! Questions and comments always appreciated.











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Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Five Best Things I Put In My Mouth - 2014

It's that time of year again fans and friends. I take a walk down memory land and recap my favorite meals of the year. These are in chronological order, so do not despair if you're at the bottom or top of the list chef friends. There are hyperlinks to the review in the name of the restaurant if you'd like to read the full post about any particular culinary adventure. Thanks for reading folks.

Let's start in May. I had a dinner alone while my wife was at Nerd Prom. I'd been meaning to get to Mintwood Place for quite a while. I was sorry it had taken so long once I got some of Cedric's Steak Tartare. Brilliant take on the dish and best I've ever had.

My next dish comes from a humble food truck. See, it's not all about fancy places with big tabs. It's about the food. The Firecracker Fried Egg from Culinary Nomad at the Central Farm Market was astounding. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's a must-try.

I took a trip to Costa Rica in August and had the opportunity to dine at some excellent restaurants. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera to all of them. I had the presence of mind to capture dinner at La Esquina de Buenos Aires though. The dessert there was so good I can recall it like it was yesterday. Perfectly matched textures and flavors in a crepe filled with caramel then bruleed.


The weekend after I got back from Costa Rica I had the pleasure of attending a dinner party at a friends house. The chefs were none other than Byan Voltaggio and Mike Isabella. Crazy, right? That night Mike brought a dish that knocked my socks off. Lamb Neck with charred yogurt and lemon. Mike does the most amazing things with lamb....in a good way.

Next up, and last dish of the post, are the lamb chops at Bastille in Alexandria. Maybe it was just Year of the Lamb for me, but these chops were spicy, crispy, and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Bravo.

Thanks for joining me on a journey down memory lane. I plan to get out to more restaurants in 2015. 2014 was a busy year so I didn't get out as much as I'd have liked to...it's good to have goals right?
Thanks for reading folks. Best wishes for happy holidays and a great new year.